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 2018, 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 in 2018. 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 in 2018 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 2018. 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 2018.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
Hepatitis A : a vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B : a vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio : a booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Rabies : for prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
For Children : all standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
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.
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