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.
“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.”
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.
Council Members who attended the meeting were:
Dr The Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Grenada (Chairman)
Hon Victor F Banks, Chief Minister and Minister for Finance, Anguilla;
Hon Gaston Browne, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Antigua and Barbuda;
Hon Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Commonwealth of Dominica;
Hon Donaldson Romeo, Premier and Minister for Finance, Montserrat;
Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, St Kitts and Nevis;
The Hon Camillo Gonsalves, Minister for Finance, St Vincent and the Grenadines; and
Senator, the Hon Ubaldus Raymond, Minister of Public Service, Temporary Council Alternate for Saint Lucia.
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.
PRESS RELEASE (July 10, 2018) – Dominican-born Darrel Toulon returns to his native country after 37 years of living and working in UK, Germany and Austria to create a piece of Musical Theatre together with young talented fellow-Dominicans.
“Oh Maria! – songs and stories of the survivors” is going to be an original Song Cycle to be created over an intense collaborative 2-week Workshop, to be performed in Venues all across Dominica.
During the Workshop, which will run from 5th until 18th August 2018 at Old Mill Cultural Center, stories of survivors of Hurricane Maria will be converted into monologues, and then into lyrics for songs arranged for performance by the Workshop Participants themselves.
Under the Artistic Direction of Darrel Toulon, the selected Participants of the Workshop, who Toulon plans to attract from all over the Island, will be introduced to a whole new range of creative tools, by the international Leading Team of Maurizio Nobili (Musical Director, Song Writer, Composer, and Arranger) and Carole Alston (Singer, Actress, Vocal Coach, Singing Teacher).
Complementing the Faculty will be Alwin Bully, Pearle Christian, Lennox Honychurch, Dorothy Leevy, Ophelia Marie, and Anthony Toulon who have been invited to give Key-Talks, providing invaluable intergenerational local input.
Darrel Toulon stated: “This provides me with a chance to give something back to Dominica after 37 years of living and working abroad. Leading and creating similar projects internationally with people from other countries and using their traumatic experiences to communicate with a contemporary European Audience, it matters now to initiate this project back home.”
The Project was well-received at its first presentation to the Dominica High Commission in London.
Janet Charles, Acting High Commissioner stated: “Following the astounding success of the Gala event in Austria last year, the Dominica High Commission in the United Kingdom is very pleased to endorse Darrel Toulon and his team for the upcoming project in Dominica.”
This is an excellent Education opportunity for the participants, to work with experienced and highly skilled professionals of international repute, where they will be given guidance and coaching, be introduced to ideas concerning storytelling, song-writing, arrangement, interpretation, and performance, for creative purposes of transforming the stories of trauma and resilience.
The final performance will be kept deceptively simple, almost like a Live-Radio-Play, in that the emphasis will be on the voice, and the stories will unfold through song, spoken-word and a sound-scape all created in the 2-week Workshop.
Alwin Bully, one of the first to be approached to be part of the Academy stated: “The Arts can be incredible supporters and healers of the traumatized after disasters. It would be truly interesting and amazing to see what can be achieved when a group of talented individuals come together around a specific theme.”
Carla Armour of Vetivert Inc. expressed her excitement about working with “Oh Maria!”: “As a company specializing in producing and promoting Heritage Events and Creative Tourism it is very exciting to work with Darrel and the alpha group’s project and to realize “Oh Maria!”. It is a perfect extension of our current activities geared toward finding new and innovative approaches to rebuild and renew ourselves post-Hurricane Maria. Numerous studies show the importance of creative expression and innovative implementation of traditional practices in building psychological resilience. We are confident that this ambitious project will provide an ideal seedbed to help accomplish this.”
Gisele Astaphan, as Sponsor for “Oh Maria!” stated: “I support this venture because it is free and accessible for all. The only way we can advance as a nation is to create a society which develops the human mind and its creativity to maximize the potential.”
Discover Dominica Authority has endorsed ‘Oh Maria’ as new or improved skills learned during the workshop will be an enhancement to Dominica’s cultural tourism offering as they can be incorporated into existing tours or used to create new tour options.
“Oh Maria!” is a production of the alpha group (Austria), and is Presented in Dominica by the Dominica Institute of the Arts, Division of Culture.
