Martinique Country Report
The political environment is broadly stable, although labour disputes and sporadic protests over the cost of living are common. Martinique moved to a single local government (Conseil Térritorial) in December 2015, which facilitates policy making at the local level. As a French territory, citizens and business in Martinique enjoy access to the same legal institutions as those in mainland France. Beyond protests, security threats in Martinique are limited, with crime rates below the Caribbean average. There is some drug trafficking activity on the island, but it does not pose the same threat to security as it does in other Caribbean countries.
The operational environment is unlikely to deteriorate significantly in 2019, although the island will remain vulnerable to natural disasters, such as hurricane. The attitude to investment emulates France's approach recognising "structural handicaps" facing companies investing in Martinique and other overseas territories. The French government offers fiscal incentives to promote investment. Nevertheless, investors are likely to face problems resulting from bureaucratic delays and petty corruption. Labour unrest remains a constant feature of the operational panorama; although in recent years, industrial action has not reached the levels seen in 2009, when a two-week general strike paralysed much of the territory.
The risk of terrorism is likely to remain low. Calls for independence in Martinique have been stronger than in other French territories, particularly in the 1990s, but this has not generated politically motivated violence or acts of terrorism. The state of emergency applied and repeatedly extended (most recently until to July 2017) in mainland France since the November 2015 Islamist terrorist attacks in Paris have not been applied to Martinique. Organised crime is a far lower threat than in other Caribbean countries and does not engage in terrorist actions to challenge the state.
The risk of civil or intestate war is low in Martinique. Cost-of-living protests in 2009 forced the central government to deploy over 100 additional Gendarmerie officers to the island from the mainland following three weeks of unrest. The head of the local government executive, veteran politician Alfred Marie-Jeanne, has toned down his pro-independence rhetoric and the likelihood of an independence inspired civil conflict is low. Martinique has no major disputes with its neighbours and France's military superiority over regional states mitigates the risk of interstate conflict.
Labour unrest is likely to be frequent and disruptive. In September 2017, there were widespread protests against the French government's proposed reforms to labour laws (Code du Travail). There were also separate protests across 2017 involving refuellers at the island's main airport, teachers, postal workers, and health workers, among others. Such protests tend to involve the erection of roadblocks and subsequently cause significant disruption to roads, businesses, and industry in the capital Fort-de-France. Protests relating to the island's high unemployment rate and the high cost of living will present further challenges for the local government in 2019.
Vaccines required to enter the country
Yellow fever: There is no risk of contracting yellow fever in Martinique. 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).
The rainy season lasts from June until November, with temperatures highest in July (28°C). The dry season extends from January until May (average temperature 26°C). Hurricanes can strike in September and October.
Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz