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Volume No. 1 Issue No. 51 - Friday Novemebr 07, 2003
The Local News in Brief from The Dominican.net News Desk


Roseau, Friday October 7, 2003
Work on Windsor Park Stadium to Resume?

According to Education, Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, talks are underway with a friendly government to provide grant funding for the completion of the Windsor Park Stadium. He expressed optimism that such funding would soon be made available on the completion of negotiations.

Work on the multi-purpose national sporting facility was stopped two years ago after funds for the project dried up, and the government undertook austerity measures under an IMF sponsored adjustment package. Locals have jokingly renamed the park “Jurassic Park” after lying abandoned all this time.

Roseau, Friday October 7, 2003
Government Housing Lots to be Made Available in St. Joseph

Prime Minister Pierre Charles in his Independence Day address on Monday announced that his government will be making available 240 housing units and 30 housing lots in a planned development in Hillsborough, St Joseph. The EC$30 million project is expected to start in December.

The Dominican leader also disclosed that 102 lots at Union Estate in Pointe Michel and 69 lots in Jimmit would be made available for housing purposes this year.

Roseau, Friday October 7, 2003
CD Featuring Dominican Artists Released

The Ralph Casimir and Orion Theophille Cultural Fund Committee have released a collection of music by Dominican artists to assist in raising funds for the teaching of culture and music in Dominican schools.

The CD called cultural passport features noted Dominican music artists including Jeff Joseph of Grammacks, Nasio Fontaine, Pat Aaron, and Ras Mo among others. The release of the CD was timed to coincide with Dominica’s twenty-fifth independence celebrations.

Portsmouth, October 30, 2003
Visitors from Haiti and the Dominica Republic to Deposit US$370

Citing enforcement of a 61 year law where Caribbean nationals may be asked to pay a deposit upon entry to the Island, Dominica's Attorney General Henry Dyer disclosed that nationals from Haiti and the Dominican Republic would have to deposit US$370 to enter Dominica.

The law was passed in 1942 and was aimed at keeping people away who could potentially be a burden on the public purse. The nationals from the two countries have been accused of using Dominica as a transfer point to other islands including the Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Martin and even the United States. They would be able to reclaim their deposits when leaving through designated ports.

Many of the Dominican Republic visitors to Dominica are know to remain in the town of Portsmouth and have been accused of fueling a growing prostitution trade in that city. Local police have been stepping up efforts to clamp down on the illicit trade.

Labor Member of Parliament for the Portsmouth constituency, Ian Douglas has however denounced the imposition of the deposit claiming that it would hurt Portsmouth’s booming economy, which is largely as a result of the new residents.

Roseau, October 30, 2003
Creole in the Park off to a great Start

Thouisands of resident and returning Dominicans as well as visitors into Dominica have been streaming into the scenic Botanic Gardens in Roseau to participate in Creole in the Park. The new event introduced for this year’s independence jubilee celebrations brings together the best of Dominican cuisine and culture.

Patrons have an opportunity to sample Dominica’s exquisite creole cuisine while listening to jing-ping and steel band music and watching fabulous displays of Dominica’s traditional dances. The event is proving to be a huge hit and is serving as a fitting introduction to the World Creole Music Festival and cultural competitions scheduled to get underway this weekend.

Portsmouth October 23, 2003
Nation Pays Final Respects to World’s Oldest Person

One of Dominica’s most beloved personalities was laid to rest yesterday with thousands of mourners converging on Portsmouth to pay final respects to Elizabeth ''Ma Pampo'' Israel as the funeral ceremony was carried live by the local media. Government officials and other citizens with many weeping openly, mourned the loss of the one-time estate worker and daughter of former slaves.

Ma Pampoo was considered by many Dominicans to be the world’s oldest person having claimed to be born in 1875. She was never given the official recognition because only an unofficial baptismal record was available. Last year she was awarded the country’s highest recognition, the medal of honor. At the time of her death, the Ross University School of Medicine was in the process of analyzing her tissue samples to medically determine her age. A school spokesman said that the work will continue.

Ma Pampoo once remarked that her longevity was due to her consumption of bush tea and the eating of dumplings, while living a very simple and stress-free lifestyle. Dominica, with a population of 70, 000 people have a recorded twenty-three persons currently living over the age of one hundred.

Roseau, October 21, 2003
Internships Granted to Twenty Cuban-Trained Dominican Doctors

Prime Minister Pierre Charles have revealed that ten recent Dominican graduates from medical schools in Cuba will do their 18-month internship at the Ross Medical School in Portsmouth while ten others will go on to a hospital in Trinidad.

The large number of medical school graduates has created a problem for the financially strapped Dominica government. The Prime Minister recently indicated that financial constraints and logistics at the Ministry of Healt made it difficult to employ all the graduates.

