Thursday, April 30, 2009

Health officials in Dominica prepare for possible swine flu outbreak

By TheDominican.net Newsdesk

Health authorities in Dominica say that they are taking all necessary precautions to respond to any possible outbreak of the swine flu pandemic in Dominica.

Authorities plan to increase their screening of passengers arriving in the country’s air and seaports. Thousands of visitors are expected in Dominica over the next few days at the height of the cruise ship season.
swine flu
Pilots on internation flights take precautions against the swine flu virus.


In addition, over a thousand medical school students will be returning to Portsmouth from Spring Break in the United States and other countries possibly affected by the outbreak. Health authorities however have rejected calls by some in the country to either close down Ross University or to quarantine the students.

Residents were asked to take all necessary precautions such a s washing their hands frequently and avoiding persons coughing or sneezing. Medical personal were also urged to be on the look out for any signs of the virus.So far, there are no reported cases on Dominica and the officials continue to monitor the situation.

Chief Medical Officer Erwin Ferreira also says that the hospital services in Dominica is ready to deal with whichever contingency arises.
Below are some answers to questions that you may be asking about the swine flu virus.

1. When was swine flu first discovered?
Swine flu was first identified in 1930 when researchers isolated the virus in a pig. In 1976, more than 500 soldiers at Fort Dix, New Jersey, got swine flu, but only one died. It was claimed that many more persons died from the hastily arranged inoculations to fight off the virus. Since 1976 and before this outbreak there has been about 40 cases of swine flu reported.

2. Did any of the people with the virus get it from pigs or people?

So far doctors have been unable to make the link between pigs and people. Everyone testing positive so far have had contact with another human.

3. Is the 2009 outbreak different from past episodes?

The 2009 flu outbreak in humans that is widely known as "swine flu" technically is not swine flu. It is due to a new strain of influenza A virus subtype H1N1 that derives from one strain of human influenza, one strain of avian influenza, and two separate strains of swine influenza. The origins of this new strain are unknown, and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) reports that this strain has not been isolated in swine. It passes with apparent ease from human to human, an ability attributed to an as-yet unidentified mutation. The strain in most cases causes only mild symptoms and the infected person makes a full recovery without requiring medical attention and without the use of antiviral medicines.

4. Swine flu is transmitted from animals to humans. Does that happen a lot?

Yes. More than 200 "zoonotic diseases" are transmitted from animals to humans, including illnesses caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites. Rabies and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (better known as "mad cow disease") are two well-known examples.

5. Should there be panic?

Doctors say that although the virus is spreading, it is not spreading that quickly. They however warn that people should pay attention. They should be alert, keep up with the information coming out daily, and take control by being attentive to their hygiene. Wash your hands very, very frequently and avoid people who are coughing and sneezing. Also, boost up your immune system as much as possible. Take some of the same steps that you would take to ward off the common flu.

6. How close do you have to be to a sick person to get swine flu?

You can acquire this infection if you're within the 'breathing zone' of a sick person, which is about three to six feet," according to doctors. And it usually mean being this close to someone in a confined space. It cannot be contacted by fleeting contact such as walking past an infected person in the street. You need sustained contact. If you think you might have sustained contact with someone who's ill, read this guidance from the CDC's Web site.

7. What about at work, on the bus, at church, in a movie theater. Could I get swine flu from them?

Yes. If you're standing next to someone on a bus, or sitting next to someone or in front of someone in a theater, you could acquire the infection in that fashion. That's why people with the symptoms of any kind of flu -- fever, diarrhea, body aches, vomiting, etc. -- are urged to stay home and away from groups of people.

8. Is there a vaccine right now?

No. a swine flu vaccine was given to 45 million people in 1976, but this has been discontinued and researchers are working on one currently.
In any event, the 1976 vaccine would not have been helpful since that was a completely different virus than the virus we are dealing with right now.

9. Many of the dead in Mexico have been young and healthy. Why?

This sometimes happens with new viruses. One theory is that young people, who have strong immune systems, mount a particularly vigorous response to new viruses. But there's a potential side effect to the response: the body releases dangerous levels of signaling proteins, called cytokines, which can damage the lungs. Scientists believe these "cytokine storms" can be fatal. It however remains a mystery.

10. Could this new swine flu virus have been manufactured by bioterrorists or simply be man made?

While this is possible, scientists and experts are saying no, believing that if it was bioterrorism it would have been far more deadly.

11. Will my regular flu shot help protect me against swine flu?

"The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says it is unlikely.

12. How long is the incubation period of the virus i.e. before you begin showing symptoms after infection?

The incubation period of the swine flu is one to seven days.

13. Can the swine flu virus remain on objects and surfaces?

While this is possible, there is only a small chance of getting the virus if you touch a surface such as a door knob that an infected person touched. Virtually all influenza is transmitted from sneezing and coughing. And viruses don't survive in large numbers on surfaces.

14. What should I do if I develop symptoms of swine flu?
Remember that symptoms of the flu are high fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills, and fatigue. If you experience this, call your doctor, don't just drive on over, and follow the instructions of your doctor.


Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dominica's foreign affairs minister to attend meetingsin Cuba and Jamaica

By Sean Douglas

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Labour, Hon. Vince Henderson is scheduled to attend three important meetings over the next two weeks in Cuba and Jamaica.
vince henderson
Foreign affairs minister Vince Henderson.


Minister for Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Labour, Hon. Vince Henderson is scheduled to attend three important meetings over the next two weeks in Cuba and Jamaica.

Hon. Henderson will participate in the Meeting of the Ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement Member Countries in Havana, Cuba from April 29-April 30, 2009.

The primary objective of the Meeting is to review preparations for the forthcoming 15th Conference of Heads of State or Government of the Non- Aligned Movement countries, set for Egypt on 15 and 16 July, 2009.

The Meeting will be held under the chairmanship of His Excellency Mr. Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba.

During the meeting in Cuba, the Ministers will also deliberate in an extensive manner on the existing, new and emerging global issues of collective concern and interest to the Movement as it relates to the current International situation.

The Ministers will also reaffirm the Non-Aligned Movement’s abiding faith in and strong commitment to its founding principles: of establishing a peaceful and prosperous world; a just and equitable world order; as well as to the purposes and principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter.


Dominica joined the Non-Aligned Movement in 2006. The Movement was founded in April, 1955 and has one hundred and eighteen (118) members.

While in Cuba, Hon. Henderson will also attend the Sixth Dominica-Cuba Joint Commission to review the progress on implementation of cooperation in a number of areas including health, science and technology, the environment, fisheries, agriculture, sports and education, housing and tourism among other areas with a view to chart a way forward.

As a result of the Agreement on Economic and Technical Co-operation between the Commonwealth of Dominica and the Republic of Cuba, a Dominica-Cuba Joint Commission for Economic and Technical Co-operation was established.

The First Session of the Joint Commission for Economic and Technical Co-operation between the Governments of Cuba and Dominica was convened in Roseau from November 23 to 24, 1998.

The two countries held detailed discussions on a range of topics including health, science and technology, environment, fisheries, agriculture, sports and education, construction, housing, tourism, investment and culture, sports and trade.

The Second Session of the Cuba–Dominica Joint Commission was held in Roseau in May 2001.

The Third Session of the Dominica-Cuba Joint Commission was held in Cuba in April 2004. One major outcome of the meeting was the decision by the President to grant a Presidential Pardon to three Dominican students who were serving jail sentences in Cuba.

The Fourth Dominica-Cuba Joint Commission meeting was held in Roseau from May 15 to 16, 2006.

The Fifth Session of the Joint Commission for economic and technical cooperation between the Governments of the Commonwealth of Dominica and the Republic of Cuba was held in Havana, Cuba, from 19 to 21 September 2007. The programme agreed upon by the Joint Commission for the period 2007-2008 comprises actions of collaboration in thirteen (13) sectors

From Cuba, Hon. Henderson will travel to Jamaica to attend the 12th Meeting of the CARICOM Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) from May 7-8, 2009.

The theme this year is: “Advancing Regional Integration and Development: A Response to Global Challenges”.

The COFCOR meeting is taking place within a unique set of circumstances, in particular the global economic and financial crisis; the recently concluded G20 London Summit; the increasing vulnerability of small states as a result of the impact of climate change as well as the just concluded Summit of the Americas which took place in Trinidad and Tobago, on 17-19 April 2009

COFCOR comprises Ministers of Foreign Affairs of CARICOM Member States and is responsible for determining relations between the CARICOM Community and International Organisations and Third States.

In the absence of the Hon. Vince Henderson from the State, Senator the Hon. Petter St. Jean is acting as Minister for Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Labour.


Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Dominica and the next General Elections

By Ken Joseph

The upcoming General elections in Dominica will probably not be the same as the last one. There is an outside chance that the elections may have a different outcome. It is not certain that the ruling Labour party will emerge as victors in spite of PM Skerrit’s big money and big billboards. I am sure Mr. Skerrit and his handlers will also appeal to our women again with using the dimple smile advertisement.
pm skerrit
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is said to be considering early elections.


This year’s (or this month’s or next month’s or next year’s) elections may be different? PM Skerrit gives the impression that he has no idea when the election will be scheduled. His answer was very interesting a few weeks ago when he was asked about the election’s date in Castle Bruce.

His answer was something to the effect that God hasn’t told him. Was his answer an act of blasphemy? Will the ‘almighty’ be contacting him via voice mail or text messaging? Where are the religious and biblical scholars, pastors and priests to ‘call’ on the PM because of that response?

Is PM Skerrit scared or is he planning a surprise to catch Mr. Ron Green and Ms. Pestina off guard? Is he playing the child hood game ‘Hoop Sayway’ (hide and seek) to ‘Big Stone’ first? PM James tried a similar tactic and Rosie Douglas ‘Big Stoned’ before him and became the Prime Minister.

While the UWP and DFP are gaining momentum and gathering speed and confidence, another very important and highly influential constituency is planning their political attack strategy. This group does not exist in Roseau, Grand Bay or Portsmouth but all over Dominica in mind, spirit and soul.

They are organizing and part of their plan is to alter the election’s landscape and hopefully its outcome. They contend that their plan is an ambitious and peaceful one.

They are not prepared to provide any further details at this time. They are beginning to mobilize and win the hearts and minds of the Dominican people from Capucin to Scotts Head, New Town to New York and from Calisbishe to Connecticut and Canada and beyond.

That group (movement) definitely has the potential and capability to decide the election. It is the North American diaspora based group led and supported by patriotic Dominicans such as the U.S based Christian brothers, Gabriel, a Maryland based attorney, and Dr. Samuel an Ohio based medical surgeon.

Others in the movement include Dr. Emanuel Finn, a Washington DC based Dentist and Health Policy and Program analyst. Other patriotic Dominicans like Shirley Allan, Hendrix Pierre and others worked tirelessly to put the symposium on.

The Diaspora group is upping its game and energizing themselves in the quest to work with all Dominicans for a better Dominica. The first step was the New York City based conference/forum to discuss a short and long term development plan for their island home.

They are saddened and ashamed by the state of affairs and the poor reputation and ridicule of Dominica among the League of Nations due to Skerrit’s policies.

They fear the worst is yet to come with Skerrit at the helm and the longer he remains in power the closer their beloved country inches towards a failed state.

Their message to the people is that they are not interested in power or who occupies the office of PM but one of their responsibilities is always to look out for Dominica’s welfare. They are interested in good governance, competent government and prosperity for all Dominicans and their beloved land.



Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Jamaican Reggae Siren, Etana feature artist at May Fest International Artist Night


Female Reggae Diva Etana, will be the feature artist at May Fest International Artist Night on Sunday, May 3rd at the Marigot Fisheries Complex.
etana
Etana in concert in Jamaica.

Etana, whose name in Swahili means ‘The Strong One’, has topped reggae charts in England, Jamaica, USVI and the Eastern Caribbean with hits like ‘Wrong Address’, ‘Warrior Love’, Roots and more recently ‘I Am not Afraid’.

With an ever growing collection of prestigious musical awards ranging from Famous Vocalist of the Year (2007-09) to Most Admired Female Artist, singer/songwriter Etana has struck a cord with the masses and like any beautiful melody she is winning the hearts of people one song at a time.

Etana makes her debut performance in Dominica as part of May Fest 2009 in Marigot. May Fest is an annual community festival organized by the Marigot Development Corporation.

The 4 day event takes place over the May Day holiday weekend. Other activities for May Fest include, an Ecumenical Church Service, May Challenge, a competitive out-door sporting challenge for groups and a Beach Bash.

The Sunday Night International Artist Night also features an impressive line up of local chart toppers MFR, WCK, Swinging Stars, XS Grove, Esclave and Justice Band.

Etana replaces other Jamaican reggae artiste Serani, who indicated he was not able to be in Dominica for the show again. MDC hopes Serani will be part of the May Fest activities next year. Other international artists who have performed for May Fest includes Sherwin Winchester, Tania Stephens, Gyptian and Red Hot Flames …..

For More Information contact
Michael Pascal
Chairman
Marigot Development Corporation
Wiers
Marigot
Tel: 767 612- 2248
e-mail: marigot.develop@gmail.com


Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Prime Minister Skerrit reacts favorably to Dominica international conference

By TheDominican.net Newsdesk

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has reacted favorably to the hosting of the Dominica International conference held in New York and called on conference organizers to forward concrete proposals coming out of the conference to his government for further consideration.
dominica conference
Organisers of the conference with Opposition Leader Ron Green and Michael Astaphan of the Dominica Freedom Party.


In a letter forwarded to the organizers a day after the event the Prime Minister wrote:

“ Congratulations on your conference. I actually listened, and some of
it I did not agree with, however, because all of us want to advance Dominica I would like the opportunity to look over your proposals.”

“We all have to play our part in our country's development. Thank you for having such a dialogue, which shows that democracy is well respected by all of us.”
Hopefully we all can work together, no matter what party we belong to, where we live or how old we are. I believe it is necessary that we all participate in Dominica's growth and development.

Government can only do so much. I do hope that you will note the several consultations we have been having on several issues, particularly the recent ones on the budget process where all the political parties have been invited with only the DFP showing up.

The Government and the Dominica Labour Party regret that we were not invited to the conference.

Once again thank you and I look forward to your concrete proposals. “

Roosevelt Skerrit
Prime Minister


The conference , which was held in New York drew hundreds of participants with thousands following the proceedings, which was carried live by Q95 FM and toprankingradio.com over the internet via audio and video.

Several dozen calls, and hundreds of e-mails and messages were sent in by persons anxious to have their say in the historic conference. Organized under the progress and unity banner, participants heard from a group of distinguished panelists from the Diaspora including Shirley Allan, Dr. Sam Christian, Gabriel Christian, Thomson Fontaine, Ken Vital, Hendrix Pierre and Lennox Linton.

Leader of the opposition United Workers Party Ron Green and Deputy Leader of the Dominica Freedom Party Michael Astaphan also addressed the conference. Fred Syms, Joan Bellot, John Maynard, and Lynton Scotland facilitated the conference.

The conference called for a renewed effort on the part of the Diaspora to join forces with residents of Dominica to help bring about an improvement in the economic prospects for Dominica. There were also calls for good and accountable government, and the need to ensure freedom of the press, and free and fair elections.

With regards to economic development the conference focused on the need to harness Dominica’s renewable and natural resources including geothermal energy, water resources and fertile agricultural land for the advancement of the Dominican people.

Direct contact will be established with community groups and other grass roots organizations to help push forward the agenda of the conference. Meanwhile, the organizers called on Dominicans living in the Diaspora to register their specific skills with the Dominica Academy of Arts and Sciences DAAS at da-academy.org to ensure that their particular expertise can be called upon to help in the development process.

The conference was organized under the banner of Unity and Progress for Development. Persons are encouraged to visit abetterdominica.org to register their support and to be a part of continuing to work towards Dominica’s development. E-mail to a friend


Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Opposition Leader to attend Dominica conference in New York

By The Dominican.net Newsdesk

ron green
Ron Green leader of the United Workers Party will be present at the New York conference.

Leader of the United Workers Party Ron Green is expected to participate in this weekend’s Dominica International Conference in New York.

Green, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the Dominica Parliament will fly in from Dominica on Friday. Michael Astaphan, former leader of the Dominica Freedom Party will also attend as his party’s representative.

Organizers of the event say that while an invitation was extended to the ruling Dominica Labour Party, they have not indicated whether they will participate in an official capacity.

The conference in New York was borne out of a desire by many in the Diaspora community to seek urgent political, social and economic change for Dominica.

It comes on the heels of allegations leveled against the ruling Dominica government on issues of governance, including the sale of Dominica passports, and the appointment of ambassadors of questionable repute.

Eyebrows were recently raised in Dominica when the government awarded a contract to a Russian owned business to develop the geothermal resources on the island. This, despite the offering of a strong bid from a local company stressing a government stake in its ownership.

Also of concern, is the continuing marginalization of the Dominican Diaspora that seeks to take a more active involvement in social and economic issues on the island.

Questions have also been raised about the escalating levels of crime on the island, and how that negative trend can be reversed.

While the event is set to attract representatives of the political parties in Dominica, key organizers continue to reiterate that the conference is intended for all Dominicans and that it is built on a platform of Unity and Progress.

According to Hendrix Pierre who initiated the conference, “this is a time for all Dominicans to come together and see how best we can address the issues that confront our country.”

Another spokesperson for the organizers Shirley Allan stated “it is time for us to work together to regain our country. We cannot sit idly by and see our country overrun by people who might not have the best interest of the country at heart.”

Hundreds of participants from all over the United States, Canada, and Dominica are expected to turn up for the event, which will be streamed live over the internet on various outlets including theDominican.net, toprankingradio.com", and will be carried live by Q95 FM.

Host of Q95 the “Hot Seat”, Dominica’s most popular talk radio program, Matt Peltier will be present along with noted local and regional journalist Lennox Linton.

The conference will hear from several panelists on issues ranging from economics, to social development and governance.

Organizers expect some concrete proposals to include projects and a declaration on the current state of affairs in Dominica to come out of the conference. Registration for the conference is still open and persons are encouraged to register at abetterdominica.org".

The conference starts at 8:30 a.m on Saturday and will be held at the First United Church of Jesus, 3936 Bronxwood Ave, Bronx, NY 10466; (718) 881-4479. E-mail to a friend

Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dominica volcano poses ‘tsunami’threat to Guadeloupe

By Thomson Fontaine

morne aux diables
A flank of the Morne Aux Diables volcano could collapse at anytime creating tsunami waves up to 10 feet high.

The expected collapse of the morne Aux Diables volcano in the North of Dominica could trigger a tsunami that could threathen and possibly kill thousands of inhabitants in the neigboring island of Guadeloupe.

This is the findings of Dr Richard Teeuw and a team of geologists from the University of Portsmouth and published in the newsletter of the American Geophysical Union (Eos, 90 (10), 81-82).

The geologists who spent several weeks in Dominica, have discovered that a flank of the 2,826 feet/848 meters Morne aux Diables ("Devils' Peak") volcano shows signs of collapse and if so, a million-ton chunk of rock could crash into the sea, producing tsunami waves up to almost 3 metres (10 feet) high.

Such a rock fall could also weaken three million tones of rock upslope, potentially resulting in much larger landslides and waves of up to five metres. According to Dr Teeuw : “It’s not a case of if this landslide and tsunami will happen, but when.

