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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

A general election is scheduled for 6 December 2020. The ruling Dominica Labour Party, led by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, has been in power since 2000. A joint mission by the CARICOM, Commonwealth and Organisation of American States (OAS) in August 2019 recommended that the government implement electoral reforms. However, the DLP and main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) have not agreed on the details of electoral reforms. The risk of protests in the capital Roseau is increasing ahead of the election, by groups supported by the UWP. The UWP has not advocated for violence. However, there are rising risks of property damage should protests escalate near government buildings. On 19 November 2019, police confronted around 200 protestors outside the president's official residence. The last major violent anti-government protests were in February 2017, with demonstrators erecting burning barricades, and looting stores. Labour strikes are fairly frequent, such as by the Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU). Strikes usually last less than 24 hours, and are normally non-violent. Sporadic environmental protests against energy and tourism projects are likely, however these are unlikely to turn violent.Dominica has low crime rates by regional standards, and foreigners are rarely targets. Main tourist areas are safe, with few instances of street or opportunistic crime. There were 11 murders in 2018, a 42% decrease compared with the 19 cases reported in 2017. Dominica remains a minor staging post for illegal drugs en route from Latin America to Europe and other destinations via Martinique and Guadeloupe.Hurricane Maria caused around USD1.3 billion in damage (150% of annual GDP). 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. IHS Markit forecasts 7% economic growth in 2019, following a sharp contraction in 2018 (-15%).
Last update: November 22, 2019

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 102nd (out of 190 economies) for ease of doing business in 2019. 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 as high-risk for its potential to encourage tax evasion.

Last update: October 30, 2019

Terrorism

Moderate

There are no known terrorist organisations operating in Dominica and the country's low profile makes it an unlikely target for international terrorist groups. The country has an anti-financing of terrorism act, last amended from 2013–14, with an amendment act in debate since June 2018, to which the main opposition United Workers' Party has objected. Since 2016, Dominica has been conducting National Risk Assessments for money laundering and the financing of terrorism, in order to meet with requirements of the Financial Action Task Force.

Last update: October 30, 2019

Crime

Dominica's murder rate remains below the Caribbean average. There were 13 murders in 2018, about a 30% decrease compared with the 19 murders reported in 2017. 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: October 30, 2019

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. In July 2018, the two countries pledged to continue strengthening bilateral co-operation and regional integration. In January 2019, Dominica recognised Nicolas Maduro as the president of Venezuela.

Last update: October 30, 2019

Social Stability

Elevated

Protests are likely ahead of the general election on 6 December, and also after it, if the result is contested by the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP). The UWP and protest groups are demanding electoral reforms. In November 2019, police confronted around 200 protestors outside the presidential residence, using tear gas to disperse crowds. Further protests elevate the likelihood of property damage near government buildings. The last major violent protests took place in February 2017, when riot police were deployed to contain roadblocks and looting during demonstrations over the country's Citizenship by Investment Programme.

Last update: November 22, 2019

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