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Volume No. 1 Issue No. 79 - Monday March 27, 2006
The News in Brief from The News Desk

Roseau – February 25, 2006
De Dice is crowned 2006 calypso monarch

De Dice is the 2006 carnival monarch, having successfully defended his crown from a very strong field of nine other calypsonians.

Indeed, many calypso observers view this year’s competition as one of the most competitive in living memory.

De Dice became the only calypsonian in the history of calypso competition to win the coveted crown for three straight years with two masterful performances. Even before he started his second rendition of “ I eh afraid of them” the fifteen thousand strong crowd gathered at Spider City were in a delirious state of celebration.

With the crowd singing in unison, De Dice rose majestically to the occasion with a bold rendition of a song which took the Dominican public by storm.

Coming in a close second was Tarina, a female competitor, followed by Hunter and Caressa. The stage is now set for two days of street jump up on Monday and Tuesday.

Roseau – February 25, 2006
Nakita Bruno is Miss Dominica 2006

Nakita won from a field of nine young ladies who competed for the title based on appearances with costumes, and evening and swim wear. The contestants also answered a series of questions posed by an interviewer, and participated in a talent presentation.

Nigel George came in as first runner up with Tricia Scotland and Marsha Malone coming third and fourth respectively. Kendra Stevens won the award for best evening wear, Miguel George best costume and best in costume, Nikita Bruno best interview and best in evening wear, Janel Fabien best performing arts, Samantha Matthew best in swimwear, miss amity Yola Toussaint, and miss photogenic Marsha Malone.

Thousands of Dominicans and visitors flocked to “Spider City” on Friday night to witness what is clearly one of the biggest events surrounding the country’s carnival celebrations.

Tricia walked away with a new car and is expected to represent Dominica at several regional beauty pageants.

The stage in now set for the calypso king competition on Sunday and two days of street jump up on Monday and Tuesday.

Carnival organizers expect a massive influx of visitors from the neighboring French islands and St. Lucia. Competition is severe as the celebrations coincide with the better known Trinidad carnival.

Marigot – February 17, 2006
Scores of Haitians Barred From Entering Dominica

Immigration authorities in Dominica have barred several Haitians from entering the country.

On two occasions during the week, immigration authorities boarded LIAT flights at the Melville Hall airport, demanded that Haitians on board identify themselves, and immediately had them returned on outbound flights to Antigua.

Meanwhile, General Manager of LIAT, Gerald Cools Latigue, is calling for a clear government policy on Haitian visitors to Dominica. Latigue told local reporters that the action of the immigration officers was a huge embarrassment for his company. He went on to say that the Haitians were not cattle and that they deserved to be treated more humanely.

Latigue has since informed his staff to refuse selling tickets to Haitians until the matter can be resolved.

Government recently announced that it would impose visa restrictions on Haitians in a bid to thwart a burgeoning trade in human trafficking. Thousands of Haitians have come into Dominica in the recent past before boarding vessels to the neighboring islands.

In 2005, authorities in St. Marteen made several arrests after intercepting two boatloads of Haitians coming from Dominica. Two weeks ago, at least 10 Haitians reportedly drowned in waters outside of Martinique after the boat in which they were traveling from Dominica sank.

Also in 2005, police raided a local hotel establishment where several Haitians were residing. In the past, Government had tried to impose restrictions on Haitians coming into Dominica by imposing a US$500 deposit on arrival. This however appeared to have had very little impact on staunching the flow of Haitians into the country.

The recent deportations come at a time when Dominicans have taken to the airwaves to blame the Haitians for importing tuberculosis into the island and for putting added pressure on the country’s health system.

Bridgetown – February 15, 2006
Speculation swirls around possible relocation of LIAT Headquarters to Barbados

Observers in the Caribbean Travel industry were today suggesting that the Headquarters of LIAT may be moved from Antigua to Barbados.

Speculation on the possible move arose after the Barbados government announced that it was injecting US $ 5 million into the struggling airline.

LIAT (Leeward Island Air Transport) is jointly owned by the governments of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and has been headquartered in Antigua since its inception.

Roseau – February 15, 2006
Young man sentenced to 3 years in prison for theft and battery on visiting tourist

Mitch Fontaine of Roseau was sentenced to three years in prison for assaulting a German tourist in the process of stealing her bag containing approximately EC$700.

Police reports indicate that Mitch traveled to Marigot on Monday where he snatched the bag from the unsuspecting tourist, who sustained injury to her arm while trying to ward off the attacker.

On Wednesday, police acting on tips from the villagers of Marigot arrested Mitch in Calibishie on Wednesday morning. I the afternoon, he was brought before Magistrate Gloria Augustus who imposed the 3 year jail sentence.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt recently announced that his government would adopt a zero tolerance policy against offenders who attacked or otherwise harassed tourist to Dominica. He also pledged to pass legislation to significantly increase the penalty for such acts.

Roseau – February 15, 2006
Elizabeth “Ma Pampo” Israel receives Woman of Great Esteem Award

Bishop Gonzales of Q Kingdom Ministries made the presentation of the Woman of Great Esteem Award to Mayor of Roseau Cecil Joseph. The award was presented posthumously to Elizabeth Pampo Israel who died at the presumed age of 128 in 2003.

