Dominica Country Report
The Skerrit administration is likely to remain in place until the end of its current term in 2019 despite popular unrest co-ordinated by the United Workers' Party (UWP) in early 2017 over the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP). The UWP has aired concerns over the management of funding from the CIP and foreign aid for the reconstruction of the island following Hurricane Maria in September 2017, and pulled out of the government committee on this in January 2018. The CIP has also drawn criticism from the US, which has named Dominica as a "major money laundering country", and from the OECD which categorised it as high risk. Crime has increased in recent years, although Dominica is one of the safest countries in the Caribbean. Counter-narcotics operations pose a risk of delays tovessels.
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. Limited state capacity means that bureaucracy is slow, although corruption is not a major concern. According to World Bank data, 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.
There are no known terrorist organisations operating in Dominica and the country's low profile makes it an unlikely target for international terrorist groups. There have not been any instances of foreign individuals being subject to violent attack and this is unlikely to change in 2019 or 2020. 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 party has objected. In 2016, Dominica also began conducting National Risk Assessments for money laundering and the financing of terrorism, in order to meet with the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force.
Dominica's murder rate remains below the Caribbean average, despite an increase over recent years, which the government attributes to the expansion of drug trafficking operations on the island. There were 13 murders in 2018. In January 2019, the head of the police expressed concerned with growing criminality, stating that the police had seized 23 firearms in 2018. The response of security forces to rising crime rates has been largely efficient, with perpetrators of crimes detained in most cases. Dominica is a staging post for those smuggling drugs, principally cocaine, to Europe and other destinations via the nearby French overseas departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe.
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 in 2019 and 2020 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
|Country Code:||+1 767|
|Police:||448 22 22|
|Fire Dept., Ambulance:||(767) 448 28 90 or (767) 448 88 90|
Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz