|Volume No. 1 Issue No. 86 - Tuesday August 29, 2006
|The News in Brief from The Dominican.net News Desk |
Washington – August 14, 2006
BET continues showing of Dominica segment
The US based Black Entertainment Network (BET) continues to showcase Dominica on its US broadcasts. BET took substantive footage of Dominica including its majestic landscapes and the last World Creole Music Festival.
The 30 minute segment began airing in July and will continue through September. If you’ve not yet seen it, you have an opportunity to view the segment at the following times (all Eastern standard time in the US):
8/19/06--7am & 6pm
8/26/06--1:30pm & 8:30pm
9/02/06--1:30pm & 8:30pm
9/09/06--7am & 6pm
9/16/06--1:30pm & 8:30pm
9/23/06--7am & 6pm
9/30/06--1:30pm & 8:30pm
Roseau – August 09, 2006
Dominica Public to Decide on Future Relations with IMF
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt has announced that he will let the Dominican public decide on the future direction of Dominica’s relationship with the IMF. The Dominica leader told local reporters that his government would soon embark on a series of town hall and public meetings in order to s solicit the public’s views on the mater.
According to Prime minister Skeritt, the public would be asked to decide among three alternatives: (a) for Dominica to extend its formal relationship with the IMF through a Poverty Reduction and Growth facility (PRGF) Arrangement, which is slated to end in December of this year; (b) to enter into an informal relationship with the Fund but soliciting the Fund’s policy advice (c) some other arrangement that would involve a very limited involvement of the IMF in the affairs of the country.
The Prime Minister did not indicate how long the process is expected to take or when an announcement will be made concerning the outcome of the consultations.
Roseau – August 9, 1986 - This Day in History
Ex- Commander Newton Hanged for Dominica Coup Role
The former commander of this tiny Caribbean island's military force was hanged this morning at the state prison for his role in a failed attempt to overthrow the Government of Prime Minister Eugenia Charles.
It was the first execution in 13 years on Dominica, and the first since the island attained independence from Britain in 1978.
The former commander, Frederick Newton, 35 years old, received the death sentence after a court in January 1983 determined that he organized the 1981 attack on police headquarters in the capital of Roseau that resulted in the death of a constable.
Five other soldiers were convicted, but their death sentences were later commuted to life in prison.
The Government rejected the pleas of several groups, including the Dominica Christian Council and Amnesty International, to commute Mr. Newton's sentence.
Roseau – August 5, 2006
Prime Minister Skeritt Expresses Sadness on Learning of the Illness of Cuban Leader
Dominica’s Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit has expressed the sadness of the Government and people of Dominica on learning of the illness and subsequent hospitalization of Cuba’s President Dr. Fidel Castro Ruz.
In a letter sent to the Cuban Leader, via the Cuban Embassy in Dominica, Dominica’s Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit wrote:
“It is with deep sadness that we in the Commonwealth of Dominica learned of your illness and subsequent hospitalization due in part to the rigours of your hectic schedule over the past few weeks. We join the people of the Republic of Cuba and the rest of the Caribbean in wishing you a speedy recovery and the best of health as you continue to provide valuable leadership and insights to the peoples of the entire region.
“We are sure that your proactive positive spirit and energy will only serve to further the healing process.
“Your Excellency through you Cuba has given invaluable support to the Commonwealth of Dominica. Your efforts have earned you a special place in the hearts of many. We all look forward to your recovery and the resumption of your work with us as we brave the many challenges facing our region and its peoples.”
Although Dominica established diplomatic relations with Cuba only in 1996, Dominica has enjoyed warm and fruitful relations with Cuba since 1979 when the first set of Dominican students left Dominica for Cuba to pursue degrees mainly in medicine at Cuban universities.
Roseau – August 1, 2006
Dominica’s Prime Minister Appoints Three Non-Residential Ambassadors
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has announced the appointment of three additional non residential ambassadors. Dr. Damian Dublin was appointed ambassador to Costa Rica and Dr. Steven Sabin and Lloyd Pascal were appointed to Chile and Japan respectively.
The recent appointees are all graduates of Cuban universities and dedicated members of the ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP). Dr. Dublin is a local dentist and Dr. Sabin is a medical doctor while Pascal is a former agriculture minister.
