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White House selects former NECS student for prestigious scholar award

Jose Thomas
Thomas is a former NECS student and beneficiary of Marigot Development Corporation US study program

Former student of the North East Comprehensive School (NECS), Joseˊ Thomas, has been selected by the White House to be a 2018 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Competitiveness Scholar.

Thomas is a beneficiary of the Marigot Development Corporation (MDC) US Study Program and scholar’s award is part of a White House Initiative on HBCUs (WHIHBCU).

She was nominated by Dr. William Harvey, the President of her school, Hampton University, and the White House subsequently selected her as a scholar for the 2018/2019 academic year.

As part of this initiative, she is currently attending the 2018 WHIHBCU Conference in Washington DC.

It is intended that the HBCU Competitiveness Scholars will help form the next generation of leaders who exhibit and champion HBCU excellence.

The WHIHBCU select Scholars based on (i) Academic Achievement: established classroom performance; (ii) Civic and Campus Engagement: proven leadership to make a positive difference at their institutions and in their communities; and (iii) Entrepreneurial Ethos: demonstrated character to pursue new opportunities, despite limited resources, i.e., the “go-getter” or competitive spirit.

Thomas attended NECS, then the St. Margaret’s School in Virginia and is now a senior at Hampton University.

Jose Thomas
Jose Thomas (second left) with other scholars

She has been an exemplary student leader at both schools.

At Hampton University she was inducted into the prestigious academic international honor society for business, management and administration, Sigma Beta Delta and was selected to join the Teach for America Corps during summer 2018.

The MDC said, “We wish Joseˊ continued success as she approaches graduation at Hampton University and in the pursuit of graduate school, the next step on her academic journey.”

This article was originally published on DominicaNewsOnline.


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Fine Foods prepares for Tropical Storm Isaac

Fine Foods Inc

PRESS RELEASE – September 11, 2018 – With the potential threat of Tropical Storm Isaac bearing down on Dominica over the next couple of days, Fine Foods, the biggest distributor in Dominica, has put its hurricane contingency plan into high gear and has ensured that everything is in place to manage its businesses and the expectation of its customers, vendors and employees.

Primarily, Fine Foods has ensured that all of its vendors and customers are fully stocked with goods and ready to supply the general public with supplies.

Fine Foods Senior Management Team will continue to monitor and track the storm as it forms.

We are urging everyone to take all the necessary precautionary measures to prepare for the storm in the likelihood that it seriously affects our island.

Head of Distribution and Marketing of Fine Foods, Nathalie Walsh, comments: “We encourage the general public to stay safe. Ensure that you secure your buildings and are fully stocked with dry food, water and medical items.”


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In the eye of the Caribbean storm: one year on from Irma and Maria

Communities in Dominica are rebuilding with the help of the UN following devastation caused by the 2017 hurricane season in the Caribbean. © UNDP/Zaimis Olmos

This article was originally published on Reliefweb.int.

In September 2017, Primrose Thomas was at her home on Barbuda, when disaster struck: two Category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, swept over the islands of the eastern Caribbean, wreaking chaos and destruction.

“The first time I came back, I didn’t know where to go. I couldn’t recognize anywhere. I had to ask for directions to my own house.”

Thousands of people in the region found themselves in the same situation as Primrose, and the UN played a major role in helping affected communities get back on their feet.

Click here for more first-hand accounts of the hurricane. UNDP November 2017

In this two-part report – one year on from the hurricanes – we look at the ways in which the Organisation provides aid to those in need and, in a world increasingly affected by the effects of climate change, is finding ways to make the region better able to withstand such events in the years to come.

Part 1: “A paradise turned into Hell”

This is how the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, described Barbuda in the aftermath of the storms:  “I have never seen anywhere else in the world a forest completely decimated without one single leaf on any tree…In every community, most of the buildings are destroyed or heavily damaged.”

Irma and Maria were “Category 5” hurricanes, described by the US Government’s National Hurricane Center Website, as winds reaching 157 miles per hour or higher, during which “catastrophic damage will occur”. Irma reached record-breaking sustained speeds of over 183 mph, longer than any other Atlantic hurricane on record.

The most severely affected nations were the two-island State of Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica; but many other Caribbean islands suffered damage, including Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, The Bahamas, and Turks and Caicos Islands.

Haiti and St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Maarten as well as Cuba; the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, were also impacted.

On 6 September 2017, Antigua and Barbuda was battered by Irma, the first of the two mammoth Atlantic hurricanes tearing westward along Hurricane Alley, the name for the body of warm water that stretches from the west coast of northern Africa to the east coast of Central America and the Gulf Coast of the United States.

For the first time in its history, the entire population of Barbuda, some 1,600 people, was evacuated to the larger island of Antigua. Ninety per cent of homes and buildings in Barbuda were affected, 40 per cent of the roads were damaged, and the entire energy distribution network was destroyed.

