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Volume No. 1 Issue No. 97 - April 5, 2007
The News in Brief from The News Desk

Roseau, Dominica � March 29, 2007
Prime Minister Skerrit Meets New Russian Ambassador

Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit has met new Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Commonwealth of Dominica, His Excellency, Victor Zotin. Mr Zotin replaced H.E Igor Lebedev.

The meeting took place at the Office of the Prime Minister at the Financial Centre in Roseau. Earlier in the day, Mr. Zotin presented his credentials to the President of Dominica, His Excellency, Dr. Nicholas Liverpool at the President�s Office in Morne Bruce.

The new Ambassador also held discussions with Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Labour, Hon. Charles Savarin.

His Excellency Victor Gavrilovich Zotin graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1974. He served at the Embassies of the USSR in Somalia (1974-1977), in Egypt (1981-1982) and Uganda (1986-1991).

Roseau � March 27, 2007
Dominica Observes the 200th Anniversary of the Slave Trade

A ceremony commemorating the 200 year anniversary of the end of the slave trade was held at the Barracoon Building in Roseau on Sunday.

President of Dominica, His Excellency, Dr. Nicholas Liverpool and Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit were both present at the event.

A Minute of Silence was observed in memory of the slaves who died during the �Middle Passage� and those who died on the plantations.

The ceremony on Sunday also featured an art exhibition and a staged Tableaux Vivants� which showed slaves arriving in Dominica and also their entrance into the Barracoon Building.

Musical Renditions came from the Genesis Steel Orchestra, a solo performance by Claudia Henderson and choral presentations by the River Song Choir.

Other activities planned to commemorate the 200th anniversary are a lecture by Dominican-Born Hubert Charles on March 29th at the UWI School of Continuing Studies, a play entitled �Oroonoko� directed by Mr. Alwyn Bully, a series of radio and television interviews and a Secondary Schools� Essay Competition. The topic of the essay competition is: The Impact of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade on the British West Indies.

Roseau � March 22, 2007
Japanese Delegation in Dominica Ahead of IWC Meeting

A Japanese delegation is currently in Dominica to hold discussions with the Roosevelt Skeritt government. Reports out of Roseau indicate that the discussions will focus on Dominica�s pending vote at the International Whaling Conference (IWC) scheduled for May of this year.

In the past, Dominica has consistently voted with Japan to continue the hunting of whales; a practice largely frowned upon by a number of countries. The international community has widely criticized Japan for securing Dominica�s vote in exchange for monetary and project support. A charge they have denied.

Recent press reports have indicated that the Skeritt government intended to abstain at the May vote of the IWC. For his part, the Prime Minister has indicated that the decision has not been taken and that it is under consideration by his Cabinet.

No details were given of the reason for delegation�s visit.

Castries, St Lucia � March 22, 2007
China Complains to St. Lucia government on Taiwanese visit

The Chinese embassy is reported to be unhappy with the St. Lucian government�s decision to welcome a high level Taiwanese delegation to that country. And that despite a letter of assurance written by the country�s foreign minister to the Chinese reaffirming his government�s One China Policy.

During the previous reign of the John Compton government, his country had diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but this was reversed by the Kenny Anthony government.

No official reason was given for the visit, but local press reports indicated that the Taiwanese may be offering a University to that country. John Compton has since said that as an independent country his government was free to talk to whoever it pleases.

When St. Lucia switched to China, it was rewarded with a stadium by the Chinese government.

Roseau � March 21, 2007
Radiothon in Support of the Education Trust Fund on Saturday

The Ministry of Education urges the general public to support its fund raising drive. Saturday, March 24th 2007 is the second annual Radio-thon for the Education Trust Fund. This event will be broadcast live on all radio stations and pledges will be taken live at the coordinating centre at DBS Radio. However, persons may call their favourite radio stations directly to pledge monies privately.

Staff of the Ministry will run the event in collaboration with staff from the participating radio stations. A special team of education officials, directors of the Trust Fund, Beneficiaries, and outstanding personalities in the community will be live to give flavour and authenticity to this special appeal for funds to support education in Dominica.

The Education Trust Fund was established by an act of Parliament No. 17 of 1981 to assist students deemed unable to complete secondary schooling because of serious financial difficulties. Last year 740 families applied for assistance and 554 got help with textbooks, transportation and external examination fees.

Although Government provides an annual subvention for needy students, the fund seeks to raise money to meet the growing demands for assistance. The radio-thon simulcast on Saturday is a major part of that effort. The general public, past beneficiaries, parents; well-wishers and supporters of education are asked to contribute to the fund. All contributions - Large or small count and are tax-deductible.