The trigger will probably be a major earthquake, occurring after the heavy rain and coastal erosion of the hurricane season. It could happen in a hundred years or it could happen next week.”

Under this scenario, it will take only a few minutes for the waves to reach the coastal and heavily populated region of Guadeloupe, which is just 31 miles (50 kilometers) away. In that event, the population will have very little warning and the result could be catastrophic.

He noted that “Guadeloupe is a densely populated island with popular tourist beaches, many of which are wide with low angle gradients, which leads to ‘tsunami run-up’ and increased wave heights. In places, there is no protection from coral reef which otherwise might absorb some of the tsunami wave energy.”

Dr Teeuw and his team used geomorphological surveys and evidence from Google Earth3-D imaging, which showed that one flank of the volcano is in danger of collapse. They observed visible tension cracks at the flank, which convinced them that they were looking at a serious landslide and tsunami hazard.

The vulnerable area of rock was left exposed several thousand years ago when the flank of the volcano collapsed into the sea. Since the original collapse, coastal erosion has undercut cliffs along the over-steepened margin of the volcano, leaving the remaining flank of the volcano unstable.

Dr Teeuw said: “The earthquake associated with the ancient flank-collapse of Morne aux Diables volcano was probably much larger than any experienced around Dominica in historical times. If so, that has serious implications, raising the possibility of rare, but catastrophic, tsunami waves in the Caribbean region.”

No eruptions are known from Morne aux Diables in historical time, although the volcano has a youthful appearance and activity at flank domes likely continued into the late-Pleistocene and Holocene periods.

Severe earthquake swarms in 1841 and 1893 were associated with either Morne aux Diables or Morne Diablotins to the south.

Increasing the risk of the dome collapse is the fact that the area around Dominica is regularly exposed to hurricanes and occasional severe seismic activity. The most recent earthquake in the area was on April 13, 2009, registering 3.6 with the epicenter located about 3 miles from the volcano.

Dr Teeuw and his team will return to Dominica in the summer of 2009, part-funded by the Royal Geographical Society, for further geomorphological surveys, to better understand the probable size of the various landslide zones on the flanks of Morne aux Diables.

A further survey is planned for 2010, when the seafloor along the margin of the volcano will be examined, allowing better estimates of the likely tsunami hazard. Examining the age of the sediment on the seabed will also help to determine when past coastal landslides occurred.

Dr Teeuw findings were recently relayed to emergency planners, disaster managers and the people of Guadeloupe and Dominica to help them reduce their vulnerability to this newly discovered risk.

Dominica with nine active volcanos is known to have the highest concentrations of potentially active volcanoes in the world. Frequent seismic swarms and vigorous and widespread geothermal activity today characterize the island.

In fact, it is the most worrying of all the Caribbean volcanic areas and there is a general feeling that it (like Montserrat pre-1995) is long overdue for an eruption. Scientists are predicting that there will be at least one major eruption within the next 100 years. E-mail to a friend

The history and pictures of Dominica volcanos - Morne Aux Diables

Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Monday, April 20, 2009

A perspective on the Dominica Broadcast Act

Dear Editor,

It is always risky for a public servant to give his opinion on issues in the media. However, as a citizen in a small island state we must maximize the use of our resources.

I’ve studied the Broadcast Act from many angles and I will report to the authorities on my observations, suggestions and the way forward. But the debate continues.

In this new age of “Soft Power” the Broadcast Act must guide us to prosperity through stability, creativity, consistency.

The broadcast act is not about the right of a reporter to run around, record and repeat things - that is naivety. It is about the right of a people to survive by projecting their culture through industry, creativity and hard work - that is progress. Government must lead on this one; not other stake holders.

Who has the mandate? Who has the resources? I don't see any organization but government to lead on this one. I mean, who has the most to lose from a bad broadcast act but the Government.

And that is why this visit to China and other initiatives in other areas are so important. The Government wants to prepare its best and brightest for the next round of debates before moving decisively on this important piece of legislation.

The wrong way!

Generally, we have been listening to what people say and attempting to lead them. But when you go down that street, you only hear one set of voices that have very narrow interests. So we can’t go that way – we must change direction.

On one level of debate, elected officials must respond to the requests of their constituents; they want content and they want choice(and in many instances they want this now). On a higher level of debate, the government has to provide quality.

They must also deliver the quality content via the best infrastructure – human and physical infrastructure. And it is at this level we begin to appreciate that the media must be looked at as an industry requiring a system of administration and regulation for the good of all Dominicans. I have some basic requirements for the act to satisfy.

Our broadcast act must empower people to participate fully in the democratic process. Our broadcast act must identify the resources available to shape and fuel the media industry.

Our broadcast act must masks the minister but put his people’s interests in the forefront –absolutely.

Our broadcast act must promote education and culture first.

Our broadcast act must highlight the importance of information technologies and lead in that area.

And our broadcast act must guarantee a reliable news and information service.


If you have your checklist, then get a copy of the proposed Broadcast Act today.

Sincerely,
Raymond Henderson

Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Proposed ALBA currency the sucre poses dilemma for Dominica government

By Thomson Fontaine

alba leadership
ALBA leaders, from left Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Cuba's Raoul Castro, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Roosevelt Skeritt of Dominica, Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, Manuel Zelaya, Honduras, and Rafael Correa Ecuador.

Dominica and other members of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) were today considering a new currency called the sucre that has been proposed by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

At the recently concluded ALBA summit held in the fishing Venezuelan town of Cumana, members reiterated their willingness to join efforts towards the construction of a sound and fair monetary and financial system: governed by a transparent, open decision-making mechanism which favors the participation of all states on equal conditions; independent of neoliberal standards and the prevailing international model since the end of world war ii, the nature of which is co-responsible for current imbalances.”

The ALBA membership “hailed the execution of the framework agreement for launching of the sucre,” and pledged to “ take specific steps to enforce it over the next few months.”
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has claimed that "sucre is much more than a currency. It will first be in virtual form to foster trade among us (ALBA) through a compensation chamber, through an ALBA monetary council. “

“It's a unique system of regional payment compensation that will have four bodies as a final system: one- the regional monetary council, two- the unity of common account sucre that will function as a virtual currency but with a an eye toward converting it in the future into a physical currency."

"Today the Sucre will be born," said Chavez, speaking on live television with Cuban President Raul Castro. "In September, we should be ready to begin some pilot projects for exchange with that virtual currency ... by the first of January of 2010 we should have the system functioning," he said. He did not offer more details on how the currency would work.

The announcement of an ALBA currency poses an obvious dilemma for the Dominica Prime Minister. Skeritt is on record as saying that he will not sign on to the new currency.

However, given the importance being placed by Venezuela on the currency, one wonders whether he will be able to continue as a member without embracing one of its key precepts.

From all accounts, the sucre will become the currency of choice for the ALBA grouping and full-fledged members would by virtue of the agreement, sign on to the new currency.

Venezuela’s finance ministry recently said it hopes countries outside the ALBA trade bloc, including other nations in South and Central America and the Caribbean, will later join in using the currency.


Any decision on the part of government to sign on to the new currency would necessarily result in Dominica having to rescind its participation in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union; a position that have seen a stable currency (the EC dollar) anchoring the regional economies since the early 1970s.

The question then becomes whether the government will risk upsetting its neighbors within the EECB grouping or if it will decide that it’s interests are better served by going with Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Honduras, Ecuador and Nicaragua.

Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Text of draft ALBA declaration April 17, 2009

SUMMIT OF ALBA -- DRAFT DECLARATION OF THE 5TH EXTRAORDINARY
TCP
CUMANA, SUCRE STATE, APRIL 16-17, 2009

THE HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT OF THE MEMBER STATES OF THE BOLIVARIAN ALTERNATIVE FOR THE PEOPLES OF OUR AMERICA (ALBA - TCP), ON THE OCCASION OF ITS 5TH EXTRAORDINARY SUMMIT, MET IN THE CITY OF CUMANA, SUCRE STATE, BOLIVARIAN REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA, ON APRIL 16 AND 17, 2009, UPHELD THEIR COMMITMENT TO THE PRINCIPLES SET FORTH IN THE JOINT DECLARATION DATED DECEMBER 14, 2004, ENTERED INTO BY THE PRESIDENTS OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA AND THE BOLIVARIAN REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA.

THEY WELCOMED SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES AS FULL MEMBER OF ALBA-TCP AND CONGRATULATED THE GOVERNMENT OF THAT SISTER NATION AND ITS PRIME MINISTER RALPH GONCALVEZ FOR SUCH A HISTORICAL DECISION TO JOIN OUR ORGANIZATION.

THEY HAILED THE PRESENCE AS GUEST AT THE ALBA-TCP SUMMIT OF PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF PARAGUAY FERNANDO LUGO, ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE'S VOTE IN 2008, AS CLEAR, MAJORITY EXPRESSION OF THEIR WISH FOR POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CHANGE IN THAT SISTER NATION.

THE ALBA-TCP SUMMIT BACKED THE PARAGUAYAN PROPOSAL ON SPECIAL AND PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT FOR LESS DEVELOPED COUNTRIES WITHOUT SEASHORE, AND ALSO SUPPORTED ITS PROPOSAL TO MAKE HEADWAY WITH REGIONAL ENERGY INTEGRATION IN THE SOUTHERN CONE OF THE HEMISPHERE.

THEY ALSO THANKED THE MINISTERIAL DELEGATION OF ECUADOR, HEADED BY FOREIGN MINISTER FANDER FALCONI, FOR THEIR ATTENDANCE AS GUESTS.
THEY CONGRATULATED THE PEOPLE AND GOVERNMENT OF THE SISTER REPUBLIC OF BOLIVIA FOR GIVING A LESSON IN DIGNITY TO ALL THE LATIN AMERICAN PEOPLES AND MANAGING TO THWART THE LATEST ATTEMPT AT MANIPULATION BY DOMESTIC SECTORS AND THEIR FOREIGN ALLIES INTERESTED IN RETAINING THEIR OLD PRIVILEGES.