Dominica also saw 90 per cent of buildings destroyed by the storms, affecting over 70,000 people.

In the aftermath of Irma and Maria, a UN-wide Crisis Management Unit sent waste management and debris removal experts into the affected areas, opening up roads, collecting garbage, and restoring the water and power networks. Emergency work programmes created temporary jobs and training for affected women and men, quickly injecting cash into communities.

Small businesses were given grants to help them to recover: On the Turks and Caicos Islands, the large majority of MSMEs (Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises) were severely impacted by the hurricanes, and the UN supported a wide range of businesses, from pest controllers and farmers, to taxi drivers and people renting out holiday homes.

Like 70 per cent of the inhabitants of South Caicos, Henry Handfield relies on fishing for a living. One of the 40 MSME owners selected for a hurricane relief grant, he says that the $550 received made an impact: “(My boat) was flipped upside down and one portion of it was broken off. The top of the engine was smashed up, the roof was destroyed…all I had was the hull of this boat.” Handfield recalls. “The help I got from UNDP (the UN Development Programme) was very helpful. I was able to take that and put with some other monies to remodel this boat.”

Financial support also came in the form of an innovative direct cash transfer scheme, which puts money directly in the hands of affected families. Run by the Government of Dominica, the programme is supported by UNICEF and the World Food Programme and funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. Between December and February 2017, it provided 8,000 of the most vulnerable families affected by Maria with monthly payments ranging between $90 and $239, depending on the number of children in the household.

Yvonne Hill Williams lives in Roseau, Dominica. A shopkeeper and foster carer who also looks after her five grandchildren, Yvonne lost all of her merchandise when the nearby river overflowed during Hurricane Maria. She found that the cash initiative came in handy during a difficult time: “We bought clothes, shoes, and a little shopping and groceries. You feel that you can buy certain things in town. It’s a good feeling…I appreciate it very much.”

In Dominica, the priority for women farmers was to be able to get back on their feet as soon as possible. UN Women facilitated this by providing seeds, labour and equipment to bring their farms back into production as soon as possible.

Eileen Lloyd, of the Bellevue Chopin Farmers Group in Dominica, is one of the beneficiaries. She described the support provided by UN Women as a blessing: “After Maria, it was very difficult to get seeds, and then we were promised some seeds and tools from UN Women and we appreciate them handing them over to us,” she said.

The organisation also worked closely with the UN Population Fund to provide displaced Barbudan women and girls with sanitary items not easily found in relief packages. They distributed “dignity kits”, containing basic health and hygiene products such as soap and sanitary towels.

One year on, the most vulnerable people affected – those with no income or insurance, single people and those with disabilities – risk getting lost in the system. The International Organization for Migration (IOM), has focused on helping the most at-risk communities.

IOM has helped hundreds in Dominica by reconstructing their homes. Wyzell Philogene, a single mother, spent almost a month sharing a space at a friend’s house, along with around 15 others. Her roof was ripped off, and she lost nearly all her belongings. Wyzelle qualified for IOM humanitarian assistance and, a week later, a brand-new roof was erected at no cost to her. She is now able to focus on making a living, through a landscaping job made available through the National Employment Programme, and she is making sure that she is prepared for the next hurricane season.

Wyzell is not alone in thinking about how to survive in the future: the UN’s longer-term planning and development teams have been working closely with emergency humanitarian workers from the very beginning of the crisis.

In part 2 of this special report, we will look more closely at the efforts underway to make the region more resilient, in the face of climate change and the likelihood of more frequent, and more extreme, natural disasters.


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Work steadily progressing on Kempinski Resort in Dominica


ROSEAU, Dominica — Local investment and hospitality company Range Developments has reaffirmed its commitment to Dominica and to complete the Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski on schedule.

The team on site has been working steadily and frequently late into the night to ensure what will be undoubtedly one of the finest hotels in the Eastern Caribbean that opens in the second half of 2019. The resort’s general manager has already been appointed and brings a wealth of operational experience with him.

There has been significant site progress over the last few months – hardwood roofs have been installed to most of the public buildings and external finishing work is nearing completion. Interior finishing work is underway. There is significant momentum on site and the resort is rapidly taking shape. There are over 450 people on site daily and this will rise upwards of 700 in the coming months.

Cabrits Resort Kempinski
Progress on Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski

In addition, in the coming months the details of Range’s Dominica hospitality training program will be announced, as well as, a series of job fairs. Details will be advertised in the local press.

The Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski is the first approved citizenship by investment project in Dominica. Its success will ensure Dominica is firmly cemented on the luxury tourism map and the economic impact of the resort is already being felt island-wide.

Range has a structured corporate responsibility program that has seen Range’s acceptance into the local communities in which it operates. Recently, Range has supported the reconstruction of the Dominica Women’s Centre, CALLs and the Cabrits Pier, as well as awarding a number of education scholarships.