It is sponsored by J. Astaphan & Co, Josephine Gabriel & Co, Valley Engineering, and Harmony Villa.
Other interested members of the Private and Public Sector are being invited to join as Sponsors in this inaugural Project of the Summer Artistic Academy.
The Dominica Olympic Committee (DOC) is pleased to once again announce its representation on the international sporting stage, with a ten (10) member delegation comprising of six (6) athletes and four (4) officials, competing in Track & Field, Fencing and Beach Volleyball at the 2018 Caribbean and Central American (CAC) Games.
The Games, held predominately in Barranquilla, Colombia began with the Opening Ceremony on Thursday July 19, 2018 at which Track and Field Commonwealth Games medalist Thea Lafond executed the role of flag bearer for her country.
The team, detailed below, is led by Chef De Mission, Mr. Woodrow Lawrence OLY, who has a wealth of knowledge and experience in this role, both from a managerial and athlete perspective.
Shanelle Nichols (Epee and Foil Individual)
Marlon Marie (Epee and Foil Individual)
The DOC enter the Games looking to build on the organizations previous medal tally of three (3), whilst making history as Dominican athletes compete in both Fencing and Beach Volleyball for the first time.
The CAC Games are a multi-sport regional championship event, held every quadrennial with countries representing from Central America, the Caribbean, as well as for Bermuda, Mexico, and the South American countries of Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela. The Games will run for duration of three (3) weeks, with the closing ceremony held on August 3rd, 2018.
The DOC is also proud to announce that local Volleyball referee Mr. Julian Seraphine, has been appointed as one of the referees for the 2018 CAC Games, where he will oversee games in the Beach Volleyball discipline.
Mr. Billy Doctrove, President of the Dominica Olympic Committee commented “We are happy to be able to expose Fencing and Beach Volleyball to this level of competition and would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the respective Associations on the work they are putting in to develop the sport at the local level. I take this opportunity to wish all the athletes and officials a successful and enjoyable 2018 CAC Games.”
This information was first published on the DOC Facebook page.
PRESS RELEASE (July 24, 2018) – Curt Faudon, International Film Producer based in New York, has invited Darrel Toulon and the Cast of “Oh, Maria!” to participate in his up and coming Film, “SHIP OF SONGS”. The Movie, a response to climate change, will feature the Vienna Boys Choir, singer Alicia Keys, and Pierce Brosnan as Narrator.
Darrel Toulon has previously worked with Curt Faudon on several Film Productions and will be collaborating with the Film Director in the process of the “Oh, Maria!” Workshops.
Clips of the songs and monologues while being created, will be shared with Curt Faudon, between Dominica and the exotic distant locations where filming is already underway for “SHIP OF SONGS”. Curt Faudon is also expected to visit the island for part of the Workshop which will run from Tuesday 7th until Saturday 18th August, 2018.
The schedule has now been changed, and the Workshop will run from 4:30 pm until 10 pm!
“Oh, Maria!” is a creative Workshop under the Artistic Direction of Dominican born Darrel Toulon, with Maurizio Nobili (Musical Director) and Carole Alston (Vocal Coach), where selected local participants will write songs and monologues based on stories of survival. The culmination of this Workshop will be a final performance of original Musical Theater, with emphasis on the voice.
One special song-sequence from “Oh, Maria!” will be selected for the movie, in which the VIENNA BOYS CHOIR travel the globe, meet fellow musicians, bond and sing together, making true music never heard before, performed by world-class artistes, amid spectacular scenery.
Mr Faudon stated: “I am really happy that you and your great Island Dominica will be part of the fascinating project.” Mr Faudon is looking to dedicate 3-6 minutes of the movie to Dominica.
Wanting to show Dominica and its unique diversity of people, Darrel Toulon stated: “I do hope that participants will come from all over the island to join this workshop, especially from the Kalinago Territory. I want us to create a really original and authentic piece of Musical Theater that will reach an International audience, in a top-quality movie with Artistes like Alicia Keys and Pierce Brosnan.”
This is a remarkable, unique and wonderful opportunity to showcase the nature island of Dominica, in the context of our planet’s problems: superstorms and killer-hurricanes in the Caribbean, melting icebergs, rising sea levels, pelagic plastics and chemical sludge in the oceans, overcrowding in some animal species, the threat of extinction for others.
As the tourism sector grapples to rebuild and recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) is partnering with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and other development partners, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to host a Stakeholder Consultation and Training Workshop on Climate Sensitization and Disaster Risk Management.
The sessions will be held on Wednesday, July 25 and Thursday, July 26 2018 at the Prevo Cinemall Conference Room.
Consultant Dr. Jennifer Edwards along with CTO representative Amanda Charles will facilitate the training targeting key tourism decision makers and ancillary service providers.
The overarching objective of the workshop is to augment knowledge and highlight best-practices so as to enhance tourism sector resilience to Climate Change and the associated impacts.
Topic areas to be covered include the following:
disaster management framework for preparedness, response and recovery during times of crisis;
managing relationships for crisis planning and response;
risk communications and management,
community and customer relations;
protocol for foreign visitors;
issues identification and management (gender considerations, vulnerable groups);
climate information and related subjects.
In light of the current and future impacts of climate variablity and climate change, DDA recognises that it is imperative that Dominica is equipped to prepare for, respond and recover during time of crisis.
Additionally, effective crisis management can help maintain trust, inspire industry confidence and restore customer loyalty, while poorly handled crises can be extremely detrimental to reputation, perception of credibility and the ability to ‘bounce-back’ from a disaster or crisis.
DDA anticipates that participants will apply the knowledge gained into their respective fields in order to effectively manage and prepare for a disaster.
Dominica’s Secret Bay has long been one of the Caribbean’s most spectacular places to stay, from the private plunge pools to the treehouse bungalows.
And with the hotel set to reopen this November, it’s making some major changes, including a stunning new treehouse-style addition: the Ti-Fey Villa.
The new two-story abode at Secret Bay is perched high above the cliffside, made from Guyanese hardwood and boasting amenities like a private pool, an outdoor rainshower cantilevered off the second floor and a gourmet kitchen.
And then there are the views: the river below, the ocean, Dominica’s rainforest, all in panoramic splendor.
And it comes with all of the Secret Bay signatures: the concierge, the villa attendant for every need big or small — and now, a new Gommier Spa.
It all adds up to the kind of bucket-list experience for which the boutique Secret Bay has become famous.
Ti-Fey has already completed construction, and now it’s officially taking bookings for the luxe resort’s planned Nov. 1. reopening.
It’s the coolest new hotel room in the Caribbean. For more, visit Secret Bay.
The Discover Dominica Authority is pleased to invite Expressions of Interest and proposals from capable individuals and companies to provide high quality services in offering a VIP experience to patrons of Dominica’s World Creole Music Festival 2018. The services are designed to improve the patron experience at Dominica’s World Creole Music Festival and by extension the destination among other socio economic benefits.
Expressions of Interest and Proposals, which should be no more than 5 pages, should describe the company’s set up, capabilities and experience in providing such services and reasons why it should be considered.
The proposals should clearly indicate
Proposed location of the VIP within the stadium
Schematic or pictures or drawings to provide indication of the presentation as addendum (in addition to the 5 pages aforementioned)
Any requirements of the Organizers to facilitate your provision of such service; e.g. access, use of stadium facilities etc.
DFC will provide a 40×40 structure and 30×30 tent along with access to power. Confirm that building of all other structures and décor will be at your cost.
Proposed fee to be paid to DDA/DFC for the ability to host and stage the VIP and price to acquire entry tickets
Plans for selling tickets (whether online and in person) and cost to patrons
Expressions of Interest and proposals should be submitted to Mr. Colin Piper, CEO/Director of Tourism, Discover Dominica Authority at email@example.com to arrive no later than 8am ECT Monday July 30, 2018. Responses should be sent in word or PDF file formats and attached to an email with the subject heading “Response for WCMF VIP – with name of your firm inserted”.
PRESS RELEASE (July 16th, 2018) – The Dominican medical students of the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba made it their mission in the academic year 2017-2018 to do a mural on one of the walls of the school to represent Dominica and it’s nature and beauty.
This action is very common in the school as many other countries represented in the school have done murals on the school’s walls.
There is a general wall representing the Caribbean Region but a few Caribbean countries have made their own murals separately, representing their culture and uniqueness; such countries include Jamaica, Grenada, St.Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana and now Dominica.
The funding of this project was done by the current ambassador of Dominica to Cuba, Mathew Walter and two fundraisers carried out by the students.
Parents of a few students also contributed; Elvina Renè, mother of Henville Alexander who served as the president of the delegation of Dominican students during the academic year, Dr. Griffin Benjamin, father of Kaele Benjamin who served as vice president and Harold and Pamela Guiste, parents of Lanelle-Maris Guiste who served as events coordinator.
All of the students put the ideas together for the mural and a few worked together to form its concept. The sketch was drawn by two Dominican students, Phylicia LaRonde and Nadezka Sanford. The painting itself was done by a Cuban artist, Miguel Alexei Rodriguez Mendiola.
The mural displays Dominica’s pure nature and uniqueness. The outline is the Dominican flag having 3/4 of the black, yellow and white cross. In each square, a different aspect of Dominica’s nature is shown. The right side of the flag shows the on-land and underwater view of the island, from its mountains to the shoreline and deep into the ocean. On the other hand, the left side shows the country’s dense forestry, including particular flora and fauna.
In the middle, the head and face of the woman represent the strong Kalinago culture still existing in Dominica and her body forms part of the mountain ranges in the top right square, depicting the mountainous terrain of the island bringing ‘Tall is her body’ to reality. In her arms she holds fruits, showing the country’s fertility and from her right shoulder a river flows into her arms forming a pool which sips through her fingers and cascading down as Trafalgar falls, forming the white part of the cross. This shows the abundance of water found in Dominica.
The right bottom square depicts marine life, with the sperm whale, leatherback turtle and stingray which all inhabit Dominican waters. The bubbles depict the famous Champagne Reef and the coral reef represents the colorful underwater beauty. The diver illustrates that Dominica is a popular dive destination.
In the top left square, the Sisserou parrot is prominent as the national bird on a cocoa tree. The cocoa tree and fruit show the origin of cocoa tea, made famous to the Dominican Delegation as the students provide it every year at an annual Caribbean event called the ‘Caribbean Social’ held early in the new academic year. This social is designed to reunite the students from all Caribbean countries represented in the school and to welcome the new students entering their pre-medical year.
Also, to display different famous foods/beverages from each country which the students from the other countries get to taste. Every year Dominica has been consistent with cocoa tea as its beverage, since many Dominican students ensure to carry cocoa sticks from home.
The bottom left square shows the national flower, the bwa kwaib and the very commonly seen hibiscus, along with other flora found in Dominica. Also the mountain chicken is portrayed.
In addition, there is a scroll containing the names of the 23 Dominican students attending the medical school in the academic year 2017-2018 and of Mathew Walter who made the mural possible.
The writings in this mural indicate that this mural is of Dominica thus including the country’s name. As it was done in a Spanish speaking country and school, some of the writing was done in Spanish. ‘Isla de la Naturaleza del Caribe’ meaning ‘Nature Isle of the Caribbean’. Also including ‘Waitukubuli’ which is Kalinago language meaning ‘tall is her body’. To the right of these, Dominica’s coat of arms is displayed.
The writing on the bottom ‘Isla de Belleza, Isla de Esplendor’ means ‘Isle of beauty, Isle of splendor’ which is the first line of the national anthem.
The Dominican students are very satisfied with the final product and it is being said around the school that this mural is one of the best.
Based on the 11:00pm advisory from the National Hurricane Center of Sunday, July 8, 2018 which has lifted the Tropical Storm Watch on Dominica, the Dominica Meteorological Service and the Office Of Disaster Management have recommended that an All Clear Announcement be issued at 6am on Monday.
As such, and after consultation with the Chief of Police, the State of Emergency and the curfew imposed for the Safety and security of all citizens and property are lifted effective 6am on Monday, July 9.
Normal business activities should recommence today Monday, July 9, 2018. The Government of Dominica wishes to thank all citizens for heeding the warnings issued by State institutions and cooperating with the police during the short curfew period.