THEY VOICED SATISFACTION FOR THE ONGOING PROGRESSIVE CHANGES IN THE REGION, AS THE RESULT OF FAR-REACHING GRASSROOTS MOVEMENTS IN FAVOR OF JUSTICE AND AGAINST DEPENDENT AND EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL MODELS WHICH HAVE ENCOURAGED INEQUALITY AND INEQUITY AND CONFRONT US, AT THE BEGINNING OF THE 21ST CENTURY, TO A GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS EMERGING FROM DEVELOPED COUNTRIES.

WITH REGARD TO THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS, THEY STRESSED AGAIN THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE+ ECONOMIES OF DEVELOPED COUNTRIES AND OF THE ECONOMIC POLICIES FOLLOWED AND PROMOTED BY THEIR GOVERNMENTS FOR THE ORIGIN AND DEPTH OF SUCH CRISIS.

THEY RECALLED THAT THE SOLUTIONS TO SUCH CRISIS SHOULD BE THE RESULT OF A COMPREHENSIVE, ALL-INCLUSIVE DISCUSSION AND DEEMED UNACCEPTABLE THE ATTEMPT AT IMPOSING SOLUTIONS TAKEN INSIDE EXCLUSIVE GROUPS, SUCH AS THE G-20, ASIDE FROM THE REST OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY.

THEY REASSERTED THEIR READINESS TO COOPERATE IN SOLIDARITY IN SEARCH OF SOLUTIONS FROM AND FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRIES WHICH TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE SPECIAL AND DIFFERENTIAL TREATMENT DESERVED BY THE MOST VULNERABLE ECONOMIES AND THE IMPACT OF THE CRISIS ON THE DOWNTRODDEN.

THEY UNDERSCORED THE NEED FOR A NEW INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ORDER BASED BOTH ON THE PRINCIPLES OF JUSTICE AND SOLIDARITY, AND ON DEEP RESTRUCTURING OF THE CURRENT INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL ARCHITECTURE.

THEY THANKED H.E. FATHER MIGUEL D'ESCOTO BROCKMANN, PRESIDENT OF THE 63RD SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR HIS ATTENDANCE. MR. D'ESCOTO BRINGS AN INVITATION TO THE PRESIDENTS AND PRIME MINISTERS OF ALBA-TCP AND ITS FRIEND COUNTRIES TO THE ''HIGH-LEVEL CONFERENCE ON THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL AND ECONOMIC CRISIS AND ITS IMPACTS ON DEVELOPMENT,'' WHICH WILL BE HELD IN NEW YORK CITY, ON JUNE 01-03, 2009.

THEY REITERATED THEIR FULL SUPPORT TO THE CALL TO THIS CONFERENCE, AND EMPHASIZED THAT THIS FORUM, DUE TO ITS UNIVERSAL, DEMOCRATIC NATURE, IS THE APPROPRIATE ROSTRUM TO DISCUSS SUCH A SIGNIFICANT SUBJECT MATTER. THEY URGED THE HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT THROUGHOUT THE WORLD TO ATTEND SUCH A TRANSCENDENT, HISTORICAL EVENT.

THEY REITERATED THEIR WILLINGNESS TO JOIN EFFORTS TOWARDS THE CONSTRUCTION OF A SOUND AND FAIR MONETARY AND FINANCIAL SYSTEM: GOVERNED BY A TRANSPARENT, OPEN DECISION-MAKING MECHANISM WHICH FAVORS THE PARTICIPATION OF ALL STATES ON EQUAL CONDITIONS; INDEPENDENT OF NEOLIBERAL STANDARDS AND THE PREVAILING INTERNATIONAL MODEL SINCE THE END OF WORLD WAR II, THE NATURE OF WHICH IS CO-RESPONSIBLE FOR CURRENT IMBALANCES.

THEY HAILED THE EXECUTION OF THE FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT FOR LAUNCHING OF THE SUCRE, WHEREBY SPECIFIC STEPS ARE SET TO ENFORCE IT OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS.
THEY WELCOMED WITH SATISFACTION THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FOLLOWING PROJECTS: ALBA CULTURAL FUND; ENERGY, GAS AND PETROLEUM GRAND-NATIONAL COMPANY, AND THE CREATION OF A REGULATORY CENTER RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ALBA SANITARY REGISTRY (ALBAMED). TODAY, ALL THESE PROJECTS ARE BEING ALLOTTED FUNDS BY THE ALBA BANK.

THEY COMMISSIONED THE ALBA-TCP MINISTERIAL COUNCIL, THROUGH THE ALBA BANK EXECUTIVE BOARD, TO PROMOTE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A TECHNICAL-INSTITUTIONAL COOPERATION FACILITY TOGETHER WITH THE IRANIAN-VENEZUELAN BANK.
THEY ALSO DIRECTED THE ALBA BANK TO MAKE CONTACTS WITH THE ECONOMIC COOPERATION ORGANIZATION (ECO) IN ORDER TO PROMOTE A TECHNICAL-INSTITUTIONAL COOPERATION FACILITY BETWEEN THEM.

THE PRESIDENTS OF ALBA-TCP, IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE EFFORT MADE BY THE HAITIAN GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE, AGREED TO ALLOCATE FIVE MILLION US DOLLARS (US$ 5,000,000.00) TO THE LITERACY PROGRAM, IN ADDITION TO NINE MILLION THREE HUNDRED FIFTEEN THOUSAND AND ONE HUNDRED NINETY-FOUR US DOLLARS (US$ 9,315,194.00) FOR AN AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECT IN THE REGION.

FURTHER, THEY ENDORSED AN OUTLAY FOR THIRTEEN MILLION TWENTY-SIX THOUSAND AND NINETY-FOUR US DOLLARS (US$ 13,026,094.00) TO BE EXPENDED IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF TEN AGRICULTURAL PROJECTS IN HONDURAS, SURINAME, GUYANA, JAMAICA, SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES, NICARAGUA AND BELIZE.

THEY UNDERSCORED THE UNTOWARD EFFECTS OF THE CAPITALIST PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION MODEL ON THE ENVIRONMENT, WHICH HAS RESULTED IN INCREASING NATURAL DISASTERS, AS WELL AS ITS IMPACT ON OUR PEOPLES. IN THIS REGARD, THEY GAVE INSTRUCTIONS TO THE ALBA-TCP MINISTERIAL COUNCIL, THROUGH THE RESPECTIVE AGENCIES, TO CREATE THE ALBA INTERNATIONAL BRIGADE OF HUMANITARIAN AID, BASED IN LA GUAIRA, VARGAS STATE, BOLIVARIAN REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA, WITH A CHAPTER IN EACH OF THE MEMBER STATES.

THEY DIRECTED THE ALBA-TCP MINISTERIAL COUNCIL, THROUGH THE APPROPRIATE AGENCIES, TO CREATE THE BICENTENNIAL HOST COMMISSION FOR THE COMMEMORATIVE EVENTS OF THE BEGINNING OF THE REVOLUTION OF INDEPENDENCE IN THE HEMISPHERE.

THEY WELCOMED THE BOLIVIAN PROPOSAL ON THE CREATION OF AN ALBA HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL, THE STUDY AND ASSESSMENT OF WHICH WAS ENTRUSTED TO THE ALBA MINISTERIAL COUNCIL.
THEY VOICED SATISFACTION FOR THE SUCCESSFUL LAUNCHING BY THE BOLIVARIAN REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA OF THE SIMON BOLIVAR SATELLITE.

THIS INFRASTRUCTURE WILL HELP ADVANCE ON REGIONAL INTEGRATION AND REPRESENTS A FUNDAMENTAL TOOL TO TAKE INITIATIVES WITH A SOCIAL IMPACT ON THE ALBA PEOPLES. THEY REPORTED ON THE ONGOING DEFINITION OF THE SOCIAL PROGRAMS THAT WILL BE SHARED BY THE ALBA MEMBER STATES BY MEANS OF THE SATELLITE. THESE SOCIAL PROGRAMS WILL ENTER INTO FORCE IN 2010.

ON THIS VERY DATE, AN INTER-REGIONAL COMMISSION COORDINATED BY THE MINISTRY OF PEOPLE'S POWER FOR TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY OF THE BOLIVARIAN REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA, INVOLVING MINISTERS OR OFFICIALS RESPONSIBLE IN THE AREA FOR EACH OF THE ALBA-TCP MEMBER STATES, WAS ORGANIZED FOR THE PURPOSES OF POLICY MAKING ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF SOCIAL PROGRAMS AND IN ORDER TO SET A SCHEDULE FOR SUCH IMPLEMENTATION.

THEY RATIFIED THEIR ABSOLUTE CONDEMNATION TO THE US GENOCIDAL ECONOMIC, TRADE AND FINANCIAL BLOCKADE ON CUBA AND DEMANDED AGAIN ITS UNILATERAL, IMMEDIATE REMOVAL.
THEIR REAFFIRMED THEIR STRENUOUS CONDEMNATION TO TERRORISM IN ALL THEIR FORMS AND EXPRESSIONS, AS WELL AS ANY AND ALL ACTIONS, METHODS AND PRACTICES OF TERRORISM WHEREVER THEY ARE PERPETRATED, WHOEVER PERPETRATES THEM, AGAINST WHOEVER THEY ARE PERPETRATED, INCLUDING THOSE WHERE STATES ARE DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY INVOLVED.

IN THIS CONTEXT, THEY REQUESTED AGAIN FROM THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES THE EXTRADITION TO THE BOLIVARIAN REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA OF NOTORIOUS TERRORIST AND FUGITIVE LUIS POSADA CARRILES. THEY ALSO DEMANDED THE RELEASE OF THE FIVE CUBAN HEROES WHO ARE SERVING UNFAIR SENTENCE IN US PRISONS FOR FIGHTING TERRORISM.