Range Developments is an international property developer focusing on high-end hotel resorts in the Caribbean that are well-designed, sustainable and desirable.

Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinsi
Progress on Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinsi

Its flagship project Park Hyatt St Kitts opened to guests on 1 November 2017. This luxury resort has received multiple awards and has been widely recognized in the international media. CNN has singled it out as “the Best Hotel in the Caribbean”, with Forbes naming it “a grand Caribbean debut that was well worth the wait”. It has been included in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2018 hot list “Best New Hotels in the world”.

Range Developments will also start construction of a Six Senses resort in St Kitts later this year.

This article was originally published on Caribbean News Now.


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IOM reaches toward 600 houses covered after Hurricane Maria


Press Release (August 29, 2018) – Over 580 families who lost their roof and nearly everything else after Hurricane Maria have received assistance from the UN Migration Agency (IOM) to rebuild stronger, more resilient roofs.

An IOM contingent arrived in Dominica less than two weeks after the category five hurricane decimated Dominica on 18 September 2017, damaging or destroying 90 percent of the housing stock.

Almost a year after Hurricane Maria ravaged the tiny island, Dominica struggles to go back to normality.

Most of the country has been reconnected to the national water and power grids, schools have reopened, and the government is working to become the world’s first climate resilient country.

Notwithstanding, if the array of houses covered in tattered tarps, the piles of distorted galvanized sheets at many bends, or the ghosts of abandoned homes and businesses littered around the country are any indication, there is still a great deal of work to be done.

“Getting to this stage has not been easy,” says Jan-Willem Wegdam, Team Leader of IOM Dominica. “We have had to be creative to solve procurement issues, obtaining scarce building materials, recruiting skilled carpenters from the wider Caribbean because we simply did not have enough available workforce locally to implement the work. We have been working with many international and local organizations: Habitat for Humanity, ADRA, All Hands & Hearts, volunteer builders from the Mennonite community and, of course, our migrant carpenters.”

Emergency shelters still house families who have not been able to return to a normal life in what may remain of their homes. Many houses simply disappeared. Emergency shelters across the island were damaged, and most have not yet been repaired.

IOM has been able to assist with housing needs in 11 communities so far, repairing or re-building roofs and wooden core houses with funding from UK Aid, the European Commission humanitarian agency (ECHO), the Government of Australia, and contributions from ChinaAID via the UNDP. But even when the milestone of 600 families assisted is celebrated, there will still be room to do more. IOM has been collaborating closely with the Village Councils to try to ensure that the most vulnerable people get the help that they need.

The humanitarian agency is currently in discussions with potential donors to see if they can help meet some of the remaining needs.

IOM currently employs over 150 people across Dominica; only three are expats.

The economic impact in the communities is significant through wages and salaries, casual pay, rental of vehicles and accommodation, and procurement of goods and services.

With Dominica being one of its newest member states, IOM is building capacity for a long-term presence on the island, positioning to be an active partner to the government and people of Dominica in a quest to build better homes, communities, and lives across the island.

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Humanitarian agencies offer opportunities to learn basic carpentry

Natasha Daniels, Project Coordinator, Habitat for Humanity Trinidad & Tobago

Roseau, Dominica  (August 20, 2018) – IOM Dominica and Habitat for Humanity Trinidad & Tobago have partnered to provide Basic Carpentry Training for interested persons in the Commonwealth of Dominica.

The training is offered in collaboration with the Youth Development Division to increase the availability of semi-skilled local labour on the island to meet the current demand in the rebuilding process.

Training sessions will be held in the west and the northeast, where IOM currently works. The sessions will run for 10 days to provide the basic knowledge and hands-on experience necessary.

As a bonus, participants who perform well in the training can qualify for immediate employment with the IOM in its Housing Recovery Project, which aims to assist over 600 families in Dominica to recover safe housing with funds from the governments and peoples of the United Kingdom and Australia, the European Commission humanitarian arm (ECHO), and ChinaAID via the UNDP.

According to Community Engagement Officer for IOM, Maxine Alleyne-Esprit, “The construction industry is one where skilled workers and positive attitudes will be in demand for the foreseeable future. This is an opportunity for community members to expose themselves to the craft of carpentry, and open up alternative livelihood opportunities for Dominican men and women.”

The training is theoretical and practical, and all are welcome including women and the differently abled, and no previous experience is necessary.

Registration is being facilitated through the Village Councils in the western and northeastern districts, via the IOM-Dominica facebook page, and through the IOM Hotline at (767) 285-0794.

Project Manager of IOM, Nestor Girukwishaka, addresses the opening of the Introduction to Basic Carpentry training at St Joseph

The minimum age for registration is 17 years.

In the first week, basic grounding skills in the technical aspects of roofing will be taught – tools, measurements, parts of the roof, impact of hazards, building codes and more.