Tune in to your favorite station to participate

London � March 21, 2007
Dominican Awarded our London our Future annual award

Former Chief Inspector of Scotland Yard David Michael was awarded the inaugural, �Our London, Our Future� annual award at an event in Canary Wharf, London, on Monday by the Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. Len Duvall present Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority and immediate past Chair, Lord Toby Harris were also in attendance.

The award was to mark his work in the London community over many years including 30 years as a London police officer, and his role as a founder and past Chair of the first Black Police Association in the United Kingdom. His community work in the fields of race relations, diversity and equalities, the promotion of racial harmony and good citizenship was also acknowledged.

ROSEAU, Dominica (AP) � March 20, 2007
Dominica urged to reject Venezuela refinery

Dominica's main opposition party is urging the government to reject Venezuela's offer to build an oil refinery, saying it will damage the Caribbean nation's image as a nature island.

United Workers Party leader Edison James said the government should instead seek to take control from Venezuela over the tiny, nearby Isla de Aves, or Bird Island, to help lure ecotourists.

"Bird Island would bring greater economic benefit to Dominica. ... Instead of an oil refinery," James said Saturday, adding it would boost "the island's nature tourism image through scuba diving and whale-watching activities."

Venezuela has maintained ownership of the uninhabited, treeless island since 1865 and has a small outpost on it shared by naval troops and scientists. The island is about 350 miles (565 kilometers) north of Venezuela but closer to Dominica.

Dominica Foreign Minister Charles Savarin declined to comment Sunday on the opposition proposal. The island's premier, Roosevelt Skerrit, has recognized Venezuela's claim to Bird Island, as have the United States, France and the Dominican Republic.

The Barbados-based Caribbean Conservation Association has also urged Dominica to reject the refinery, being built as part of Venezuela's Petrocaribe deal -- under which 14 Caribbean nations benefit from preferential terms to buy oil from the South American country.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts � March 17, 2007
Six Sixes in One Over Earns US $ 1 Million for Charity

South African Herschelle Gibbs' feat of six sixes in one over has earned US$1 million for charity.

Johnny Walker, the official whisky of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007, will donate the money to the charity, Habitat for Humanity.

Gibbs, the 33-year-old South African batsman, smashed The Netherlands' leg-spinner Daan Van Bunge for six sixes in the 30th over of the of South African innings in their Cricket World Cup, Group A match at Warner Park Friday.

Gibbs hammered 72 off 40 balls, hitting seven sixes and four fours in South Africa's total of 353 for three, as they breezed to a comfortable 221-run victory.

A statement from the company said the money would be used "to enrich the Caribbean community".

"Johnny Walker is absolutely delighted by the inspiration and pioneering feat that was realized by Hershelle Gibbs," it said.

"(We) couldn't be more thrilled with donating US$1 million to Habitat for Humanity in our efforts to enrich the Caribbean community.

"We offer our sincere congratulations to Herschelle Gibbs for this amazing accomplishment."

Sir Vivian Richards, the former West Indies captain and master batsman, is Johnny Walker's spokesman for the World Cup, under the sponsor's theme: "Know Your Boundaries".

Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry founded in the United States over 30 years ago. It has built more than 200 000 houses in nearly 100 countries.

Click here for live World Cup commentary

Roseau � March 15, 2007
Leader of the UWP Demands a Referendum Before the Building of an Oil Refinery

Leader of the United Workers Party Earl Williams is calling for a referendum on the oil refinery. Williams told that the local press that before government moved ahead with plans for the refinery they should allow the people to decide either through a general election or by way of referendum.

Williams was quoted as saying that the very future of Dominica was at stake given the potential for environmental disaster with the building of an oil refinery. �Since so much is at stake, I insist that government allow the people to decide� said Williams.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez recently offered to build a US $80 million oil refinery, which was subsequently accepted by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt.

Jamaica � March 13, 2007
West Indies Win First Game of ICC 2007 World Cup

West Indies won the first game of the ICC 2007 World Cup when they defeated Pakistan by 54 runs in Jamaica.

Batting first, the Windies scored 241 for 9 off their 50 overs with 62 runs to Marlon Samuels, and in response, the Pakistanis could only muster 189 from their allotted 50 overs.

The West Indian public is breathing a sigh of relief with this emphatic victory especially after the Windies poor showing in the last warm up game against India.

For complete scores go to Live World Cup Cricket

Roseau � March 12, 2007
Police Reports First Incidence of Drive By Shooting in Dominica

Police in Dominica are reporting the first incidence of a drive by shooting in the capital city Roseau. Twenty-one year old Wendell Magloire of Fond Cole was shot while standing at a street corner in Goodwill.