FROM CUMANA, THE BIRTHPLACE OF MARISCAL ANTONIO JOSE DE SUCRE; 50 YEARS AFTER THE TRIUMPH OF THE CUBAN REVOLUTION; 30 YEARS AFTER THE SANDINISTA REVOLUTION, AND IN THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BOLIVARIAN REVOLUTION, ALBA-TCP MEMBER STATES RATIFIED THEIR FIRM COMMITMENT TO CONTINUE PAVING THE WAY TOWARDS INDEPENDENCE AND INTEGRATION CLAIMED BY THE PEOPLES OF LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN.
Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Dominica backs Venezuela in slamming Obama America’s Summit

The Dominican.net Newsdesk

ALBA logo
ALBA leaders met recently in Venezuela.

Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skeritt was one of the five Heads of State of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) who slammed this weekend’s America’s summit for excluding Cuba and not resolving the region's economic woes.

The ALBA summit in the fishing Venezuelan town of Cumana was held to coincide with the two-day Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago that includes US President Barack Obama, and other Caribbean and Latin American leaders with the exception of Cuba.

The Dominican Prime Minister along with the presidents of Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Bolivia dismissed the Summit of the America's draft final statement calling it "insufficient and unacceptable" for failing to mention the region's near unanimous rejection of the US economic blockade of Cuba.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega called the US embargo "a real genocide" and dismissed the Summit of the Americas as useless. "You can't call that summit 'of the Americas' because Cuba and Puerto Rico are missing," Ortega said.

Chavez read out loud from the ALBA text saying that the Americas summit statement also fails "to address the issues of the global economic crisis."

In that regard, the ALBA grouping stressed the responsibility of the economies of developed countries and their economic policies for the origin and depth of the crisis.

The group also reasserted their readiness to search for solutions from and for developing countries, “ which take into account the special and differential treatment deserved by the most vulnerable economies and the impact of the crisis on the downtrodden.”

According to Chavez, "We contend there's no consensus for adopting that draft statement and we propose an exhaustive debate." In keeping with ALBA's leftist charter, Chavez said the first order of discussion in the debate should be how "capitalism is bringing about the end of humanity and the planet."

Although Cuba is not included among the 34 countries meeting at the Summit of the Americas, and is also excluded from the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS), there are signs that this may soon change.

OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza announced at the Americas summit on Friday that he will ask the OAS General Assembly meeting in June to revoke the OAS resolution excluding Cuba.

Cuban president Raul Castro recently announced that he was prepared to talk to the US on all issues including human rights, prisoners and other matters.

His comments come only days after Obama lifted travel and money transfer restrictions for Cuban-Americans with relatives in Cuba, and only hours before the summit of the Americas opened US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said 50 years of US policy on Cuba had "failed."

Despite these new developments, Chavez at the ALBA summit, referring to Obama, said "we must demand that he abide by United Nations resolutions" and lift the 47-year economic embargo on Cuba.

The leaders present at Cumana included host Hugo Chavez; Bolivia’s Evo Morales; Cuba’s Raul Castro; Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega; Manuel Zelaya, Honduras and Dominica PM Roosevelt Skerrit.

Read Draft ALBA Declaration
Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dominica Olympic Committee elections poses challenge

By Rupert Sorhaindo

olympics
Dominica Olympic Committee elections could test the 'olympic' spirit.

With the end of the XXIX Olympiad, a new Olympic Quadrennial cycle has begun and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) worldwide will be holding elections to select individuals who will be mandated to manage the substantial financial resources that will be placed at their disposal for the promotion of Olympic Values and for the development of athletes and their affiliated sports, generally.

Regrettably, in many countries the process will be corrupted by individuals attracted to the available positions simply for the opportunities for travel and perks, and for promotion of their personal agendas - which in many cases are far removed from the development of athletes and sports, or for the promotion of Olympic Values of honesty and integrity among others.

Already in Dominica, there is evidence of intense lobbying by some sports administrators who have in the past, been instrumental in the establishment of national sports associations in which they have held or currently hold positions on the respective Executive committees, concurrently; leading any independent observer to the reasonable conclusion that the motive is control of a useful block of votes to guarantee their election to the DOC executive.

An investigation into the workings of a number of the national sports associations affiliated with the Dominica Olympic Committee could reveal a disturbing scenario of “phantom” organizations, with or without well written statutes, with full complement of executive members listed, but with few if any bona fide athletes.

Some of those “national associations” have probably held no meetings or staged no competitions, or participated in no national, regional or international activities during the past four or five years, or longer. Yet, they will be eligible to elect officers of the DOC..

However, with the recently adopted changes to the DOC constitution to encourage greater transparency and accountability in the governance of the NOC, and with the publication of this article, some of those associations are likely to hurriedly convene “meetings” to legitimize their involvement in the DOC electoral process.

Let us hope that the media will take as active an interest in those activities as they have in national electoral reform.

Journalists with an interest in promoting ethics (good and accountable governance) in sports would wish to look into a situation where three of the sports administrators who are lobbying for key positions on the DOC, may currently hold or until very recently, may have held top positions on the executive committees of two, three or even four different national sports associations, concurrently!

There must be concern among persons committed to the welfare of athletes and to the development of sports, that the apparent racket which seems to be parading under the banner of the Olympic Movement is making a travesty of what Olympism is supposed to be all about, and is serving to discourage credible sports leaders and administrators from “getting involved”, lest they become targets of slur campaigns, as has occurred in the recent past.
Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Dominica Unity and Progress Conference in New York

By Joan Bellot

Dominicans from all over the globe are coming together for a Unity and Progress conference to plan the way forward through meaningful dialogue, and in an effort to help create a prosperous and progressive country.

The event, which is scheduled to take place from 8:30 a.m at the United Church of Jesus Christ 3936 Bronxwood Avenue, Bronx, NY 10466, New York , April 25, 2009, will provide an opportunity for participants to submit substantive ideas, recommendations, and suggestions in helping to make a difference in Dominica.

The conference will focus on how best to better engage Dominicans at home and abroad in making a meaningful contribution to Dominica’s social, economic and political progress. Organisers of the event stress that discussions are to be carried out in a non-partisan manner and the participation of persons of all political persuasions is encouraged.

A panel comprising speakers from a cross section of the Dominican Diaspora including Dr. Sam Christian, Thomson Fontaine, Judge Irvin Andre, Shirley Allan, Hendrix Pierre, Gabriel Christian, and Dr. Emmanuel Finn will lead the discussions.

The decision to hold the conference has been largely motivated by the slow pace of economic development in Dominica, escalating social pressures manifested by an increase in crime, the decline in good and accountable governance, and the failure of successive governments to meaningfully engage Dominicans overseas in the national development process.

More importantly, Dominicans at home and abroad are deeply troubled that the country is being represented overseas by non-nationals of questionable character, and that the very sovereignty of the country is being threatened by secret deals made with major foreign powers.

Increasingly, Dominicans are being disowned in that the commanding heights of our economy reside outside the control of locals, with the resultant disregard of the national interest and of scant benefit to our people.

In such a critical hour in our country’s history, and at a time of global economic challenge, we desperately need patriotic Dominicans who can set aside their differences and work together for the common good.

There will be live reports from Dominicans living in various countries and the event will be carried live by Q95 FM to a world wide audience. Books by Dominican authors will be available for sale. A social event in the evening will also provide a unique opportunity for business networking and for promoting a lasting bond between the people of Dominica.

At the conclusion of the conference, a declaration will be prepared outlining the major areas of agreement and highlighting proposals with clear guidelines for promoting social, economic, and political progress in Dominica. A declaration will also be made on the current state of affairs in the country combined with suggestions for addressing key areas of concern.

Everyone interested in Dominica and in playing a more active role in the country’s future direction is encouraged to come out and participate. Interested individuals should reply to Shirleyallan@hotmail.com, Bellot_j@yahoo.com or Hendrixpierre@gmail.com.
Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dominica International Conference in New York

By Joan Bellot

Matt Peltier of Q95FM has offered to come to the Bronx to cover the Dominica International Conference live! Matt hosts THE HOT SEAT, the highest-rated morning talk show. He interviewed Dr. Sam for his stirring "A Better Dominica" You tube videos.

Matt's subsequent interview of his brother, attorney Gabriel Christian, met with overwhelmingly enthusiastic response. Change is on the way in Dominica and Dominicans overseas are leading the charge! Here is your chance to help shape the future of our country.

Join us at this one day conference led by experienced Dominican panelists. Various international Dominica Associations will present live reports. Hear for yourself the buzz created by the Christian brothers.

There will be opportunity for networking, light refreshments and socializing. Full "Unity & Progress" agenda to follow. Start by giving your opinion in the preliminary poll to your right.

Kindly forward your email list of Dominicans (and friends of Dominica) who you feel would like their own personal invitation. Dominicans everywhere are united in expressing renewed hope like never before. Show your support for this landmark event.

Something special, something powerful is happening in our country. Thank you for being a part of it!


When: Saturday, April 25, 8:00AM
Phone: 239 424-0284

Host: Hendrix Pierre / Unity & Progress Coalition of Dominica

Location:United Church of Jesus Christ
3936 Bronxwood Avenue,
Bronx, NY 10466.
Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Ground breaking for agro-tourism center in Bellevue Chopin Dominica

By Sean Douglas

David Hsiu
Tourism minister Ian Douglas at ground breaking ceremony of agro-tourism center.

At the ground breaking ceremony for a new Agro-Tourism Reception Centre at Bellevue Chopin, Dominica on Monday, Minister for Tourism, Hon. Ian Douglas, emphasised how the tourism industry in Dominica can be expanded through the development of linkages with the agricultural sector.