No reasons were given why these countries were specifically chosen but the appointments form part of government’s efforts to appoint ambassadors to several countries around the globe including Cuba, Venezuela, Qatar and the Czech Republic. Dominica still does not have an ambassador to the United States.
Roseau – August 1, 2006
Consumers Plan Protest Against Soaring Electricity Rates
The Coalition Against High Utility Rates (CAHUR) is planning a massive protest against soaring electricity rates in Dominica. The demonstration is scheduled for Roseau and is expected to attract thousands of protestors angry over escalating electricity costs.
In the recent past, consumers have been complaining about near monthly hikes in electricity rates as DOMLEC, the monopoly provider of electricity on the island continues to pass on increases in world oil prices to consumers.
Under terms of a deal worked out in 1997 between government and DOMLEC, which also saw the abolishing of the Utilities Commission, DOMLEC passes any oil price increase to the consumer through a fuel surcharge. In light of rising world oil prices, consumers have seen upwards of a sixty percent increase in their electricity bills, the highest in the Caribbean region.
DOMLEC generates about 70 percent of its electricity using imported oil and the remainder is obtained from Dominica’s rivers. Consumers often complain that DOMLEC unfairly passes on its inefficiencies in electricity generation and are calling on government to take immediate action to stop the rise in rates.
The escalating electricity costs is viewed as a deterrent to Dominica’s fledging business environment and several hoteliers have experienced difficulties in meeting their monthly electricity costs. While DOMLEC has the sole authority to generate electricity on the island, it is illegal for individual home owners to purchase generators or alternative power sources.
CAHUR is expected to deliver a letter to Prime Minister Skeritt demanding government action against DOMLEC and will also ask the Prime Minister to remove some of the taxes on electricity consumption with a view to providing some relief to consumers.
In 2003, the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) sold DOMLEC to a private American business for EC$ 15 million. Two years later, the company reported pure profits in excess of EC$ 6 million.
London – July 14, 2006Dominica is one of world's happiest countries
LONDON, England (AFP): The Caribbean island of Dominica is one of the top five happiest countries on Earth, according to a study published this week measuring people's wellbeing and their impact on the environment.
The tiny South Pacific Ocean archipelago of Vanuatu is the happiest country and Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama complete the top five in the Happy Planet Index, compiled by the British think-tank New Economics Foundation (NEF).
The index combines life satisfaction, life expectancy and environmental footprint -- the amount of land required to sustain the population and absorb its energy consumption.
Zimbabwe came bottom of the 178 countries ranked, below second-worst performer Swaziland, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ukraine.
Roseau, Dominica – June 29, 2006
Venezuelan Government to Provide $29.4 million to Finance Housing Development in Dominica
The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has agreed to grant Dominica $29.4 million for the construction of houses in Dominica.This offer of assistance from Venezuela is as a result of a request made by Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit to Venezuelan President Mr. Hugo Chavez
The Venezuelan Government will make available $22 million as a grant, with the remaining $7 million as a loan on concessionary terms.
Speaking at a Press Conference, Wednesday, Prime Minister Skerrit explained how the monies would be spent. “It is the Government’s intention, out of this $29 million, to put into the Government Housing Loans Board, an amount of $7 million that would go towards public servants who would like to own their own homes. Hon. Skerrit further explained that the whole idea is to allow public servants, like junior clerks, young police officers and newly appointed school teachers to borrow money at an interest rate of between 4 % and 5%.
The Prime Minister also announced that the $29 million would address the many social problems associated with housing in Dominica today. A taskforce has been put in place to advise Government on how best to deal with some of those housing problems. The Private Sector in Dominica is also being invited to assist the Government in the management of this project.
The announcement of this cash injection by Venezuela to aid housing development in Dominica is expected to complement the Government’s Squatter Regularization Programme, a Programme that has seen over 120 families buy land at only $1 per square foot.
This latest initiative by Venezuela will help the Government of Dominica achieve its stated goal of constructing 500 houses by 2010.
It is expected that Dominica will receive the $29 million cheque from Venezuela when the Prime Minister meets with President Chavez at the end of August 2006.