A police spokesman said that an assailant riding at the back of a motor cycle opened fire on Magloire before speeding away. Magloire was hit in the groin area and is recovering at the Princess Margaret Hospital. >br>
Roseau � March 12, 2007
First Game of ICC 2007 World Cup Set for Jamaica on Tuesday

The 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup gets underway on Tuesday with the West Indies facing off against Pakistan in Jamaica. This is the first time the tournament is taking place in the West Indies and involves the largest grouping of countries to compete in a cricket world cup.

Bangladesh, Bermuda, Canada, West Indies, Scotland, Ireland, Netherlands, England, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand will compete in four separate groups from March 13 to April 28, with the finals held in Barbados.

West Indies last won the world cup in 1979 under the captaincy of Clive Lloyd having won in 1975.

For ball by ball commentary go to

Roseau � March 9, 2007
Public Service Union Categorically Rejects Government�s Wage Increase Offer

President of the Public Service Union (PSU) Thomas Letang has informed the government that his union is categorically rejecting their final wage offer in the ongoing wage negotiations.

The PSU, which represents most of Dominica�s 4 000 public servants rejected outright government�s offer of 3 percent in 2007 and 1 percent and 2 percent in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

For their part, the PSU is asking government for 5 percent, 4 percent and 3 percent for 2007, 2008 and 2009. Thomas was quoted as saying that �we cannot and will not accept government�s offer.� He went on to say that government�s offer makes no sense and that it does not help the public servants to deal with their many problems.

It was not clear what action the PSU would take next. In 2003, the PSU accepted a 5 percent pay cut, which was removed in 2005.

Roseau � March 9, 2007
Police Burn More than EC $ 2.4 million in Drugs

The Dominica police on Friday burnt more than EC $ 2.4 million worth of drugs at their training headquarters in Morne Bruce. The drugs were seized during several police raids from 2004 -06.

Among the items destroyed were 5 931 trees of marijuana, 16 kilograms of cocaine, and 85 kilograms of cured marijuana. Police last burnt a similar amount of drugs in December 2005.

Roseau � March 9, 2007
Two Men Charged with Killing a Siserrou Parrot

Two men appeared before a local magistrate today charged with the killing of a Siserrou parrot. The two were accused of killing the nationally protected bird in the forests of Syndicate earlier in the week.

In their defense the men told the judge that they were sitting under the tree having lunch when the bird simply fell from the tree.

Bail was set for one of the men, a German national at $5 000. The other, a Dominican national was given a $2 500 bail. Both are scheduled to reappear in court next week. The Jaco and Sisserou parrots are protected under the endangered species law of Dominica.

Roseau � March 9, 2007
Motor cyclist Dies in Road Accident

Thirty-one year old Dominique Zamore of Canefield died after his motor cycle collided with the back of a pick up truck. The accident took place on the Stock Farm road at about 8:45 pm last night. This is the third recorded road fatality in Dominica for 2007 following an accident in February which left two men from St. Joseph dead.

Roseau � March 8, 2007
Subway Opens Restaurant in Roseau

The American franchise Subway has opened a restaurant in Roseau. Subway specializes mainly in the selling of non fat sandwiches. Subway has been operating in Dominica since October 2006 with the opening of an outlet in Portsmouth.

Subway joins Kentucky Fried Chicken as the other American food franchise operating in Dominica.

Salisbury � March 8, 2007
Salisbury Youth Environment Committee Host 2nd Year Anniversary Celebration

Salisbury Youth Environment Committee (S.Y.E.Co) will be hosting their second Anniversary Ceremony on Wednesday 14th March from 7:15pm at the Salisbury Government School. S.Y.E.Co invites people from near and far to attend our fun and educational event.

On the night there will be prize giving ceremonies for a Poster Competition and the Tidy Yard Competition, invited guest speakers, a short movie and an opportunity for local youth to join the group and expand our program of enjoyable and environmentally responsible projects.

The mission statement of S.Y.E.C.O is �To encourage awareness and youth participation in protecting the local environment for ourselves and future generations.� For further information please contact the group President Brenton Vidal on 316 1957.

Roseau � March 8, 2007
Dominica Voted Best for Natural Beauty by Washington Post Readers

Readers responding to a Washington Post request voted Dominica, St. Lucia and St. Eustacius as the �Best for Natural Beauty in the Caribbean.�

Readers on daily blogs and chat rooms were asked to give their opinions on the Caribbean islands. Other categories voted on were �most popular� � St. John; �easiest� � Puerto Rico; and �best all around� went to Aruba and Barbados.

Roseau � March 8, 2007
Leonard Newton Ordered to Pay $2 000 to MP Lorraine Bannis

The United Workers Party Candidate in the Castle Bruce constituency Leonard Newton has been ordered to pay $2 000 to junior minister Lorraine Bannis after failing to make a court appearance.