According to Bishop Gonzales, the award, which is made to over 100 women in 35 countries around the world, was presented to Ma Pampo in recognition of her longevity.

Ma Pampo died in 2003 before her age could be officially confirmed. At the age of 128 she would hold the world record for the oldest living person ever in the modern era.

Marigot – February 9, 2006
Texas millionaire donates US$100, 000 for development of cricket in Dominica

Allan Sanford, owner of Caribbean Star Airlines and who currently resides in Antigua, has made a donation of US$100 000 to the Dominica Cricket Association (DCA) for the development of cricket on Dominica.

The check was presented to President of the DCA Emanuel Nanton at a ceremony held at the Melville Hall Airport. The presentation to the DCA forms part of the US$20 million that the Texas millionaire has pledged for the development of West Indies cricket.

Roseau – February 9, 2006
A leading Haitian in Dominica denies that Haitians are bringing Tuberculosis (TB) into the country

President of the Dominica-Haiti Friendship Association Roland Desiree is denying that Haitians are bringing tuberculosis into Dominica.

Health officials have reported an increase in the number of persons infected with the respiratory illness. Desiree told reporters that it was unfair of the Dominican public to blame the Haitians for the outbreak, considering that the virus has been around for several thousands of years.

Roseau – February 9, 2006
Dominican economy records second consecutive year of growth

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) is reporting that Dominica has recorded a second year of economic growth following downturns in the economy from 2000 to 2003.

According to the official release, the economy grew by 2 percent in 2005 following the 3.6 percent increase in 2004. The manufacturing, services and tourism sectors were credited with generating most of the increase.

February 7, 2006
Petroleum Prices on the Rise

Prices of imported petrol continue to rise in Dominica. Government has announced that a gallon of gasoline will be sold for EC$10.43 (US$3.86); diesel EC$ 10.03 (US$3.71); and kerosene EC$8.58 (US$3.17).

Government also announced that plans are moving ahead for Dominica to benefit from the Petro-Caribe Agreement through which Venezuela will provide highly subsidized petroleum products to Dominica. The first shipments of diesel are expected to go to the electricity company DOMLEC with a view to keeping down the price of electricity.

February 6, 2006
Rising Import levels in Dominica during 2005

The Central Statistical Office (CSO) of the government of Dominica is reporting that there were 78,621 stay over visitors in 2005, a fall of 1.8 percent over 2004. At the same time, cruise ship arrivals declined from 301, 294 in 2004 to 283, 614 in 2005.

Meanwhile, banana exports declined in 2005 to EC$18.4 million (US$6.8) from EC$19.6 million (US$7.3 million) in 2004. Overall, the level of exports increased from EC$111.7 million (US$41.3 million) to EC$112.7 million (US$41.7 million) even as imports climbed steeply from EC$392 million (US$145.0 million) to EC$446.2 million (US$165.1 million) over the same period.

Roseau - February 2, 2006
Dominica and other OECS countries to join Caribbean Single Market at end-June, 2006

Dominica and the other countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) will join the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) at end-June 2006.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt on Tuesday announced that although Dominica was CSME compliant, a decision was taken to await other countries of the OECS who still had to put legislation in place to join the grouping. All the other OECS countries are expected to be CSME compliant by that date.

Meanwhile, all the other Caribbean countries joined the CSME at the end of January, 2006. The CSME is expected to deepen economic, trading and social ties between Caribbean countries.

Loubiere - February 2, 2006
Two fishermen presumed lost at sea.

Two fishermen from Loubiere were reported missing on Tuesday after they failed to return as expected from a trip to Martinique. A sister of one of the fishermen told local police that her brother left the island on January 28 to transport a group of Haitians to the neighboring French islands. He has not been heard from since.

The French authorities later reported that someone using a cell phone called the Martinique coast guard to report that a boat with 8 persons on board was taking on water. A subsequent search by the coast guard came up empty. Police now fear that the board may have sunk without a trace.

Roseau - February 2, 2006
Government to enact stronger laws in an attempt to quell random attacks against tourists

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt has announced that his government will adopt a zero tolerance policy against persons who would seek to attack or harass tourists visiting the island.

The Prime Minister’s comments come in the wake of reports from police that some tourists have been robbed or in some cases attacked by young men.

According to Skeritt, his government would soon pass legislation to toughen the sentences for persons committing crimes against visitors to Dominica.

In January, a court sentenced two young men of Portsmouth to three years imprisonment for stealing valuables from a yacht anchored in the port of Portsmouth and for injuring the owner.

Roseau - February 1, 2006
February 1, 2006 Cuba to assist State College in Training Nurses

The Dominica State College will in March begin the training of 75 nurses with assistance from the Cuban government. Cuba will provide tutors to the college to facilitate the training.

Dominica’s nursing profession has suffered greatly from the migration of trained nurses who are generally lured away to better paying jobs in the United States. The Dominican nurses have been specifically targeted by the US authorities because of their superior training and excellent record of care giving.

