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Country Reports

Dominica Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

The ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) and its leader Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit secured an unprecedented fifth consecutive term in the December 2019 general election, increasing its share of parliamentary seats to 18, three more than in the 2014 election, with the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) controlling the remaining three seats. In January 2020, the UWP filed petitions in court to challenge the results in 10 constituencies. However, these are unlikely to succeed as the UWP has disputed election results in the past with little success. As part of the measures to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the country, the government on 1 April declared a state of emergency that has been extended until 30 June, including night-time curfews and a total lockdown on weekends and holidays. In April 2020, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a USD14-million loan to help the Dominican government mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a plan to provide income support, while the World Bank has provided USD6.6-million funding. Protests risks will remain high in the second half of 2020 in response to high job insecurity as a result of the expected negative economic impact of the virus outbreak. Prior to the December 2019 election, hundreds of protesters demanding electoral reform recommended by an OAS mission spent several days erecting road blocks, including along the access road to Douglas-Charles airport. Hurricane Maria caused around USD1.3 billion in damage (150% of annual GDP) in 2017. Ongoing hurricane-related costs have continued to pressure government finances, with public debt standing at 83% of GDP in 2019. Dominica’s economy remains largely dependent on the tourism sector, a sector which is being negatively affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
Last update: June 17, 2020

Operational Outlook

In September 2017, Hurricane Maria destroyed 90% of Dominica's buildings. Electricity and water have since been restored to most of the country; most roads have reopened, and Dominica's two airports and ferry services have resumed operations. The island remains vulnerable to natural disasters, with housing one of the least resilient sectors. According to the World Bank, Dominica ranked 111th (out of 190 economies) for ease of doing business in 2020. Dominica has the cheapest citizenship-by-investment programme in the world, last amended in October 2017 to increase competitiveness. In October 2018, the OECD listed this programme as high-risk for its potential to encourage tax evasion.

Last update: June 19, 2020

Terrorism

Moderate

There are no known domestic terrorist organisations operating in Dominica and the country's low profile makes it an unlikely target for international terrorist groups.

Last update: June 19, 2020

Crime

Dominica's murder rate remains below the Caribbean average. There were 10 murders in 2019, down from 11 in 2018. However, statistical evidence is contested for murder rates. The highest crime rate is for burglaries, for which there were 595 cases in 2018; however, this was a 30% decrease compared with the 845 cases reported in 2017, indicating a fairly effective security strategy in mitigating this. Dominica is a staging post for drug trafficking, principally cocaine, to Europe and other destinations via the nearby French overseas departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe.

Last update: July 1, 2020

War Risks

Dominica faces no significant external threats from state or non-state actors. The country was formerly engaged in a diplomatic dispute with Venezuela over ownership of the Isla de Aves. However, in 2007, Dominica recognised Venezuela’s claim to the island. Today, the two countries have cordial relations and, despite the persistence of some minor disagreements over the delineation of their shared maritime boundary, the risk of military conflict is minimal. Dominica remains a strong supporter of President Nicolas Maduro and in April 2020, Venezuela donated medical equipment and supplies to help Dominica with COVID-19 testing efforts.

Last update: June 19, 2020

Social Stability

Elevated

Although Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit was reelected for a fifth consecutive term in December 2019, there is growing popular dissatisfaction with his long rule, expressed in the 2019 anti-government protests and exacerbated by the lengthy progress of reconstruction following Hurricane Maria in 2017. In November-December 2019, hundreds of protesters demanding electoral reform spent several days erecting road blocks, including along the access road to Douglas-Charles airport, and carried out arson against vehicles, with violent confrontations between police and protesters. Further to this, the expected negative economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will likely increase the risk of further anti-government protests in the second half of 2020, once confinement measures are lifted.

Last update: June 19, 2020

Health Risk

Very high

Vaccines required to enter the country

Yellow fever: There is no risk of contracting yellow fever in Dominica. However, the government requires proof of vaccination for travelers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease.

Vaccines recommended for all travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines recommended for most travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).

Vaccines recommended for some travelers

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Severe

Like many Caribbean nations, Dominica is exposed to tropical storms and hurricanes. The official hurricane season extends from June 1 to November 30, with a peak of storms typically observed in August and September.  

Hurricane Maria caused widespread destruction and dozens of deaths when it passed over Dominica as a category 5 storm (on a scale of 1 to 5) in September 2017. Approximately 90 percent of structures on the island were damaged or destroyed in the storm. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit declared a national state of emergency after the storm hit and implemented a daily curfew from 16:00 to 08:00 (local time), which will remain in place until conditions stabilize. Power outages, water cuts, telecommunication issues, transportation disruptions, and shortages of basic goods could last for months in some areas, as recovery efforts drag on.

In late August 2015, Tropical Storm Erika hit the island nation, killing 34 people and inflicting major damage on housing and infrastructure.

Additionally, the island, and the eastern Caribbean region more generally, is located in a seismic zone.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Moderate

Secondary and minor roads are often in poor condition. Drivers should be particularly cautious at night and outside of tourist areas. 

For security reasons, only use licensed taxis; note that taxis are not metered so the fare should be agreed upon in advance.

To drive in Dominica (on the left-hand side of the road in this former British colony), foreigners must obtain a temporary local license. Visitors should contact their rental agency for more information.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Temperatures are pleasant throughout the year. The rainy season lasts from August to September and during this time large amounts of rain fall on the country. Except during the dry season (January-May), light showers are often observed. Hurricanes sometimes pass over Dominica during the month of September and have been known to cause significant damages throughout the island.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +1 767
Police: 448 22 22
Fire Dept., Ambulance: (767) 448 28 90 or (767) 448 88 90

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019