Newton, who lost to Bannis in the last general elections by one vote, had previously challenged the election results in court. His law suit was subsequently rejected and he was ordered by a judge to pay Bannis legal fees.

When Newton failed to pay the fees by the set time, he was summoned to court, but failed to appear.

Roseau � March 8, 2007
No Profits Realized for the 2006 World Creole Music Festival

Executive Director of the Dominica Festivals Commission Val Cuffy has revealed that his organization failed to make any profits over the staging of the World Creole music Festival held in October.

Cuffy said that the festival commission however succeeded in meeting all of the expenses related to the event. He blamed the newly imposed value added tax (VAT) as the reason for not realizing a profit.

Roseau � March 8, 2007
Dominica is mourning the passing of Leopold �Money god� Emanuel and L.G. Roberts

Emanuel, a prominent local businessman and land owner died in Martinique after a short illness, and L.G. Roberts died suddenly while accompanying his wife to Jamaica.

Roseau � March 2, 2007
Next CBS Survivor Series to be Filmed in Dominica

Dominica may be the venue for the next filming of the hugely popular CBS series �Survivor�. Unconfirmed reports say that Dominica has been handpicked as one of the islands for the show, which should air in late April.

CBS has neither denied or confirmed the reports, but is reliably informed that such filming will shortly begin on the island.

Just last year, Dominica generated tremendous publicity following the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean � Dead Man�s Chest in this the most idylic of Caribbean destinations.

Roseau � March 2, 2007
Umpire Billy Doctrove to Stand in Cricket World Cup

Billy Doctrove will be one of the sixteen umpires in the Cricket World Cup carded to get underway on March 13. Doctrove becomes the first Dominican to ever officiate in a cricket world cup. On completion of the world cup he will also have the distinction of been the first person from Dominica to officiate in both cricket and football world cups.

LONDON, England (AP) � March 2, 2007
Total Lunar Eclipse Saturday Night

The moon will turn shades of amber and crimson Saturday night as it passes behind the Earth's shadow in the first total lunar eclipse in three years.

The eclipse will be at least partly visible from Asia to the Americas, although those in Europe, Africa and the Middle East will have the best view.

Lunar eclipses occur when Earth passes between the sun and the moon, blocking the sun's light. The event is rare because the moon spends most of its time either above or below the plane of Earth's orbit.

Although it will pass completely under Earth's shadow, light from the sun will still reach the moon after being refracted through Earth's atmosphere, giving the moon an eerie dark reddish tinge.

"It's not an event that has any scientific value, but it's something everybody can enjoy," said Robert Massey of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Earth's shadow will begin moving across the moon at 3:18 p.m. ET Saturday, with the total eclipse occurring at 5:44 p.m. ET and lasting more than an hour.

Observers in eastern North America and South America will find the moon already partially or totally eclipsed by the time it rises over the horizon Saturday evening.

Alaska, eastern Australia and New Zealand will miss the show altogether.

The next total lunar eclipse will occur August 28.

Roseau � March 1, 2007
Public Service Union to take Government all the way to the Privy Council

General Secretary of the Public Service Union Thomas Letang has said that his organization would appeal a ruling made against his union by the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal (ECCA), to the Privy Council in London.

Last year, the ECCA ruled that government could not be held liable for cutting salaries of public workers by 5 percent in 2003. The case was brought against government by the union, which sought to have the courts reinstate the 5 percent salary cut.

In 2003, the government imposed a 5 percent levy on public servants salaries as part of an IMF-backed austerity package. The levy was finally removed in July 2005. The Public Service Union represents all salaried government workers with the exception of teachers who have a separate union.

Letang said that his lawyers were in the process of sending an official notification to the Privy Council. It is not clear when the case will be heard.

The Privy Council in London acts as the highest court of appeal for cases in the Dominica judicial system.

Roseau � March 1, 2007
Number of Aids Cases Appear to be on the Decline in Dominica

Health officials in Dominica are estimating that at least 150 persons are living with the HIV/AIDS virus on the island. Nurse Judy Frampton, coordinator of Dominica�s HIV/AIDS prevention program said that it was important that persons remained vigilant since there was no way of knowing with absolute certainty the total number of persons infected.

Frampton observed that persons are still reluctant to get tested because of the stigma attached to having the virus in Dominica�s society. While noting that there has been a reduction in the reported numbers, Frampton said that it was difficult to determine whether it was a permanent downward trend.

In December 2004, then health minister Hubert Sabroache put the number of those infected at 377 and said that the actual number �could well be over 1200.�

Read more of the EARLIER NEWS IN Brief

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