June 23, 2006 – New York
Dominica Establishes Diplomatic Relations with Algeria
The Commonwealth of Dominica today established diplomatic relations with the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria as part of the Labour Party Government vigorous policy to expand diplomatic relations with States from the developing countries.
The Joint Communiqué on the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Commonwealth of Dominica and the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria was signed by H.E. Mr. Crispin Gregoire, Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Dominica to the United Nations, and H.E. Mr. Youcef Yousfi, Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Algeria to the United Nations.
The Joint Communiqué states, “The two Governments have agreed to develop diplomatic relations, friendship and co-operation between their two countries on the basis of principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs and mutual benefit, and peaceful co-existence”.
Over the last four years, The Commonwealth of Dominica, and other member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have actively supported Algeria’s advocacy position at the United Nations on self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.
At the signing ceremony, the two countries pledged to deepen bilateral relations, explore functional areas of cooperation, and to support each other on issues of mutual interest at the United Nations. The Algerian Permanent Representative took the opportunity to congratulate Dominica on its recent admission as a member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Algeria, a member State of the African Union located in North Africa, is one of the influential countries in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
From Dominica’s perspective, this relationship is significant because it signifies formalization of relations with another member State of the African Union. Under the broad framework for expanding diplomatic relations, Dominica plans to increase bilateral relations with additional member States of the African Union.
Roseau –June 9, 2006
Dominica Receives Asphalt from Venezuela Under PETROCARIBE Agreement
Prime minister Roosevelt Skeritt is reporting that Dominica has received a first shipment of 1.2 billion barrels of asphalt under the PETROCARIBE energy cooperation agreement signed with Venezuela earlier this year.
The asphalt will be used by the Public Works Division to surface major roads in Dominica to improve land transport, and will be supplied every three months. Deputy President of Venezuela’s State-run PDVSA, Alejandro Granado, stated that a group of technicians will travel to Dominica next week to define clauses and terms to set up a joint venture.
Under the proposal, a group from member countries of the OECS will participate at a meeting in Dominica on July 14, to examine the proposal to make Antigua and Barbuda strategic for maintaining and supplying fuel to the Caribbean.
In June 2005, 13 Caribbean nations and Venezuela signed the PETROCARIBE accord to draw up policies and strategies to attain integration through the sovereign use of natural energy resources.
Roseau – May 30, 2006
Two Men Sentenced for Theft of Agriculture Produce
Police in Dominica continue to adopt a zero tolerance policy towards predial larceny following the prison sentences handed down to two men for the theft of agriculture produce.
Harrison Joseph and Charles Fausoir were sentenced to one year and eighteen months imprisonment respectively after pleading guilty to the offenses.
Joseph confessed to stealing coconuts while Fausoir confessed to the theft of tanias and dasheen. Fausoir was also sentenced by the Roseau magistrate to hard labour for his part in the crime.
Under the laws of Dominica, predial larceny carries a minimum fine of EC$ 2,000 or six months in prison. Police spokesman Inspector Weeks said the sentences should serve as a reminder that the police consider such theft a serious offence and will continue to vigorously pursue offenders.
Predial larceny is fairly common in Dominica where farmers usually tend to agricultural land in remote areas.
Roseau – May 29, 2006
“Dominica's membership of the non-aligned movement a great honour"
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Commonwealth of Dominica to the United Nations, His Excellency, Mr Crispin Gregoire has described Dominica becoming a full member of the Non-Aligned Movement as “a great honour for Dominica”.
Ambassador Gregoire made the remarks in Malaysia at the Ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement. “Dominica has been an observer in the Non-Aligned Movement for many years and Dominica is deeply committed to multilateralism and justice of the international community.
“Even though we are a small country, we have been in the United Nations since 1978, after our independence from Great Britain. Today, we join the world community, the committee of developing nations which is a great honour for our country.”
Ambassador Gregoire is hopeful that Dominica’s membership of NAM could help the country face the challenges of globalisation and trade preferences.
“In the current globalisation trend, not belonging to a group could be detrimental to your interest.”
For many years, the late Roosevelt Douglas campaigned for Dominica to become a full member of the Non-Aligned Movement. In September, 1979, he attended the Non-Aligned Conference in Havana, Cuba. At that conference the Non-Aligned Movement pledged US$13 million to Dominica after the country had been ravaged by Hurricane David only weeks earlier.
The Non-Aligned Movement now has a membership of 116 and is committed to representing the political, economic and cultural interests of the developing world.
Roseau- Dominica, May 16, 2006
Government May Withdraw Case Against Switzerland
The government of Dominica is reported to be on the verge of withdrawing their complaint against the government of Switzerland, which was filed at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in April 2006.
Switzerland was accused of violation of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations following its withdrawal of diplomatic immunity to Dominican Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Roman Lakschin.
Mr. Lakschin was appointed by the Edison James government to serve as Ambassador but his appointment was rejected by the Swiss who claimed that he was a businessman and as such could not be an Ambassador. Mr. Lakschin sued the Swiss government after he attempted to evoke diplomatic immunity while fighting a law suit brought against him.
The government of Dominica is under increasing pressure to withdraw the case following widespread condemnation in the local press of the authorities’ efforts to defend a person that they know very little about.
READ MORE ON THE CASE BROUGHT AGAINST SWITZERLAND
May 9, 2006 – London, England,
Dominica ranks 45 out of 165 countries in the world in children’s index
For most children in the developing world, the most dangerous day of their lives is the day they are born, according to new research by Save the Children.
The State of the World’s Mothers 2006 report reveals that of more than 10 million children under the age of 5 who die each year in the developing world, about 1 in 5 - an estimated 2 million babies - die within the first 24 hours of life.
An additional 1 million babies die during days 2 through 7 and a total of 4 million babies die during the first month.
In addition to its special focus on newborns and mothers, the report includes Save the Children’s seventh annual Mothers’ Index that identifies the best—and worst—countries to be mother and child through a comprehensive look at their well-being in 125 countries. For the seventh year in a row, Scandinavian countries dominate the top tier of the rankings with Sweden taking first place. The United States and United Kingdom tie for 10th place. Niger is in last place.
Out of 167 countries, Dominica is ranked at 45 in the children’s index with a mortality rate of 13 per 1000 live births in 2004.
Save the Children stresses that simple, affordable techniques, such as immunizing women against tetanus and providing a skilled attendant at birth, could reduce these deaths by 70 percent.
May 8, 2006 – Havana, Cuba
Student Studying in Cuba Dies in Vehicular Accident
Anthony Peter, a Dominican student in Cuba was killed in a vehicular accident over the weekend. Peter, who is from the town of Portsmouth, was due to return to Dominica on Wednesday, after graduating from a Cuban university with a degree in veterinary medicine.
According to a spokesman for the family, his return to Dominica would have been the first time coming back to Dominica since he left for studies five years ago. The government of Dominica is pledging support to the family to have the body returned to Dominica for burial.
May 8, 2006 – London, England
Dominican Pierson Shillingford Elected Mayor of London Borough
Pierson Shillingford of Dominica was on Monday named ceremonial mayor of the London Borough of Newham following his victory at the recent local British elections. Shillingford has since pledged to develop a partnership between his borough and Dominica in the areas of education and culture.
Another Dominican, David Michael was narrowly defeated at Losham, another London Borough.
May 8, 2006 – Roseau, Dominica
UWP Leader Calls for Election Reform
Leader of the United Workers Party (UWP) earl Williams is calling for election reform in Dominica. According to Williams, the existing voters’ list should be scraped and persons allowed re-register to vote. This in his view would “eliminate those not living in Dominica” and thus prevent them from voting.
Williams who have seen the defection of his Deputy party leader, as well as former minister Julius Timothy from his party, also called for the presence of international election monitors at all future general elections in Dominica.
The UWP recently lost an appeal to the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal challenging the results of the May, 2005 general elections.
Roseau – May 4, 2006
Dominica Signs Agreement with British Government on Prisoner Exchange
The government of Dominica today signed an agreement with the British government, which would allow for the exchange of prisoners between the two countries. The agreement was signed by Dominica’s Attorney General Ian Douglas and Dominican Born Baroness Scotland a member of Tony Blair’s cabinet.
However, leader of the United Workers Party (UWP) Earl Williams criticized the agreement saying that it would allow the British government to by pass existing extradition legislation between the two countries.