The second week will be in action-on-the-field, with the trainees working alongside experienced teams of IOM and Habitat for Humanity carpenters in nearby villages.

Participants will receive a weekly stipend if they attend all the sessions, and at the end of the program, successful trainees will receive a certificate and a toolkit so they can continue to work and practice the skill.

The first training session was launched on Monday August 20th in St. Joseph.

Training days are Mondays – Saturdays from 8am -3pm for two weeks.

Space is limited for this free training. People on the northwest and northeast interested to enroll for the opportunity to learn Basic Carpentry Skills should call or WhatsApp 285-0794 to register and get more information.


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Handing over of Paix Bouche Primary School – UNDP


On Thursday August 16th, was the official handing over of the Paix Bouche Primary School to The Government of Dominica. Paix Bouche Primary School serves the villages of Paix Bouche, More Park and Providence.

The roof restoration is done by our partner, All Hands and Hearts. UNDP and China Aid provided roofing materials consisting of lumber; corrugated galvanize metal roofing sheets (CGI); hurricanes straps and ties; galvanized roofing screws and fasteners to cover a roofing area of approximately 2440 square feet.

Photos: Zaimis Olmos/UNDP


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DFC rolls out programme chronicling history of WCMF

Part of this year's WCMF line up (left to right): Michele Henderson, Chronixx, Asa Bantan and Machel Montano

Roseau, Dominica – (August 13, 2018) — Organizers of Dominica’s World Creole Music Festival, the Dominica Festivals Committee are rolling out a series of programmes chronicling the history of the festival as it nears the celebrations of the 20th edition from October 26-28, 2018 at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium in Roseau, Dominica.

The series referred to as Festival-la Wive, is being aired on all the major radio stations in Dominica as a simulcast every other Tuesday August from 8:00 p.m.

Produced by the DFC and hosted by popular Creole announcer, Leroy “Wadix” Charles, the series will include programmes on Creole and the national cultural identity, the early years of building the World Creole Music Festival, the first years of the festival, the post-Eddie Toulon era of the festival, incorporation of new genres in the festival programme, the economic impact of the festival, broadening the festival, and inclusion of fringe events on the festival programme.

The programmes will include voices of those who have performed different roles since the creation of the festival including those who served as Event Director and in other major roles. Speaking on the series, acting Festival and Events Manager, Marva Williams said she was excited about the series and hopes that it will serve to provide a historical perspective on the growth of the festival and clear any misconception of the role of the festival in the development of festival tourism in Dominica.

According to Williams, “The series is important in several ways as it not only provides information on how the festival was created and the objectives set by its founders, but also will serve to inspire those interested in promoting similar types of events in Dominica.”

Part of this year’s WCMF line up (left to right): Machel Montano, Yemi Alade, Kes the Band and Sweet Mickey.

“For us at DFC we believe that this series will serve as an important forum to discuss the value and importance of festival tourism in Dominica and to ensure that this generation of fans understand and appreciate the contribution of those who worked hard to sustain the event,” Williams concluded.

The next simulcast of Festival-la Wive is scheduled for Tuesday 14th August, from 8:00 p.m. and will be aired on DBS Radio, Kairi FM, Vibes Radio and Q95 FM.

For more information on the 20th Annual World Creole Music Festival, visit www.DominicaFestivals.com, like our Facebook page Dominica Festivals.
For more information on Dominica, contact Discover Dominica Authority at 1-767- 448-2045. Or, visit Dominica’s official website: www.DiscoverDominica.com, follow Dominica on Twitter and Facebook and take a look at our videos on YouTube.

About Dominica’s World Creole Music Festival

Dominica’s World Creole Music Festival celebrates the creole culture of creole speaking countries in the Caribbean, Europe and Africa. The Festival, held annually in October seeks to augment the creole month festivities and Independence celebrations held during this period as well as boost visitor arrivals to the island.

The World Creole Music Festival features various musical genres to include reggae, zouk, konpa, cadence, bouyon, salsa, dancehall/hip hop, meringue, soukous, zydeco. The Festival is dubbed ‘Three Nights of Pulsating Rhythms’ for its wide repertoire of musical genres on showcase each night. Join us for the 20th World Creole Music Festival, October 26-28, 2018.

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U.S. Embassy Youth Ambassadors to participate in U.S. Government-sponsored Leadership Program

The 2018 Eastern Caribbean Youth Ambassadors (left to right) Aliyah Jean-Jacques; Jhie Auguste; Rhobyn Barnabe-Grant; Safin Connor; Rhion Charles; Richardo Lockhart; Kai Allman; and Natasha Nation (mentor).

Seven Youth Ambassadors from the Eastern Caribbean will travel to the United States in August for the 2018 Youth Ambassadors Program in the Caribbean.  During their exchange, participants will focus on the program’s themes of civic education, leadership, and community service.  Students will also create social action plans at the end of their community program that each will then implement in his or her country.