Tropical Storm warning remains in effect for Dominica at 11:00 AM. Beryl is moving quickly west-northwestward toward the Lesser Antilles. No change in strength.
A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area.
At 1100 AM, the disorganized center of Tropical Storm Beryl was located near latitude 14.4 North, longitude 57.9 West.
Beryl is moving toward the west-northwest near 23 mph (37
km/h), and this motion with an increase in forward speed is expected during the next couple of days. On the forecast track, the center of Beryl or its remnants will approach the Lesser Antilles today, cross the island chain tonight, and move near or south of the Virgin
Islands and Puerto Rico on Monday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph (75 km/h) with higher gusts. Gradual weakening is anticipated during the next 36 hours, and Beryl is forecast to degenerate into a trough of low pressure as it moves across the Lesser Antilles and into the eastern Caribbean Sea by Monday.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the center.
The estimated minimum central pressure is 1007 mb (29.74 inches).
Residents are advised to keep informed on the progress of this system and preparations should by now be completed or rushed to completion.
Regardless of intensity, Beryl still presents the potential to produce moderate to heavy showers and thunderstorms, which could produce flooding, and winds gusting to tropical storm force later this afternoon into Monday across Dominica.
Very rough seas are expected to affect Dominica this afternoon through to Monday. All users of the sea are advised to take all necessary precautions to protect life and property.
Current rainfall amount projected for Dominica is between 2 to 4 inches (50 to 100mm) with higher amounts in elevated areas.
Mariners and other users of the sea should remain extremely cautious and make all necessary preparation to protect property and should by now be in port. A High-Surf Advisory and Small-Craft Warning are in effect up to 12pm Monday July 9, 2018.Large waves and dangerous rip-currents will create unsafe conditions for small-craft operators. Sea bathers stay out of the water.
People in areas prone to flooding, landslides and falling rocks are advised to be extremely vigilant and to exercise extreme caution as life threatening flash flooding is possible. A FLOOD WARNING will be in effect for Dominica from 12 noon Sunday July 8 to 2pm Monday July 9, 2018.
The next update on Tropical Storm Beryl will be issued by the Meteorological Service at 2p.m.
1. Tropical storm warnings and watches are in effect for portions of the Lesser Antilles where Beryl is forecast to bring impacts from wind and rainfall to some of the islands beginning late today or tonight.
2. Although Beryl is forecast to degenerate into a trough of low pressure over the eastern Caribbean, the system is likely to produce strong gusty winds and locally heavy rainfall across the remainder of the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Hispaniola through Tuesday.
The Dominica Cabinet has announced a decision to declare a state of emergency, inclusive of a curfew, on Sunday 8 July 2018 as preparations for Tropical Storm Beryl moves into high gear.
Dominica had been under a hurricane watch from Friday 6 July 2018 but this was discontinued and a Tropical Storm Warning issued at 11AM on Saturday 7 July as Beryl had weakened to a tropical storm.
At 11am, Tropical Storm Beryl was located near latitude 12.1 degrees north and longitude 51.1 degrees west or about 720 miles east south-east of Dominica. Beryl is moving west north-west at 14 mph (22km/h) and maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 65mph or 100km/h.
On the forecast track, the center of Beryl will approach the Lesser Antilles over the weekend and cross the island chain late Sunday or Monday either very near or over Dominica. Additional weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours.
A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours (two days).
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said during a live press conference on Saturday 7 July that notwithstanding this downgrade from a hurricane watch to a tropical storm warning, citizens “should not let their guard down”.
“We must not become complacent,” he added considering that Tropical Storm Erika “wrought tremendous destruction on our country in 2015”.
“The way that scientists have explained the storm will tell you that it is still early hours yet, and anything can change either for the better, which we hope, or for the worst which we fear,” Mr. Skerrit stated.
Meanwhile, the state of emergency and curfew will be implemented on Sunday so as to ensure that the lawlessness and looting which occurred after Hurricane Maria will not repeat itself.
“Let me say to the population very seriously that we will not tolerate any lawlessness on Dominica from anyone,” the Prime Minister warned.
“Let me tell you something, we will not tolerate lawlessness from anyone in Dominica, and the state will take proactive and pre-emptive measures to ensure that that which happened after [Hurricane] Maria that there will not be even one incident of it, far more many incidents of it,” he emphasized.