Roseau – May 4, 2006
Former General Secretary of the DLP Says he has No Interest in Joining the UWP
Para Riviere who served as General Secretary of the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) before resigning this year and leaving the party told reporters today that he had “no interest in joining the United Workers Party (UWP).”
Riviere made the comments after UWP leader Earl Williams publicly called on him to join forces with his party. Instead, Riviere observed that he was committed to working towards the formation of a new political movement that had the competence to deal with Dominica’s problems.
The former General Secretary also had some harsh words for the ruling DLP, claiming that the “present government does not have the capacity and lacks the political direction to move Dominica forward. In fact, the government under the leadership of Roosevelt Skeritt has no idea on how to better the quality of life for Dominicans.”
Riviere also observed that he was not interested in resurrecting any “old party”, which in his view was “worn out” and “out of touch”. What was needed according to him was a new approach to governing Dominica, making full use of its abundant natural resources.
April 22 - ROSEAU, Dominica
A Tragic Week in Dominica Leaves Seven Dead
Over a period of five days, an unprecedented seven Dominicans died
following three vehicle accidents, one drowning incident and an
unknown cause of death of a fifteen year-old boy.
Kennedy Pascal of Colihaut died after the brakes of his truck malfunctioned. Two other passengers, Umar Abraham and Michelet Dupois
Were also seriously injured and hospitalized.
On Good Friday, Nikel Larocque, 25, his girlfriend Erna Minette, 21 and
Keith Delsol, 18 died in a major car accident in Massacre.
Fifteen-year old Nickroy Joseph of Newtown also died on
Good Friday, but the cause of his death is yet to be determined. An
autopsy into his death will be conducted.
On Easter Monday, Matthew Moses of Mahaut drowned while on a church
picnic with relatives and friends on the Rosalie Beach and on Tuesday,
Moses Celestine, age 19 of Marigot died in a motorcycle accident.
During 2005, three people lost their lives as a result of road accidents in Dominica.
Roseau, Dominica – April 20, 2006
New Board of Directors Appointed to the Aid Bank
The Dominica Agricultural Industrial and Development Bank of Dominica (AID Bank) now has new leadership. The appointment of the new Board of Directors took effect from March 9, 2006.
Mr. Ambrose Sylvester, who retired from the Public Service in 2004 after over thirty years and is a former Financial Secretary, has been appointed the new chairman of the Board of Directors of the institution. Mrs. Joyce Dear, a recently retired partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Barbados and daughter of the late Robert Bernard Douglas, is the new Deputy Chairman.
The other persons on the Board are Mr. Reuben Thomas, Miss Bernadette Philbert, Mr. Leon Leblanc, Mr. Elford Henry, Mr. Martin Charles, Mr. Kertist Augustus and Mr. Hubert Joseph.
The Board of Directors comprises nine members, five of whom were appointed by the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance and Planning in accordance with Section 5, Chapter 74:03 of the 1990 Revised Laws of the Commonwealth of Dominica.
Castries- St. Lucia April 13, 2006
An Attempt on the Life of Catholic Arch Bishop of St. Lucia
Catholic Arch Bishop of St. Lucia, Dominican Fr. Kelvin Felix escaped unhurt when he was attacked by a man wielding a knife.
Reports out of St. Lucia indicate that the man approached Fr. Felix from behind as he stood talking to a parishioner on the streets of Castries. The man grabbed him and attempted to slit his throat. Fortunately, the collar of his habit absorbed the initial impact and the knife fell to the ground. Arch Bishop Felix was also thrown to the ground but was unhurt. Several by standers followed the assailant and were able to point him out to Police. He is currently in Police custody.
In 2000, two young men attacked a priest and several worshippers at a Christmas church service resulting in the deaths of two people and leaving a local priest and several other worshippers severely burnt. The two men are currently on death row for their part in the attack.
Roseau- April 7, 2006
Judge Rules that Julius Corbette, former General Manager of the NBD was Wrongfully Dismissed
Judge Lewis Hunt of the Roseau High Court has ruled that former General Manager of the National Bank of Dominica (NBD), Julius Corbette was wrongfully dismissed in 2000.