The program at the State College is in response to the continuing migration and it is hoped that enough of the trainees will remain on island to meet the country’s nursing needs.

Meanwhile, President of the college Dr. Bardouille is calling on young men in particular to consider signing up for the new program.

Roseau – January 31, 2006
Prime Minister Skeritt Reports on a Successful Visit to Atlanta

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt is announcing that his trip to the BET Awards Gala in Atlanta, USA will benefit Dominica. While in Atlanta, the Prime Minister met with several leaders in the black community including the Reverend Jessie Jackson and other luminaries.

He told local reporters that there was a lot of excitement from the African American community about doing business in Dominica and that he had requested the Tourism Department to plan a follow-up visit to the United States to secure tangible benefits from his initial visit.

The Prime Minister, who was specially invited to the Gala, also said that the BET TV would over the next several weeks do several features on Dominica at no cost to the government and people of the country.

Roseau - January 30 -2006
Government to announce names of non-resident ambassadors

In what is being viewed as a major event in Dominica’s foreign relations, Prime Minister Roosvelt Skeritt announced that his government will shortly release the names of non-resident ambassadors to several countries all over the world.

The Prime Minister in commenting to the press on the pending appointments noted that his government was in the process of confirming the availability of several of those persons and that their names could be released as early as next week.

According to the Prime Minister, the appointments would be at no cost to his government since the persons selected have agreed to provide the service for free. He indicated that it was important for Dominica to name these ambassadors since it was critical in maintaining ongoing relationships with those countries.

Dominica does not currently have any resident ambassadors to any of the major capitals of the world.

Grand Bay - January 30 -2006
Infant Dies in house fire in Grand Bay

A fire to two buildings in Grand Bay has left a four month old baby dead and six other people homeless. Fire officials report that Danicia Merrifield lost her baby and house to the fire while Aaron Blaize lost his house. The fire damages was estimated at EC $140 000, and police suspect that a candle left unattended may have caused the blaze.

Roseau - January 30 -2006
Julius Timothy of the United Workers Party (UWP) may work for the labour government

Following widespread allegations that former deputy leader of the UWP may cross over to the ruling labour party, Prime minister Roosevelt Skeritt has announced that the policy of inclusion adopted by his party means that there is room for Timothy to make a contribution. He however stopped short of either confirming or denying that the MP for the Goodwill constituency was coming over to the labour party.

In December, 2005, the UWP overlooked Timothy for the leadership of the party, settling instead for Earl Williams, despite Timothy’s 17 years as deputy party leader. Following the rejection by his party, Timothy publicly announced that he was not willing to work with Williams, and asked for a special seating arrangement in the House of Assembly, which would remove him from seating with the rest of the party.

Roseau - January 30 -2006
Four Men Charged with marijuana possession each fined EC$ 43 000 by a Roseau Magistrate

A Roseau magistrate on Friday ordered four men to each pay an immediate fine of $43 000 or face 18 months in jail after been found guilty of trafficking in marijuana.

The four young men of Grand Bay were apprehended by police as they drove in a vehicle in the Canefield area, just two days before their court appearance. Police say the men had in their possession 79 000 grams of cured marijuana, with a street value of several thousands of dollars.

Roseau – January 27, 2006
The London Privy Council rules in favor of three Police officers dismissed in 1998 following a report by a Commission of Enquiry set up to investigate alleged police corruption

The Privy Council in London has upheld a ruling in favor of three police officers who were dismissed by the government bringing an end to a seven year ordeal for the former lawmen.

On October 7, 2003 High Court judge Rita Joseph Olivette ruled in the men’s favor and 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.

However, when two of the men, Corporals Philbert Bertrand and Edward Etinoffe reported for duty they were denied access to Police Headquarters by Police Commissioner Mathias Lestrade who told them that they did not have the proper documents to resume duty. The third police officer Mervin Williams did not report for duty.

Following the court’s ruling, then Prime Minister Pierre Charles announced that his government would appeal the decision to the British Privy Council.

In 1998, following an inquiry into the actions of the officers of the Police Department by a 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 Superintendent 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.

Gildon Richards who is now an attorney on the island said that he was not surprised by the court’s decision and regretted the waste of government’s resources in pursuing the matter. It was not immediately clear what was the total cost to government treasury.

Roseau – January 22, 2006
Father Jerome Moody who served the Roman Catholic Community in Dominica Dies

Dominica is mourning the death of Father Jerome Moody who died in a US hospital over the weekend following treatment for a heart ailment.

The priest who served in Dominica for 22 years was originally from St. Thomas. Prime Minister Skeritt hailed Father Moody as a true catholic and a man committed to his faith and to Dominicans.

Meanwhile, Father Cornelius Phillip of Grand Fond was on Sunday ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in Roseau. Father Phillip is the brother of former West Indies wicket keeper Wayne Phillip.

Read more of the EARLIER NEWS IN Brief

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Volume No. 1 Issue No. 79
President visits China
Economy grows 3.5 percent
Two year anniversary of Dominica- China relations
Cuba helps out
Diaspora band formed

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