The Youth Leaders from the Eastern Caribbean are:

  • Richardo Lockhart of Antigua and Barbuda;
  • Kai Allman, of Barbados;
  • Aliyah Jean-Jacques of Dominica;
  • Rhion Charles of Grenada;
  • Jhie Auguste of St. Lucia;
  • Safin Connor of St. Kitts and Nevis; and
  • Rhobyn Barnabe-Grant of St. Vincent and the Grenadines

They are accompanied by mentor, Natasha Nation of Dominica, and will take part in the three-week exchange program, along with participants from The Bahamas, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The goals of the exchange program are to prepare youth leaders to become responsible citizens and contributing members of their communities; foster relationships among youth from different ethnic, religious, and national groups; create networks of hemispheric youth leaders; and promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States, South America, and the Caribbean.

The program will begin on August 7 in Vermont, and concludes in Washington, D.C. on August 28.

Since 2007, World Learning has implemented the Youth Ambassadors Program. World Learning is an American nonprofit organization advancing leadership in more than 60 countries. Its mission is to empower people and strengthen institutions through education, sustainable development, and exchange programs.

This article was first published on the US Embassy of Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS website.


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#3 – Dominica, a Different Adventure

Dominica - A Different Adventure (Dominica Film Challenge 2018 video)

At the halfway point already! The momentum has been building and it's sure to come to a crescendo when you view this fantastic new video as part of the 2018 Dominica Film Challenge! Produced by Sheldon Casimir and @Norris Francois Jr. , this film 'Dominica - A Different Adventure' gives a thrilling peek into the varied adventures you can enjoy when you come visit to #ReDiscoverDominica! Plunge into a river pool, lounge on the beach, tube down a river, view whales year round, ride a horse through a forest trail, participate in cultural and entertainment activities; these are just a few of the countless fun experiences featured! Remember to view, like and SHARE, and tune in for the next video premiere on Friday! #ReDiscoverDominica #DominicaChallenge #NatureIsland. Thrilled to come visit? Get great deals here: http://discoverdominica.com/spring2018/index.html

Posted by Discover Dominica on Wednesday, August 8, 2018

This video is called Dominica, a Different Adventure and was produced by Team #3, Sheldon Casimir and Norris Francois Jr.



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DDA releases videos of Dominica Film Challenge finalists


(Press Release) After five exciting weeks of shooting, social media posts and editing, the 6 thrilling videos produced during the Dominica Film Challenge 2018 are now being released online. Over the next two weeks, the videos will be premiered directly to the Discover Dominica’s Facebook page for public viewing.

The highly anticipated release of the completed videos follows the production period where six select teams of the best videographers/storytellers on island went out to film unique and compelling scenes of what Dominica has to offer visitors. The winning team will be rewarded with an EC$10,000 grand prize for the best promotional video, with EC$5,000 going to the second place team.

The release dates for each video are (click the links below to see the videos!):

Date Title Filmmakers
August 3 Nature Island Rejuvenation Armani Augustine
Garvin Leblanc
August 6 Hiking an Island Reborn Derek Galon
Margaret Gajek
August 8 Dominica, a Different Adventure Sheldon Casimir
Norris Francois Jr.
August 10 You and Me Marica Honychurch
Arnaud Chabert
August 13 Waitukubuli, a Love Letter Tridel Edwin
Elias Dupuis
August 15 Dominica – From Past to Promise Kreig Harris
Ericson Joseph

Discover Dominica Authority encourages all lovers of the Nature Island to follow the video posts and more importantly, to re-post the videos and help them go ‘viral’. This is a great opportunity for the Dominican communities at home and abroad to use the hashtags #RediscoverDominica and #DominicaChallenge and create great momentum on the Social Media platforms such as InstagramFacebook and Twitter as we collectively showcase the wonderful sites of Dominica to all. 

About the Dominica Film Challenge

The DDA has hosted two earlier versions of the Film Challenge, in 2014 and 2015. The first event in 2014 featured five teams of participants from the US market. In the second version, participation was extended to include other markets such as France and Canada.

These earlier Film Challenges were a combination of social media ambassador programs, journalistic FAM trips and event competition. The chosen participants were all skilled filmmakers/photographers with large social media followings.

This year’s Challenge commenced on June 18, 2018 and will conclude on August 22, 2018 with a closing/prize-giving ceremony where the winner will be announced.

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Assisting families with house repairs – IOM


We’re so thrilled to have assisted over 450 families with housing repairs in Dominica!

Touching lives in the communities where we work means the world to us and we’re committed to providing safer housing solutions to as many of the most vulnerable households as possible before the end of September 2018.

Our achievements have been made possible through the assistance of dedicated village councils and community members, our team, donors and the Government of Dominica.