The Cabinet, he added, is waiting to be advised in writing by the Chief of Police regarding the state of emergency and curfew and “will give you later today the precise time when it will come into effect tomorrow”.
Based on advice from the Office of Disaster Management and from the Dominica Meteorological Service we will start seeing signs of the storm from around midday Sunday, or later, going into Monday.
“But anybody; it could be a priest, you could be a pastor, you could be an employee of the state, if you have no business being out during the curfew hours, you will be picked up,” Mr. Skerrit warned.
He however noted that emergency personnel and those who are employed with essential service institutions will be exempted.
The Prime Minister also commended the Met Office, the Office of Disaster Management and the National Emergency Planning Organization (NEPO) for the level of seriousness with which they have taken their tasks. He said this indicates that “we have learnt from our experiences”.
Chief of Police Daniel Carbon, who also addressed Saturday’s press conference, reminded business owners that it is their “fundamental right” to secure their properties and businesses.
Last year, a number of businesses relied on the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force to ensure the safety and security of their businesses, but many were the victims of looting.
With respect to emergency shelters, these will be opened from 6AM on Sunday 8 July 2018, Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Shelters, Glenroy Toussaint announced at the press conference.
The public is advised to move into those shelters early and avoid waiting until the weather conditions deteriorate.
However, Mr. Toussaint advised persons who wish to be accommodated at the shelters of the need to walk with essential supplies and necessities including prescribed medications.
“We want the general public to understand that in those shelters there are no beds and mattresses and food waiting for you,” he said.
“Do not come to the shelter with your hands swinging and expect that the shelters are equipped with beds and food and those supplies,” he continued.
According to Mr. Toussaint, one of the lessons learnt from Hurricane Maria is that some people “simply stroll to the shelters and expect that they will be comforted with items”.
“No, that’s not the case, and we’re calling on the general public that if you’re going to the shelter you come with at least some water, some food, at least a flash light, and that sort of thing so that you can at least be secure for a few hours,” Mr. Toussaint advised.
The Ministry of Health and Social Services also reported during the press conference that its disaster plan and necessary standards of operation are in place and fully activated to respond to this impending disaster.
Director of Primary Health Care Services, Dr. Laura Esprit informed that they are prepared to care for the health needs of the population in the event that we are impacted.
“Adequate medical supplies are in stock including our pharmaceuticals, oxygen, and other medical supplies both at the district level as well as the Princess Margaret Hospital. All emergency disaster boxes have been replenished, secured and placed in strategic areas,” Dr. Esprit said.
In addition, she informed that all the districts as well as the Princess Margaret Hospital are equipped with functional HF radios for ease of communication between the various facilities.
Meanwhile, the Dominica Water and Sewerage Company (DOWASCO) will be closing all water supply systems from 6PM today Saturday as part of preparations for Hurricane Beryl.
Public relations officer of the DOWASCO, Edward Registe said the company has activated its disaster preparedness plan in an effort to secure the water supply systems around the country.
In light of this, all storage tanks have been filled to ensure that there is water supply for as long as is possible.
However, Mr. Registe said it is anticipated that there could be heavy rainfall which could result in severe turbidity.
Current rainfall amount projected for Dominica, as per the Dominica Meteorological Service, “is between 4 to 6 inches (100 to 150mm) with higher amounts in elevated areas”.
“Therefore a decision has been taken to shut down all water systems from 6PM on Saturday 7 July until further notice,” Mr. Registe said.
Residents and citizens are therefore reminded to store enough water for drinking as well as domestic purposes before 6PM today.
On Friday Hurricane Beryl was located east of the Lesser Antilles but is expected to weaken as it approaches the islands. The Met Office said it will affect Dominica as a Tropical Depression or Tropical Storm between Sunday and Monday.
The EEP program has now come to a close. Therefore, a Focus Group Series was launched by the NEP with the support of the UNDP under the theme: Lessons Learned from the Emergency Employment Programme (EEP). The first two meetings were held in Portsmouth on Thursday June 28th for the Northern communities.