“Because we well know and we are familiar with the problems that are being experienced in the agricultural sector right now, particularly with bananas, tourism presents the ideal opportunity for us to give agriculture a new lease on life.

I always tell people that we can never run away from the fact that Dominica will always be an agriculturally based economy and here it is that tourism provides the adequate opportunity and the advantage we can take, to use the agricultural product as a marketing tool to expand and develop our tourism industry,” Hon. Ian Douglas stated.

The Minister also praised the Bellevue Chopin Organic Farmers for their work. “I want to commend the Bellevue Chopin farmers for what they are doing here. I think it is a great product that can be developed. You have a product that can create employment by what your farmers will engage in here at this site. It also has spin-off benefits where you can create value added for the products that will be developed……,” Hon. Douglas said.

The construction of the Bellevue Chopin Reception Centre is expected to increase the agro-tourism activities in the area and facilitate the work of the Bellevue Chopin Organic Farmers Group. The Group will be able to display their products and provide local snacks made from organic products to persons visiting the centre. Tours to organic farms in the area will also be dispatched from the centre.

The Bellevue Chopin Reception Centre will be two-storey structure costing in the region of EC$275,000.

Also present at the ground breaking ceremony were Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Mrs. Esther Thomas; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture; Mrs. Claudia Bellot Chairman of the Village Council, Mr. Calvin Mitchell; Secretary of the Bellevue Chopin Organic Farmers Committee, Mr. Delroy Registe; President of the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA), Mr Jonathan Vidal; Project Engineer, Mr. Alistair Grell as well as residents of the area.

The construction of the Bellevue Chopin Reception Centre is being financed by the European Commission through the Special Framework of Assistance (SFA2006) Tourism Sector Development Programme (TSDP).

The overall objective of the TSDP is to improve the competitiveness of the tourism sector through the development of rural tourism and linkages with agriculture; increased destination marketing and building the capacity of major tourism institutions like the Ministry of Tourism and Discover Dominica Authority.
Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Kerel Honore of Dominica jailed for drug possession in Antigua

The Dominican.net Newsdesk

marijuana
Compressed marijuana.

For the second time in as many months a Dominican has been sentenced in Antigua for attempting to import drugs into that country.

Kerel Honore was fined $75 000 and given two years in prison after he pleaded guilty to importation of marijuana, possession and possession with intent to supply.

The fine applied to the possession with intent to supply charge, while he was reprimanded and discharged on the possession and importation charges.

Chief Magistrate Ivan Walters told the court that he had taken into account several factors before sentencing Honore. He indicated that Honore had no previous conviction in this jurisdiction, and that he co-operated with the police, pleaded guilty, did not waste the court’s time and that he exhibited remorse.

Police allege that the 28 year-old Honore who resides in Antigua was taken into custody after drugs were found on the vessel Tamara Alleyne, which transports agricultural produce on a weekly basis from Dominica to Antigua.

The Tamara Alleyne is the same boat on which marijuana was found in February, which led to the arrest and subsequent imposition of a fine on Abishai Ettienne, 28, of Dominica who pleaded guilty to possession of 16 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of $32,000.

At the time, Chief Magistrate Ivan Walters imposed a $360,000 fine, subsequently reduced it by two-thirds on account of Ettienne pleading guilty and for his previous good behavior. Ettienne was ordered to pay the government $120,000 by the end of April, 2009.

In the more recent case, the police conducted a search of the vessel’s cargo and found two ice coolers, which each contained a large quantity of grapefruit and seven wrapped packages containing the illegal drug. The 41 ½ pounds of marijuana had an estimated street value of $83,000.

Honore now has to come up with $25,000 and serve a 12-month prison sentence, and will serve an additional six months if the money is not paid by 30 April. He will deported from Antigua on completion of his sentence.
Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dominica Catholic Church tackles the men’s crisis


In what is being dubbed “a sustainable approach to the men’s crisis”, The catholic Men’s retreat is being Held at the Point Michel Church, for The first time since Point Michel and Soufriere became Part of the Southern Vicariate of the Church.

Commencing this Monday at 63opm, and continuing until Friday, men from the Parishes of St. Alphonsus, Cathedral, Fatima, St. Lukes, and St. Marks are expected to attend this year’s retreat in large numbers, under the theme “Disciples on Mission, Gifted and Called”.

According to the President of The Cathedral Branch of the Dominica Association of Catholic men, Norris Prevost, “this year’s Catholic Men’s retreat Marks the beginning of a renewal of catholic men, again taking up their leadership roles in their families, their Church, and their Communities.”

The retreat master will be Fr. Carl Haynes from Grenada, supported by local priests from the Vicariate, Fr. Vanty Auguiste, Episcopal Vicar, Monsignor Reginald Lafleur, and Father Charles Martin Dean, of the Cathedral.

Special prayers for doctors, businessmen, media workers, calypsonians, and musicians

According to Chairman of the Retreat organizing Committee, Donald Rolle, “This year’s Retreat will have a special Flavour. On each night of the Retreat, special prayers will be offered for a Special Category of Men.

In other words, the Church will be giving special recognition to all categories of men, including those who may have felt a bit left out in the past. In so doing we hope that these men will recognize and take up their leadership roles, en Church, in family and in Communities. “

“On Monday special prayers will be offered for businessmen professionals, and Politicians, Tuesday for Policemen, Teachers and Public Servants, Wednesday for contractors, builders, tradesmen, fishermen, farmers, technicians, taxi and truck drivers, Thursday for Trade Union Leaders and members, Port workers, security men clerks, daily paid workers and the unemployed, whilst on Friday, the last night of the retreat, the special prayers will be for Media Workers, DJs, Calypsonians, Musicians and song writers.”


Contact: Norris Prevost – 275 3420; email; Norris.prevost@gmail.com.
President Dominica Association of Catholic Men
Donald Rolle- 235 2368; email : rolledonald@gmail.com, Chairman Retreat Committee.
Fr Vanty Auguiste: 448 8536; vanty7@hotmail.co, Episcopal Vicar.
Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Eric Tomer named Dominica ambassador to Monaco


On 27th February 2009 at 11 a.m. a joint communiqué was signed between His Excellency Mr Jean Pastorelli and His Excellency Eric Torner, Ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Principality of Monaco and the Commonwealth of Dominica, establishing diplomatic relations between the two States.

The signing ceremony took place in the Chancellery of the Embassy of His Serene Highness the Sovereign Prince in Paris, France.

During the speeches that followed the ceremony, the Ambassador of Monaco pointed out that the two States, although far apart from a geographical point of view, shared several points in common, in particular environmental protection.

The Ambassador of Dominica stressed the importance his authorities attached to initiatives undertaken by the Principality of Monaco for sustainable development and the protection of the biodiversity of the ocean and seas.

The formalisation of diplomatic relations between the Principality of Monaco and the Commonwealth of Dominica will also reinforce cooperation in the economic and cultural fields. Furthermore, the training of young Dominicans in the Principality's Hotel School was also discussed.

After the ceremony, a reception was held for the two Ambassadors and their colleagues. On the Monegasque side, Ms Corinne Magail, Permanent deputy representative for the Principality of Monaco to UNESCO, Mr Rémi Mortier, Advisor and Mr Frédéric Labarrere, First Secretary were present.

The Dominican Delegation was made up of Mr Didier Vidal, Minister-Adviser and Permanent deputy representative of the Commonwealth of Dominica to UNESCO

The Commonwealth of Dominica is the 71st State to establish diplomatic relations with the Principality of Monaco.
Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A national export strategy for Dominica

By Michael Norris

The welfare of the Dominican people is and must be inextricably and integrally linked with trade with the rest of the world. It is to our detriment if we ignore this reality.

We are too small in population and market size, too constrained in our resource base, and inherently vulnerable to hinge our development on an inward-looking strategy.

Although the influence of trade on development and economic welfare is the subject of much debate and controversy, there is no doubt that there is a positive correlation between trends in export earnings and growth, which are the essential concerns of the National Export Strategy.

It matters that we not only grow what we eat but we also grow to export. Exports matter because they generate income and foreign exchange which allow us to buy those goods and services we cannot produce here.

Exports matter because they create forward and backward linkages in production which, in turn, generate increased value added. This means more wealth. The more integrated the production chain, the greater the dynamism of economic activity. Exports matter because they can lead to a more efficient use of scarce resources and to increases in productivity across the wider economy.

The development of the National Export Strategy forces us to focus in a systematic fashion on those critical issues that did not and do not allow us to take full advantage of preferential trade arrangements.

These include, among others, low productivity, lack of competitiveness, absence of economies of scale, lack of technological absorption in the production process, and the dearth of risk capital.

Their resolution is an indispensable condition for surviving in a new dispensation characterized by reciprocal EPAs, single markets and economies and trade blocs and for maximizing the benefits to be derived from the market access and investment opportunities that the new trade regimes present.

Overcoming these supply-side constraints would expand productive capacity and thus close the persistent and widening trade deficit, which is becoming unsustainable.

To my mind, the greatest challenge for those who are designing the strategy is how do we get the productive sector, or more generally, private economic agents to respond appropriately to policy measures.

At the top, there is the macro policy. At the other end, we have microeconomic agents, the producers. Policy actions are taken to influence the behaviour of producers. And often times in our experience the policymaker is not successful in eliciting the appropriate response. (Think, for example, of the history of diversification attempts).

Why is this the case? Is the poor response due to a lack of a system of appropriate incentives? Are supporting institutions such as those that hedge risks missing? Is it cultural? These are some of the questions and issues that occupy the middle between policy and production and which the NES will have to address and do so in a proactive and systematic manner.

To the extent that it succeeds, this singular effort could be regarded as a significant turning point in the history of Dominica’s economic development.