Together, we’re rebuilding Dominica- better homes, better communities, better lives.

About IOM UN Migration

The United Nations Migration Agency aims to provide shelter for the most vulnerable and information on the Building Codes those who will rebuild themselves.

Contact: Website | Facebook


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Schoonewagen to lead Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica


Kempinski has continued is expansion in the Caribbean with the upcoming Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica.

Set to open in 2019, this luxurious island hideaway is surrounded by Cabrits National Park in the Commonwealth of Dominica.

Known for its natural beauty and eco-tourism, Dominica is located in the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean, and is home to 365 rivers, waterfalls and hot springs.

Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica has been designed to preserve the natural balance between land and the sea, whilst ensuring a modern contemporary guest experience.

Kempinski has appointed Michael Schoonewagen as general manager of Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica.

Commenting on this appointment, Xavier Destribats, chief operating officer for Kempinski in the Americas, said: “We are delighted to welcome Michael to the Kempinski family.

An artist rendering of the Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski

“With his successful track-record of managing luxury resort properties in pioneering destinations, and his focused expertise in the luxury segment, I am confident that Michael will build on our considerable momentum in the region with the opening of Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica next year.”

Schoonewagen is an experienced and passionate hotelier with some 30 years of experience and deep expertise in luxury resorts, honed in missions across Europe, the South Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Caribbean with renowned luxury brands.

He will lead the team to open this first luxury resort for Kempinski in Dominica, working closely with partners, Range Developments, to position the island as the new go-to luxury travel destination in the region.

Schoonewagen added: “It is a great privilege to join Kempinski and lead this exciting development in Dominica.

“I have long admired the pioneering spirit and cultural empathy of Kempinski as a luxury heritage brand, and look forward to building on these extensive roots to create the ultimate luxury destination in the Caribbean.”

This article was originally published on Breaking Travel News.


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#2 – Hiking an Island Reborn

'Hiking an Island Reborn' Dominica Film Challenge Video

Still many more exciting films coming your way as part of the 2018 Dominica Film Challenge! Today it's all about team 2 led by Derek Galon with the short film 'Hiking an Island Reborn'. This film is centered around the theme 'Hiking' and gives fascinating insight into the versatile hiking experience available right now in the #NatureIsland! From leisurely strolls along trails through the quickly-renewing forest vegetation, or exploring seascapes, to canyoning adventures down cliffs and gorges! Remember to view, like and SHARE, and tune in for the third video on Wednesday! #ReDiscoverDominica #DominicaChallenge Ozone Zone Books

Posted by Discover Dominica on Monday, August 6, 2018

This video is called Hiking an Island Rebortn and was produced by Team #2, Derek Galon and Margaret Gajek.



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Putting Dominica on the map

Bele Dance. Nadia Mauricia Harvey, Kelvin Sabba Cuffy and Jean Paul

(Press Release) Dominica Arts & Culture Exposé is pleased to announce another successful “TASTE OF Dominica and the Caribbean” which was held on Saturday July 14th, 2018 at the Mel Lastman Square, 5100 Yonge St, Ontario, Canada

Taste of Dominica and the Caribbean brought 6000 members of the GTA together to celebrate all that Dominica had to offer. Visitors from all walks of life came to taste a variety of Dominica/ Caribbean staple dishes, admire some of Dominica’s signature hand- made arts and crafts, and to learn information about the Nature Isle.

Dernell George. VP of DACE – Display of the Dominica map at the “Taste of Dominica and the Caribbean”

This year’s Taste of Dominica and the Caribbean came on the heels of Hurricane Maria which, on September 18th, 2017, left thousands of Dominicans homeless, and destroyed a number of schools, residential, and government buildings.

We were excited to have the opportunity to raise funds to rebuild schools in Dominica; we are grateful for the support and participation of Discover Dominica, MWDC Madam Wob Dwiyet of Canada, and the Commonwealth of Dominica Association (CDOA). Discover Dominica provided giveaways to the Taste of Dominica and the Caribbean. This October, one of the lucky winners will be heading to Dominica for the World Creole Music Festival.

Taste of Dominica. Mel Lastman Square. Toronto

Dominica Arts & Culture Exposé is hard at work preparing for the next year’s event which will be bigger and better. With our partners Madam Wob Dwiyet of Canada (MWDC) we will be showcasing the celebration of our national costume on a larger scale in 2019.]


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#1 – Nature Island Rejuvenation

'Isle of Rejuvenation' Dominica Film Challenge Video 1

We bring you our first video from the Dominica Film Challenge 2018! Based on the theme 'Health and Wellness,' this video was created by Team 1 - Aarmani DirectorbyaccidentFilms Augustine and Garvin Leblanc. View, like and share, and tune in for the second video next Monday! #ReDiscoverDominica #DominicaChallenge ByAccident Films

Posted by Discover Dominica on Friday, August 3, 2018

This video is called Nature Island Rejuvenation and was produced by Team #1, Armani Augustine and Garvin Leblanc.