The whole issue has sparked debate in Dominica with former Prime Minister Edison James accusing the Pierre Charles government of been against training for “poor people children” in Dominica. In response, the Prime Minister called the statements irresponsible and an attempt to divide the country when efforts should now be made to unite Dominica during its silver independence jubilee. The recent graduates all received scholarships under the Edison James government. made it difficult to accommodate them.

Roseau, October 21, 2003
Marketing Company Secures Anguilian Market

Bernard Wiltshire who heads the Nature Island Marketing Company have announced a breakthrough in securing markets for Dominican produce in Anguila. According to Wiltshire, ''four large supermarkets and three of the biggest hotels (in Anguila) have placed orders for weekly deliveries of farmers' produce”.

He is expecting to shortly begin the export of limes, oranges, melons, grapefruits, tangerine, bananas, lemons, mangoes, pineapples, papayas, coconuts, passion fruits, pears, pumpkins, plantains, yams, tanyas , dasheens, sweet potatoes, christophenes, celeries, egg plants, peppers, cucumbers and lettuce.

Roseau October 16, 2003
Taiwan Donates US $200, 000 to Dominica Government

Dr Daniel Liao, Charge' d'affaires of Taiwan in Dominica, presented US$200,000 to Dominica's Prime Minister Pierre Charles at a simple ceremony in Roseau. The amount represents Taipei's annual assistance to education and health in the island.

In making the presentation, Dr Liao said his government has agreed to extend the scheme to another five years after the present arrangement expires. Government intends to award US$100,000 as educational grants to secondary and tertiary students, and public sector employees and US $100 000 on making improvement in services at the Princess Margaret Hospital.

At the most recent General Assembly of the United Nations, Prime Minister Pierre Charles called on the world body to recognize and accept Taiwan as a member.

Roseau, October 14, 2003
Ma Pampoo Unofficially the World’s Oldest Person Dies at Age 128.

The Dominican.net has learned that Elizabeth Ma Pampoo Israel has died at the age of 128. She died quietly at her home in Portsmouth this morning October 14, 2003. The authorities in Dominica had waged a losing battle to have her recognized as the world’s oldest person.

Roseau, October 14, 2003
Prime Agricultural Land in Castle Bruce for Oil Refinery

News reports out of Dominica indicate that the government has agreed to provide prime agricultural land in the village of Castle Bruce to be used for the building of an oil refinery. Global Resources Corporation of the United States has made an offer to government of a multi-million dollar oil refinery project.

While the government has neither confirmed nor denied the news reports, the Ministry of Agriculture Lands and Fisheries has halted work on an EC$15 million irrigation project for the same farms. The Banana Trust, the agency undertaking the project with financial backing from the European Union has been told to find an alternative site.

Roseau, October 14, 2003
Government to Appeal Court Ruling on Reinstatement of Police Officers

Prime Minister of Dominica, Pierre Charles announced that his government would appeal the ruling of a high court judge to reinstate three police officers who were dismissed following a Commission’s ruling on alleged police misconduct in 1999.

The Prime Minister observed that since this was a constitutional matter he would prefer if a panel of judges adjudicated the matter. The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal is made up of a panel of three judges and is the de factor court of appeal for the court system in Dominica. The Court now performs a role formerly undertaken by the Privy Council of the United Kingdom.

The three police officers were last week denied access to police headquarters (See earlier story) after Police Commissioner Mathias Lestrade indicated that he had not seen the written judgment. It is now expected that the police officers will not be reinstated until the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal have reviewed the case. No date has yet been set for the hearing.

Roseau, October 14, 2003
Government Press Secretary Not Happy with Proposed Job Swap

News Editor of the Dominica Broadcasting Corporation (DBS), Curtis Matthew confirmed that he has held discussions with government officials with a view to becoming government’s press secretary, while Sean Douglas, who currently holds that position, becomes DBS news editor.

Mr. Douglas however responded angrily to the news reports declaring that this would be a “step backward” for him, and stating that he had no intention of relinquishing his current position.

Prime Minister Charles has been repeatedly pressured to release Mr. Douglas for making statements contrary to government’s interests. In one highly publicized event, he was caught on tape boasting of his many travels and making less than flattering statements about members of government.

October 10, 2003
Reinstated Lawmen Denied Posting at Police Headquarters

Two of three policemen who won a recent court battle to be reinstated after been dismissed in 1999, reported for work on October 9, 2003. Corporals Philbert Bertrand and Edward Etinoffe were however told by Police Commissioner Mathias Lestrade that they did not have the proper documents to resume duty. The third police officer Mervin Williams did not report for duty.

Just two days before, in a stunning development at the High Courts in Roseau, judge Rita Joseph Olivette stated that the President of Dominica's decision to retire the men were ''unconstitutional'' and ''null and void'', and ordered the immediate reinstatement of the three lawmen.

Following an inquiry into the actions of the officers of the Police Department by a 1998 Commission set up by the then UWP government of Prime Minister Edison James, the three were retired by the President of Dominica in ''the public interest''.