Corbette was dismissed by the bank’s Board after more than three years as General Manager. He argued that his dismissal was politically motivated and had nothing to do with his performance as General Manager.
In making his ruling, Judge Hunt observed that there was no evidence to show inefficiency on the part of Corbette, but to the contrary, under his direction the bank had turned in more than EC$10 million in profits; the highest level in the bank’s history.
The court has now appointed a tribunal to determine the amount of damages that should be paid to Corbette. At the same time, the bank was ordered to immediately repay, with interest, EC $35, 000 that Corbette paid in 2000 to get the matter before the courts.
Meanwhile, legal counsel for the NBD, Anthony Asthaphan has said that the case may be appealed as early as Monday of next week to the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal. He told local reporters that a decision would be made after he had a chance to review the appeal for any possible errors of fact or of law.
Roseau- April 7, 2006
Umpire Billy Doctrove elevated to the ICC’s ten member Emirates Elite Panel of Umpires
The International Cricket Council (ICC), has named cricket umpire Billy Doctrove to its ten-member elite panel of umpires.
Doctrove, who officiated in his first international test match in 2000 has been a local cricket umpire for over 30 years. He told a press briefing today that he was dedicated this honor to the people of Dominica for their unending support and encouragement.
As part of the panel, he will be expected to officiate in some of the biggest cricket games around the world. Meanwhile, General Manager of the ICC, David Richardson, today congratulated Doctrove on his appointment to the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires.
"Billy has been a consistent performer in international cricket for a number of years and his appointment to the Emirates Elite Panel is a reward for this consistency," said Mr Richardson.
"From the intense atmosphere of ODI matches at packed Caribbean venues to the quieter surroundings of the ICC Trophy in Ireland last year, Billy has proved adept at reading the game and making accurate decisions.
"His decision-making is good and his calm approach has stood him in good stead in pressure situations. We look forward to working more closely with him to continue to develop his skills."
Read more of Umpire Doctrove
April 5, 2006 – Roseau
Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal Rules Against the UWP in Election Case
The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal has ruled against the United Workers Party (UWP) in a case concerning the conduct of the May 2005 elections.
In October 2005, a High court judge ruled that there was no basis for setting aside the results of the general election, and that the charges brought against the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) were in fact baseless.
Following the general elections in Dominica, the UWP challenged the results in five constituencies citing irregularities with respect to voter registration, the conduct of the Returning Officers, and the voting of the Diaspora in those constituencies.
In the Castle Bruce constituency for instance, the UWP lost by one vote and blamed the defeat on the large number of returning Dominicans who illegally participated in the election. Lawyers for the UWP also argued that the Presiding Officer had erred in declaring Lorraine Bannis of the DLP the winner.
The high Court Judge however ruled that the elections were in fact free and fair and that the evidence did not point to any irregularities.
The recent ruling by the Court of Appeal against the UWP upheld the lower court’s decision and is expected to put to rest the results of the hotly contested May election in which the DLP won 12 of the 21 seats contested and the UWP won 8, with an independent candidate securing the other seat.
March 31, 2006 – Roseau
Deputy Leader of the UWP Resigns
Dr. Kirwin Ferreira who unsuccessfully contested the St. Joseph constituency for the United Workers Party (UWP) has tendered his resignation to party leader Earl Williams. Dr. Ferreira was elected deputy party leader in December 2005 at the same time that Williams assumed the leadership of the party. He also resigned a senator in the House of Assembly.
The practicing gynecologist was not available for comment, but party insiders said that he was unhappy with the leadership style of Williams. The resignation of Dr. Ferreira is a bitter blow for the hopes of the party and comes just months after the resignation of former Deputy Leader Julius Timothy and former three-time Member of Parliament Julian Prevost.
Williams assumed the leadership of the party after former Prime Minister Edison James resigned and threw his support behind him. James supported Williams rather than his long-time deputy Julius Timothy who was a founding member of the party and served as deputy leader for over 17 years. In exchange for his support, James was allowed to remain as Leader of the Opposition in Dominica’s parliament.
The most recent resignation is sure to negatively impact on the party’s prospects as it attempts to position itself as a viable option to the ruling labour party of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt.