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JetBlue is expanding ‘Mint’ in the Caribbean

JetBlue Mint

JetBlue has announced an expansion of its Mint premium cabin service across the Caribbean.

JetBlue will be adding Mint to nonstop flights between Boston and Saint Lucia later this year, along with adding Mint service to its flights from New York to Costa Rica.

Mint service, which first launched in 2014, includes expanded seats with 10-inch TV screens with free entertainment, power outlets; a self-serve station with free snacks, sodas and water; free Fly-Fi and perks like a free signature cocktail, a tapas-style menu by New York City restaurant Saxon + Parole; fresh espresso from the carrier’s purpose-built capuccino machine, amenity kits by Hayward and Hopper and dessert from local artisanal ice cream makers.

JetBlue Mint
(Photo source: CaribJournal.com)

“Adding Mint between these cities means travelers on these routes can finally enjoy a first-class flying experience,” said Marty St. George, executive vice president commercial and planning, JetBlue. “When Mint first launched more than four years ago, we knew we had created an unmatchable premium experience, but we could have never imagined Mint would be landing in well over a dozen destinations in such a short time.”

Liberia becomes the first Mint city in Latin America, meaning the only regularly scheduled flights to Liberia with lie-flat premium seats.

JetBlue is also planning to resume its Saturday Mint flights from New York-John F. Kennedy to St Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport in February 2019.

The carrier will additionally be launching Saturday Mint flights from Boston to St Maarten, also in February 2019.

JetBlue Mint
Amenity kids are included in Mint service. (Photo source: CaribJournal.com)

The expansion is part of what JetBlue called a “broader commitment to the Caribbean destination as it increases capacity in the market.”

JetBlue also offers Mint service on select flights to Barbados, Grenada and Saint Lucia, among others.

This article was first published on CaribJournal.com.


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The “Whale Whisperer” who makes huge whale spin on request


Many would not think it possible for anyone outside a water park to make a 30 foot whale do what they like – well meet the man who can.

This amazing footage from the Caribbean shows “whale whisperer” Andrew Armour prompting an enormous sperm whale to spin – and it dutifully follows his commands.

Andrew, who runs whale watching tours from Rosaeu in Dominica, says it is “a joy” to be able to work with the graceful creatures.

“The performance of spinning and getting them to do likewise is simply from my idea that they should also be enjoying the interaction, and that is what makes what I do so successful,” he said.

Andrew Armour
Andrew Armour has been filmed prompting an enormous sperm whale to spin. (Photo source: Caters News Agency)

“These animals have been spending great lengths of time off Dominica’s west coast. This means that I have been able to do quite a bit of interaction with these whales from the time I started swimming with them in the early nineties.

“It is a joy to have worked with these sperm whales for the benefit of my clients who want to swim with them.”

The footage was captured by part-time underwater photographer Scott Belt while he was on one of Andrew’s tours in February.

52-year-old Scott, an attorney by trade, says he suspects this may have been “a once-in-a-lifetime experience” and that he found it “unbelievable”

“I was completely surprise by what I was witnessing in person and capturing on video; there was no advanced plan that the guide would try to get the whale to react,” he said.

“It was almost unbelievable to see the whale’s response by spinning along with the guide.

“I suspect this is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I am grateful to have been present to witness this in person and capture it on video.”

The article was first published on CatersNews.com.


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Communique of 91st Meeting of the Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank


1.0 Monetary Stability

Council received the Governor’s Report on Monetary and Credit Conditions in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).  The report assessed the recent trends in monetary and credit conditions for the period April 2017 to March 2018, within the context of the Bank’s broader objectives of ensuring the stability of the exchange rate and the financial system.

Council was apprised of the following:

  • Global output is estimated to have risen to 3.8 per cent in 2017 and is forecast to continue rising in 2018 and 2019 to a projected 3.9 per cent.
  • With strong global economic growth, it is anticipated that ECCB member countries will benefit from positive spill-overs including increased Tourism, Foreign Direct Investment and Remittances.
  • Money and credit conditions continued to show a general improvement but domestic credit conditions were less than optimal. Domestic credit fell by 1.2 per cent to $9.7 billion.
  • Growth in money supply increased by 4.1 per cent to $17.1 billion as at 31 March 2018.
  • The Currency Union’s exchange rate arrangement continued to be supported by a strong and growing stock of foreign currency reserves.

Having considered the state of monetary and credit conditions, Council agreed to maintain the Minimum Savings Deposit Rate at 2.0 per cent and the Central Bank’s discount rate at 6.5 per cent. The Minimum Savings Rate is the lowest rate that commercial banks can offer on savings deposits.  The Central Bank’s Discount Rate is the rate at which the ECCB lends to commercial banks and governments.