The Commission was set up after allegations of gross police misconduct were made by a high ranking member of the force, then Superintentent of Police Gildon Richards. Richards was himself dismissed based on the findings of the Commission, and a major reshuffling of the police high command was undertaken.including the firing of Police Commissioner Desmond Blanchard.

Roseau, October 08, 2003
Cable and Wireless Manager Named Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Ian Blanchard, General Manager of Cable and Wireless Dominica limited has been named Chief Executive Officer for Cable and Wireless with responsibility for Dominica, Guadeloupe and Martinique. In his new post, Mr. Blanchard will oversee Cable and Wireless operations in the three Caribbean Islands.

Two years ago, Mr. Blanchard became the first Dominican to hold the post as General Manager of the Dominica branch. Before becoming manager, the thirty-seven year old Dominican worked as an engineer with the Dominica office and later held top managerial positions in Cable and Wireless offices in Yemen and Barbados. Mr. Blanchard is the son of former long-serving Police Chief Desmond Blanchard.

Roseau, October 08, 2003
Creole In The Park Gets Financial Boost

Cable and Wireless have donated EC$ 100 000 (US$37 000) towards the staging of Dominica's newest festival, Creole in the Park. The day-long festival scheduled for October 10 will feature a food fest and craft exhibition. Cultural groups as well as electric bands will add to the festive atmosphere throughout the day.

The food fest will display the very best in local foods and dishes, and will give locals and visitors a chance to sample and taste Dominica’s rich Creole cuisine. The activity forms part of Dominica’s 25th Independence anniversary.

Roseau, October 7, 2003
Top Government Official Calls for Professionals to Lead Dominica

In a prepared speech to a conference on Small Islands Developing States' held in Roseau recently, Director of Planning in the Ministry of Finance, Swinburne Lestrade, called on local politicians to hand over the business of running the government, to a core group of technocrats, for the next five years.

Mr. Lestrade observed that he believed the technocrats would succeed in turning Dominica’s economy around. Opposition Leader Edison James was quick to respond by saying that Lestrade’s comments was a diplomatic way of calling the ruling administration incompetent, and saying that his bosses were a failure.

As Director of Planning, Lestrade over the past two years, have been in charge of overseeing implementation of a tough IMF-backed economic package for Dominica. He also served as Dominica’s ambassador to the United States and is a former Director General of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean Sates (OECS).

Roseau, October 7, 2003
Dominican Applications for US Visas up Fifty-two Percent

With Dominica in the throes of an economic recovery program, several nationals have been attempting to obtain visas to visit the United States. According to Robert Fretz, Consul General of the US Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados there was a fifty-two percent increase in visa applications from Dominica in 2002 compared to 2001.

Mr. Fretz noted that in view of Dominica’s current economic problems a higher proportion of visa applications are being rejected, although he did not indicate what percentage of the 3 030 (approximately 4 percent of Dominica’s population) applications in 2002 were in fact rejected. He also observed that at the same time that applications from Dominica were increasing, applications from other Eastern Caribbean countries had declined by forty percent over the same period.

Trafalgar, October 02, 2003
Tourists Rescued From Raging Waters

In two separate incidents in Laudat and Trafalgar, alert local tours guides participated in the daring rescue of six tourists who were cut-off by raging flash flood waters. The tourists were part of a larger group from the Caribbean Jubilee cruise ship visiting the Island on the opening day of the cruise ship season.

In the first incident in the Trafalgar falls, a man and woman were plucked from a small island in the middle of the raging water by tour guides who were accompanying the group. In another popular tourist spot of Titou Gorge, staff of the nearby Rainforest Aerial Tram used ropes and equipment to pull four tourists to safety. They had earlier been swept up in fast moving flood waters. They all escaped with only minor injuries.

Dominican rivers are known to flood seemingly without warning as rainfall in the mountains and the interior of the island causes river waters to rise and move swiftly downward with little or no warning. Because of this phenomenon, locals are known to always face the direction of the river when bathing or using the river for other purposes.

Roseau, October 02, 2003
Cruise Ship Season Opens

The Dominica cruise ship season opened yesterday with the berthing of the Caribbean Jubilie cruise ship carrying 1400 hundred passengers and over 500 crew members. The visitors were welcomed into Dominica in a ceremony held at the cruise ship berth in Roseau by Prime Minister Pierre Charles, Tourism Minister Charles Savarin and other government officials.

Savarin expressed the hope that this season would be the best ever for Dominica, while the Prime Minister was keen to welcome the Jubilee during Dominica’s own jubilee celebrations. The Caribbean Jubilee is expected to berth once weekly at the cruise ship berth in Roseau, Dominica’s capital city.


Read more of the EARLIER NEWS IN Brief


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Volume No. 1 Issue No. 48
Disturbing Shadows
History of Hurricanes in Dominica
Classism and Racism Appears Rampant
Must Attend Dominica Picnic
Dr Tavernier: Leader in Agricultural Policy




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