March 31, 2006 – Roseau
DOMLEC Records EC$6.2 million in net profits for 2005
The Dominica Electricity Company (DOMLEC) has made a record profit of EC$ 6.2 million (US $2.3 million) for 2005. This is an increase of EC $ 2.6 million over the 2004 figure, and came from revenues of more than EC $ 21 million.
The record profits come at a time when Dominicans are faced with the highest electricity rates in the Caribbean Region, and suffer from frequent power blackouts. DOMLEC has blamed the high rates on the escalating costs of imported petroleum, which is used for about 80 percent of electricity generation in Dominica.
In the early 1980s, the ruling Dominica Freedom Party bought the controlling interests in DOMLEC from the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), but in 1998, the United Workers Party government of Edison James sold their majority stake back to CDC. In 2004, CDC sold DOMLEC to a joint holding company with majority holding by a private American company and a minority interest by the Dominica Social Security (DSS).
Based on the terms of the agreement signed by the UWP government and DOMLEC, it is the sole power company on the island, and it is illegal for citizens to pursue alternative electricity generation. Just this week, government announced that it was making progress in its efforts to encourage competition in that vital sector.
Pointe-Mitchel – March 23, 2006
EC$1.5 million football stadium for Pointe Mitchel
President of the Dominica Football Association (DFA) Patrick John has announced that work will begin in June on a state-of-the-art EC$1.5 million football stadium in Pointe Mitchel.
The stadium will be built with funds provided by the world football governing body (FIFA) and private contributions.
Construction of the facility was delayed after a villager from Pointe Mitchel wrote to FIFA complaining that the stadium would interfere with a proposed tourism expansion project. After a visit to Dominica by FIFA officials, it was decided to proceed with the construction of the stadium.
John expressed confidence that use of the stadium will contribute tremendously to the development of football in Dominica.
Roseau- March 23, 2006
More arrests expected in illegal passport sale
Police are reporting that they expect to make more arrests in the illegal sale of passports. The revelations were made in court today where bail was denied to former police officer Edgar Beridge and a Haitian immigrant.
The two were denied bail and remanded at the Stoockfarm prison after the state successfully argued that they would interfere with prosecution witnesses if released. The two men were arrested earlier this week along with Reginald Jean Jacques after police accused them of acquiring several passports, which they intended to sell to foreign nationals.
Police also revealed that several of the passports are still missing and that their investigations were continuing.
Roseau- March 23, 2006
Former deputy leader of the UWP unsure of next move
Julius Timothy who served as Deputy Leader of the United Workers Party (UWP) have announced that he has not yet decided if he would continue as a member of the party.
Timothy is reported to be angry at been overlooked as party leader following the resignation of Edison James. In December 2005, James sided with Earl Williams who was elected by the UWP as their new leader.
Reports circulating in the local press have suggested that Timothy may join forces with the ruling labour party, or he may opt for a position in the revamped Dominica Freedom Party.
According to Timothy, he was currently on a holiday from politics but would announce his decision within the next few weeks.
Roseau – March 21, 2006
French authorities lift visa restrictions on travel to French Caribbean islands
The French foreign minister has signed an agreement with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt to lift visa restrictions on Dominicans traveling to Guadeloupe.
For more than twenty years, Dominicans wishing to travel to the neighboring islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe were required to obtain visas. The visa restrictions were imposed by the French authorities in an effort to control the migration of thousands of Dominicans to the neighboring French islands in the seventies and eighties.
In lifting the restrictions, the French foreign minister observed that given Dominica’s proximity to both Guadeloupe and Martinique, he hoped that this would be an opportunity for Dominica to be better integrated with its French neighbors.
Roseau – March 21, 2006
Reginald Jean Jacques remanded in custody for passport scheme
Reginald Jean Jacques of Bath Estate was remanded in custody by a local magistrate as his case got underway in a Roseau court.
Jean Jacques is accused of plotting with Haitian nationals and President of the Dominica Table Tennis Association Edgar Beridge to illegally obtain Dominican passports for sale.
The police reported that several passports were still unaccounted for and their investigations were continuing in the scheme to illegally acquire the passports.
Read more of the EARLIER NEWS IN Brief