2.0 Financial Stability

Council was informed that as at 31 March 2018, the ECCU banking sector was assessed as stable. Although, generally speaking, banks are in compliance with capital requirements, there is a need to strengthen capital given the impact of non-performing loans (NPLs), growth strategies and the likely effects of Basel II/III and IFRS 9 requirements.

With respect to the banking sector, Council also noted, that as at 31 March 2018:

  • Total assets increased by 3.9 per cent to $30.8 billion (156.3 per cent of GDP);
  • Deposits increased by 3.6 per cent to $21.6 billion (109.6 per cent of GDP);
  • Loans and advances had a nominal contraction of 0.1 per cent to $12.2 billion (61.9 per cent of GDP); and
  • The non-performing loan ratio increased from 10.9 per cent to 12.0 per cent.

Council was updated on the status of the ECCU Credit Bureau Project. It noted that following Requests for Proposals, two firms had been shortlisted and site visits were being planned.  It is anticipated that the Evaluation Committee will recommend a firm by September 2018 and that firm will be licensed to operate by December 2018.   Council reaffirmed its desire to have the Bureau launched by June 2019.

Council was notified of the reconstitution of the Eastern Caribbean Payments Council (ECPC). Given the importance of a stable, efficient and secure payment system, Council fully endorsed the objectives and functions of the reconstituted ECPC and gave its commitment to support further developments including the modernisation of the ECCU Payments System.

3.0 Growth and Competitiveness

As it relates to growth, Council noted that real economic activity is projected to expand by 1.7 per cent in 2018.

Council was briefed on the status of the Eastern Caribbean Partial Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECPCGC) Agreement which came into being on 7 May 2018, noting that six participating governments had enacted the legislation and funding was secured from The World Bank with St Kitts and Nevis self-financing. The ECPCGC is scheduled to become operational by December 2018. Council ratified its decision on the nominees for the ECPCGC Board of Directors.

Council noted the recent dialogue between the ECCB and the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago exploring various options to address issues related to the difficulties with payment settlement for traders selling agricultural produce in Trinidad and Tobago.

4.0 Report from the Technical Core Committee on Insurance (BAICO and CLICO)

Council was informed that, of the funds available for distribution, 98 per cent was distributed to EC Dollar policyholders, and 76 per cent to US Dollar policyholders under the Plan of Arrangement (BAICO and CLICO) Act on 18 December 2017.

5.0 Change of Substrate for ECCB Banknotes

Council ratified its decision on the designs for the new family of ECCB polymer banknotes. Polymer notes offer the advantages of more advanced security features and greater durability.  Circulation of the new notes is scheduled for mid-2019.

6.0 Date and Venue of 92nd Meeting of the Monetary Council

Council agreed to the convening of the 92nd Meeting of the Monetary Council on Friday, 26 October 2018 via videoconference.

7.0 Attendance

Council Members who attended the meeting were:

  1. Dr The Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Grenada (Chairman)
  2. Hon Victor F Banks, Chief Minister and Minister for Finance, Anguilla;
  3. Hon Gaston Browne, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Antigua and Barbuda;
  4. Hon Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Commonwealth of Dominica;
  5. Hon Donaldson Romeo, Premier and Minister for Finance, Montserrat;
  6. Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, St Kitts and Nevis;
  7. The Hon Camillo Gonsalves, Minister for Finance, St Vincent and the Grenadines; and
  8. Senator, the Hon Ubaldus Raymond, Minister of Public Service, Temporary Council Alternate for Saint Lucia.


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Carnival Cruise Line Resumes Summer Calls to Dominica


On July 10 Dominica celebrated the long awaited return of Carnival Cruise Line as the Carnival Fascination sailed into the island’s capital Roseau, bringing 2,669 cruise passengers.

Prior to this call Carnival Cruise Line last called to Dominica during the 2015-2016 season, and prior to that, in 2010.

During the ship’s second call on July 24, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Discover Dominica Authority, and local ship agent – HHV Whitchurch made special presentations to Captain Renato Denbendinelly during a plaque exchange ceremony held at the Dominica Museum.

A crew lounge with internet access located at the Museum to was also unveiled to the captain and crew members of the Fascination.

The Ministry of Tourism and Culture through the Permanent Secretary Careen Prevost reiterated the need and continuation for excellent and professional delivery of quality customer service, and proper organization of tours; while Benoit Bardouille, Chief Executive Officer of the Dominica Air and Seaport Authorities, expressed his satisfaction based on the feedback received on the ground from both local stakeholders, and passengers.

As part of the welcome visitors were also entertained by an array of cultural performances at the Roseau Cruise Ship Berth, while a live mural painting, created on-site by the Waitukubuli Artists Association added to the visitors’ experience, creating photo opportunities for the disembarking passengers.

The article was originally published on CruiseIndustryNews.com.


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