Of course, the desirable response in the case of the export strategy is to increase production of goods and services that can compete in the export market. The EU is helping to elicit this response by funding current initiatives to improve the functioning of the land market; to establish business incubators for promising ideas; and to strengthen the productivity and competitiveness of Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises and exporters by providing managerial and technical support and enhancing the capacity of business support organizations to deliver such services.

I urge all members of the NES design team to fully commit themselves to getting the job done. The NES is about our bread and butter. It’s about our economic independence.

It is, too, about reducing our risk exposure to adverse external developments. We cannot build a sustainable economy and society on aid alone. Life is too unpredictable for that. We have to move beyond aid dependency.

The expectation of the Office of the NAO and the European Commission is that the NES will provide for more dynamic linkages with the world economy but not on the basis of relying on trade preferences and aid but instead on the basis of a resilient, competitive and diversified economy with a skilled workforce and strong and adaptable institutions.

We also look forward to a NES that is practical and concrete in its recommendations.
Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Soukouyaun dupies lageblese in Dominica

By Francis Joseph

Dupies, lougawoos, spirits, soucouyans, ghosts and lagablese has been part of our living culture for years and will continue to be for some time as long as we continue to maintain some level of humour, fun and a quest to search for the truth.

I am intrigued by the interest to open up this topic for discussion even if to some, it is still an area of fear, getting into the unknown and the return of childhood memories (good or bad, fun or frolic), and for me that is growing up in Church Lane, Potterville and in Castle Bruce (my family village) where I lived and worked.

I only believe in these “spirits” so long as they are remaining just that, mysteries of interests, intrigue, curiosity and a little laughter in the dark night when DOMLEC deprives us of electricity.

You see these stories and mysteries have clinged us together under circumstances when we start off the Tim Tim – “Bwa cheche” “belle tory” and we are packed like sardines and scared to death on our parents porch or clinged together on a bed in a closed room, when the rain is ponging heavily on the roof, the thunder is bursting noisily at distant intervals over head and the lightening brightening up the night like the flash of a camera taking us un noticed with no time to smile and say “cheese” everyone.

I therefore do not believe in these sprits only for what they are worth as I mentioned above and admittedly have brought a mixture of mixed feelings to me of fear, eagerness to discover of the unknown and as I grew up into maturity my curiosity was confirmed that this was just part of growing up. So that passage of life was extremely enjoyable, rewarding and uplifting.

I can identify with the story Celia raised in her comment where it was reported that a soucouyan was captured in the late 60`s and brought to the Princess Margaret Hospital. I recall taking my fastness and running to the hospital morgue to see for myself (I always wanted to see for myself, and not take anyone’s word or interpretation).

Upon arrival at the morgue there was this female, naked head to toe, no hair on her head and no pubic hair lying there dead with patches of burnt skin over her body. Someone said that she was a soucupyon flying by night and crashed landed after sucking too much blood ( in other words, in modern day flying language, that soucouyan was overweight). I said that it was either a dead body found somewhere or she was a victim of a fire and got burnt over her body. End of story for me.

These sprits then are powerful and convincing depending who tells the story. According to Paul Keens Douglas, “……people always tell you, when relating these stories, that they hear, or someone tell them, but they never reveal their source nor have they seen or experience it themselves, so it is either you learn to pray or your learn to run”

Here is one true, true story, I personally experienced that I wished to share with you and you can either pray first or run after you read it. Picture this: the place Castle Bruce Primary School, the time, about 7:30 pm, the weather, heavy pouring rain and hallowing wind, the right scene for a good TIM TIM, story telling and beff, one would say. Now, for those of you reading who do not know Castle Bruce and where the school is located, well, the school is located as you enter the village beyond the police station.

When you stand on the school platform looking towards the sea, between the sea and the school are; 1. The generator house feeding electricity to the police station, 2.the Police station, 3, the cemetery, 4, the health clinic and 5.the Atlantic Ocean, all in that order.

I hope that you are still with me, as it is important to the story. Now Castle Bruce had no electricity then and the only source of electricity came from the generator (1 above) of the police station. That generator also supplied the school with electricity with a long electrical wire running from the generator house over its galvanized roof to the school.

The night as I said earlier was dark, raining heavily with some thunder and lightening and while I stood there a friend in excitement and awe brought to my attention that there is a soucouyan flying in the distance over the cemetery.

In my usual doubting Tom manner I said no, it is impossible, I just do not believe in flying soucouyan and that if LIAT do not fly in that weather why would a soucouyan risk doing that? My denial and challenge brought no relief and stirred up the enthusiasm more, as others jumped into the melee and curiosity of discovering a flying soucouyan.

I then challenged my friends that we should walk down to the position of the cemetery giving us the opportunity to be the first ones to make headline news of capturing a soucouyan and revealing to Dominica for sure that these old odd women do fly at nights sucking people’s blood and are referred to as soucouyan.

All denied the challenged for fear that they would be sucked of their blood. I choose not to go on my own as it would be my word ONLY and therefore will lose all credibility and opportunity to confirm the existence that soucouyans are real.

I however pursued that it is false and finally to my dismay and satisfaction discovered what the flying lights was. It certainly was not a soucouyan.

Here is what it was. You recall the location of the school, the generator and the cemetery, good? And you also recall that Castle Bruce had no electricity then and that the electricity came from the generator house onto the school via a long electrical wire over the generator house which was covered in galvanize - good? And you recall the weather that night - rain, lightening, thunder wind etc.

Therefore what was really happening as the wind blew heavily, the electrical wire rubbed on the galvanize creating some friction and apparently that part of the wire was scratched and exposed and when that part of the wire touched the galvanize (zinc) it created sparks (fire like reflections) intermittently and that is what caused the flying lights seem to be that of a soucouyan flying.

Now the scene as I said was well set for this; the cemetery (dead people) no one goes or trespasses in cemetery at night, it is only soucouyan who does, this is our belief. The howling wind gave the scene more or greater impact to this belief, the wire flapping on the roof of the generator house so fast gave even greater impact. Standing on the school platform and looking towards the sea in the same direction of the cemetery, MY God what would you think of, Only a Soucouyan?

I took my friends closer to the generator house and only then they were convinced that it was not a soucouyan. Come on no need to pray and run, let us go the backyard and play some hopscotch and laugh it off.
Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Dominica's ambassadors of shame

A Dominican.net Investigative Report

David Hsiu
On May 27, 2008, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Li Jinzhang met with Ambassador of the Commonwealth of Dominica to China David King Hsiu and accepted a donation of 100, 000 U.S. dollars made by David King Hsiu in his own name to the Wenchuan earthquake area.

What does the names Lakschin, King, Torner, and Hsiu have in common? They are all famous Dominicans that the majority of the population knows nothing or very little about. Lakshin is Russian, King is Bahamian, Torner is French and Hsiu is Chinese. They have all become Dominicans by way of its economic citizenship program, and at one time or the other held the distinguished position of Dominican ambassador.

Roman Laskschin was recommended to be Dominica’s ambassador to the United Nations and the World Trade Organization; Rudolph King was named Dominica’s ambassador to Bahrain, Eric Torner is Dominica’s ambassador to UNESCO, and David Hsiu represents the country’s interest in China.

Every self respecting country unable to commit large sums of money to maintain ambassadors overseas usually relies on appointing honorary counsels. These are usually people of high repute, distinguished residents of that country willing to give of their time and energy to help build lasting diplomatic relations between their country and the one they wish to represent.

A disturbing trend however, has emerged with regards to Dominica. The country appears to have adopted an approach that is contrary to the norms of international best practice, and that is shrouded in secrecy. In exchange for large sums of money under an ill advised citizenship program, people of less than stellar repute are buying the sacred ambassadorships. Interestingly, the Treasury cannot account for these monies and other hundreds of passports that have ostensibly been sold under the program. In the process, these ‘ambassadors’ have sullied the country’s good name and heaped shame and scorn on its populace.

Take the case of Lakschin. Russia rejected his credentials twice, once under the James government and later under Skerrit’s government. In April,2006 after the Swiss government twice revoked his credentials to serve as Dominica’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Dominica filed suit in the International Court of Justice against the Swiss. The charge, alleged violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The news sent shockwaves across international diplomatic circles. A few weeks later it quietly withdrew the case. (See related) More on Lakschin.

Remarkably, Dominica was willing to bring suit against Switzerland for rejecting Lakschin as ambassador because the Swiss considered him to be a ‘businessman’ and not suitable for the role. Yet, legal action was pursued. How could this be? What sway did Lakschin have over the Dominica government that even when it was clear that there were problems with his appointment, the government was wiling to use taxpayers money to hire a top British attorney to defend it’s case before the international court.

As it turns out, Lakschin had been sued in the Swiss courts for close to a quarter million dollars, one of several cases brought against him. In an attempt to escape justice, he evoked diplomatic immunity claiming that he was still Dominica’s Ambassador. The Swiss government stood firm by their earlier decision that as a businessman, he could not be an ambassador. And so, Dominica sued. However a few days after the case was brought and as it began to gain international notoriety, it was quietly withdrawn.

Dominica’s goodwill ambassador, Bahamian Rudolph King is languishing in a United States jail after being brought up on charges in a US federal court for trying to defraud the government of more than $2 million, all while brandishing his Dominican diplomatic passport. Related story.
rudolph king
Rudolph King presents his credentials to Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa of Bahrain on August 29, 2006.

The fact is long before King ended up on the internet presenting his credentials as Dominica’s ambassador to the Sultan of Bahrain his shady dealings were littered over the internet. A quick Google search would have revealed that. Apparently no due diligence was done. Remarkably, when King was appointed ambassador he had just been declared bankrupt in the Bahamas. Since no public records are available on the sale of the diplomatic passports, it is not known if King was able to pay the $100 000 to secure that previledge or whether he simply promised to pay.

Felix Chen, a Chinese businessman with a fondness for Dominica recently filed suit against David Hsiu, Dominica’ ambassador to China, at the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal in the British Virgin Islands.

According to the complaint, Hsiu had failed to deliver on his promise to make available to Chen a share in the Layou River project for which he had paid $20 million. As the case came to light, Hsiu retaliated by filing a counter suit in which he named Dominica’s Prime Minister as a co-defendant.

The Prime Minister was then forced to issue an affidavit to support the Government’s claim and Felix Chen's assertion in his rectification case that the Government owns 51% of the Layou River project.

While it is difficult to point to any diplomatic breakthroughs made by Hsiu, his picture is plastered over the internet where he is seen cozying up to high ranking Chinese officials making cash donations. These gifts could ostensibly be from the sale of Dominican passports to which he was entrusted.

One of his donations of $100 000 was presented to the Chinese government for earthquake relief on behalf of the people of Dominica. Quite intriguing is the fact that the amount is exactly the cost of one passport. While we cannot say for sure that it is money from the passport sale, there are no previous accounts of ambassador Hsiu's largesse to the Chinese before he became ambassador. Unconfirmed reports from Dominica indicate that Hsiu and his agents were given an undisclosed number of passports to sell as they saw fit. However, the Skerrit government has consistently denied that any such passports were given to Hsiu.

Which brings us to another vexing question. Why are agents acting on behalf of government allowed physical possession of Dominican passports. It seems to me that these agents should be charged with making the initial contacts and once they’ve lined up the clients they should then be referred to Dominica. Why are those sales not centralized and the finances handled by the Dominican treasury?

My own investigations show that upwards of $25 million has been gleaned from the sale of Dominican passports, yet little if any of this has found its way to the Treasury. Equally baffling is the fact that the agents acting on government’s behalf has no limit on how much they can sell the passports. In fact, it is believed that Grace Tongue, a Taiwanese national instrumental in starting the Layou River Hotel made millions in the sale of Dominican passports, which have yet to be adequately accounted for.

The Swiss government in rejecting the credentials of Lakschin gave as their primary reason the fact that he was a businessman and not a diplomat. The same can be said of King and Hsiu. I am still trying to determine what exactly is the nature of Hsiu’s business dealings. I know that he inherited the Layou River Hotel project – already financed by millions of dollars from the sale of passports to anxious Chinese who were trying to get out of Hong Kong around the time of it reverting to Chinese rule in 1999.

The obvious question is whether the businessmen turned ambassadors were taking advantage of a naïve, poor country by seeking the cloak of diplomatic immunity for their less than transparent business dealings. Alternatively, one can pose the question as to whether the Dominica government has made a serious error in judgment in opening up the country’s good name to international shame and ridicule.

While we do not mean to suggest the following ambassadors can be put in the same category as those described above, it is important to look at a few more that I discovered during the course of the investigation.

In the run up to the 2005 general elections, Susan Oldie gave $400 000 to Citizens for a Better Dominica”, an organization headed by Mayor of Roseau Cecil Joseph, a ranking member of the ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP). It was later reported that Oldie, a Cayman Island resident had given the money in exchange for a diplomatic passport. However, the money was used to finance the election campaign of the DLP.

In March of 2006, US gospel music icon Dr. Bobby Jones who is often referred to as the “goodwill ambassador of gospel music” was appointed by Prime Minister Skerrit to the post of ambassador at large of Dominica for a three year term.

According to an official Dominica government document signed by Skerrit, Jones was “authorized to negotiate on Dominica’s behalf (in the) procurement and financing of projects with the potential for carrying forward the economic and infrastructural development program of the government of Dominica.”

Jones was said to have been recommended for the job after meeting with several of Dominica’s cabinet members and discussing the need for increased tourism and economic growth in Dominica. However, with the three years about to expire there is no record of Jones having made any meaningful contribution to Dominica’s economy.
See related.

His Excellency Eric Torner is Dominica’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Delegate to UNESCO. Information about the French national was particularly difficult to come by. I know however that he was appointed by the Skerrit government and is based in Paris.

In 2007, he visited Dominica on a chartered yacht from the neighboring French islands, and held an elaborate party attended by government officials while the yacth was docked in the Roseau port. Other than this party I have not been able to find out any actions of note that has been taken or made on Dominica’s behalf.

During the course of the investigation, I also discovered that the Skerrit government presented the credentials of a Czech Republic national to be Dominica’s ambassador to Slovenia. It is believed that the Slovenia government rejected the credentials given the history of the two countries. Unconfirmed reports also point to other holders of diplomatic pasports such as the embattled head of CLICO (an insurance company) in Barbados.

We now know of these less than stellar advocates of Dominica’s interests. What is more worrisome is how many other Dominican ambassadors who have purchased diplomatic passports who are out there just waiting to embarrass our beautiful country and put us all to shame.

Some might say that King, and Lakschin are no longer ambassadors, but the question remains as to why were these persons appointed in the first place. Indeed the repercussions of these reckless acts will be felt for years to come, and one gets the feeling that more is yet to be revealed.

So while countless Dominicans wait in vain to lend a hand to their country, including former distinguished ambassadors like Ambassador Angela Benjamin, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) ambassador, government has opted to make ambassadors of those who can afford to pay for the cloak of diplomatic immunity.

Eric Tomer named Dominica ambassador to MONACO
Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Dominica broadcasting authority bill not about censorship

By Sean Douglas

loreen bannis
Loreen Bannis government information minister.

At a National Consultation on the draft Broadcasting Authority Bill held recently, Minister for Information, Hon. Loreen-Bannis- Roberts told participants that contrary to what has been said in some quarters, the proposed Broadcasting Authority Bill is not about censorship or an attempt by Government to undermine free speech.

In an address to the large gathering of individuals involved in all aspects of the broadcasting industry in Dominica, Minister for Community Development, Culture, Gender Affairs and Information, Hon. Loreen Bannis-Roberts said:

“This Bill is not about censorship neither does it seek to undermine or infringe upon any of the fundamental rights and freedoms contained in Dominica’s constitution. Indeed all legislation in this country must be consistent with the constitution and there is ample evidence that the Labour Party Government stands committed to that principle.

“Accordingly, any statement made to the contrary is incorrect. There is no conspiracy by the Governments of the OECS to erase Freedom of Expression as hinted in an article in a local newspaper recently under the caption…. ‘We eh want the law’.”
In her address, the Minister also provided the justification for the draft legislation to govern broadcasting in Dominica.

“Justification for the formulation of the Broadcasting Authority Bill is embedded in the fact that broadcasting is a most useful tool in the dissemination of information and which in turn contributes to the safeguarding of democracy, promoting economic development, gender equity, nation building and strengthening the moral values of society.

Since this tool is subject to abuse, such an activity cannot be left to the preferences and biases of individual broadcasters; indeed the risk and uncertainty inherent in such a course of action could be catastrophic for any society,” Hon. Bannis-Roberts stated.

The Minister referred to the call by media practitioners here for self regulation but noted the “dangers inherent in the doctrine of self-regulation” when she spoke of the prevailing global financial crisis which originated in the United States of America.

Mrs. Bannis-Roberts added that what is proposed in the Broadcasting Authority Bill is a systematic approach to ensure codes and standards of broadcasting through legislation with clear policies specifically aimed towards strengthening and development of society and which provides for the licensing of broadcasting, the setting of broadcasting standards, fair competition, accountability and transparency.

The draft Broadcasting Authority Bill, prepared by the OECS Legislative Drafting Facility, is informed by a number of policy objectives for the broadcasting systems in the OECS Member States. The objectives are:

 To contribute to democracy, development of society, gender equality, nation building, provision of education and strengthening the spiritual and moral values of society;

 To safeguard, enrich and strengthen the cultural, social and economic fabric of the OECS Member States;

 To ensure plurality of news, views and information and provide a wide range of entertainment and education programmes;

 To cater for a broad range of services and specifically for the programming needs of children, the youth, adults, the elderly and the disabled;

 To encourage the development of human resources training and capacity building within the broadcasting sector, especially among historically disadvantaged groups.

The one-day National Consultation on the draft Broadcasting Authority Bill was attended by Composers, Songwriters and Publishers, Performers, Distributors, the Media among others.

Other participants included Ms. Priscilla Pacquette, State Attorney, Director of Telecommunications, Mr. Sylvester Cadette and former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Community Development, Director of Trade, Dr. Eisenhower Douglas.
Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dominica childrens book festival April 3, 2009

The first Special Education Classroom Project in a Dominican primary school will host a Children’s Book Festival to mark the end of literacy week and the second phase of the project.

This pilot project was an initiative of the Ministry of Education in collaboration with Jamie Alleyne-Sorhaindo of ACCELERATE – The Behaviour & Learning Clinic.

It was established at the Goodwill Primary School (GPS) – the largest primary school on the island, which serves the communities of Tarish Pit, Gutter Village, Yam Piece, Fond Cole, and Stockfarm among others.

The aim is to eventually decentralize and provide the special needs service to other communities in Dominica.

The project seeks to aid students, who have a wide range of exceptional needs, maximize their learning potential and go on to succeed in school and the rest of their lives, as they grow to become contributing citizens of Dominica.

Many of the students come from very difficult backgrounds, which contribute to their challenges in learning. The Project’s team is working hard at providing a warm, fun, and engaging school environment to promote their all-around wellbeing.

It is with this in mind, that they have organized a Children’s Book Festival to be held at the Goodwill Primary School auditorium on Friday April 3rd, 2009 under the distinguished patronage of His Excellency, The President, Dr. Nicholas J.O. Liverpool.

The book festival is to be hosted by the special education classes and will encompass storybook theatre, poetry, art, dance, storytelling, and much more.

The opening ceremony and performances will take place from 9AM to 10:30AM, and the booths will open from 10:30AM to 12:30PM.

An invitation is extended to all primary school students, parents, and other members of the community. For further information, persons may inquire at behaviourandlearning@gmail.com.
Google
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]