Local government representatives, Community Employment Assistants and NEP interns participated in focus group meetings to discuss the lessons learned and identify the best practices from the EEP. There were 12 participants from the communities of Cottage, Tan-Tan, Portsmouth, Dublanc, Penville and Calibishie.
The UNDP Dominica Project Office is a part of the Regional Sub-Office of Barbados and the OECS. The Team’s presence is part of the UNDPs response to the significant damage sustained from Hurricane Maria.
UNDP works in about 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. We help countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results.
Heather Chisholm, 15, lands Kurt Hahn Prize for her innovative plan to provide school for Caribbean island
A 15-year-old girl from Rothesay, N.B., has won an international education award for her work to create a pre-school building from retired shipping containers for the Caribbean island of Dominica, devastated last year by Hurricane Maria.
Heather Chisholm, a Grade 10 student at Rothesay Netherwood School, came up with the idea last summer, inspired in part by the Area 506 Festival in Saint John, which featured a shipping container village.
Since then, she has secured shipping containers with the help of a local businessman, worked with local architects, engineers and tradespeople on design plans, developed a budget and timeline and recruited 24 classmates to help with everything from fundraising to gathering furnishings, equipment and school supplies.
All this while juggling a rigorous academic program and demanding athletic schedule.
Determination to dream big
“Heather is an amazing individual and she very much deserves this award,” said her former art teacher Tia Saley, who has been working with her on the Schools for Schools project, and nominated her for the Round Square Kurt Hahn Prize.
The prize is awarded annually to a student or group of students within Round Square’s network of about 180 schools in 50 countries, in recognition of “an exceptional act of service to others.”
“It’s about the ideals of Round Square, which are internationalism, democracy, environmentalism, adventure, leadership and service. And this project embodies all of those things, as does Heather,” said Saley.
In her nomination form, she described Heather as “an individual with a huge heart and sheer guts and determination to dream big and then to work hard to make that inconceivable dream someone else’s reality.”
Heather, who will be formally recognized at a ceremony in Montreal in September, says dreaming comes easily to students like her — “because we have so many opportunities.”
She hopes her shipping container school will give children on the small island nation of Dominica a place where they can “dream a little bit.
“I want people to be able to have that opportunity and have an area where they can kind of picture who they want to be … a place where kids can just kind of get away from any of the stresses or any of the struggles in their lives and be inspired.”
Dominica is still recovering from Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm that delivered winds of 260 km/h, torrential downpours and intense storm surges last September.
It destroyed thousands of homes, knocked out power, contaminated water supplies and decimated crops.
At least 32 people were killed, another 37 went missing.
It’s easy to dream and it’s easy to think about all the things that you could do, but … to see that it can actually take form is pretty inspiring. – Heather Chrisholm, Student
Heather had only started sharing her idea for a shippable school when the hurricane hit and didn’t yet have a destination selected.
Once she heard reports about the damage in Dominica, where some former RNS students were from, her mind was made up.
“It really just fit and was good timing,” she said.
“From there, it’s really grown and kind of taken on its own life and become really inspiring.”
Teachers, classmates, local companies and community members have all donated their time, expertise and resources toward the project.
The plan is to convert and customize either two 40-foot containers or three 20-foot containers into a pre-school for up to 40 children in the Kalinago Territory, which is the home to the last of the indigenous people of the Caribbean.
“The shipping containers, originally built to withstand 100 mile an hour winds and 50-foot waves, are tough [and] durable making them an ideal shell for a classroom in tropical Dominica,” Round Square said of Heather’s plan.
It is also an eco-friendly solution, repurposing about 3,500 kilograms of steel per container, Round Square noted.
“The customised shipping containers will offer a safe and much needed learning space for children affected by the storm.”
Heather prefers the larger option — two 40-foot containers — but says it might require more assembly upon arrival and she doesn’t want to burden the community of about 2,500 people, or the local groups backing the project which are the Waitukubili Kairifuna Development Agency (WAIKADA) and Aywasi Kalinago Retreat.
Comeau McKenzie Architecture, Fundy Engineering and First Choice Ventilation are helping to finalize the best design and materials.
“We want to make it a really great place for kids to learn,” a hands-on space where the children, aged three and four, can move around and work together, said Heather.
“The goal is to have it kind of in a way that it can be almost rolled out,” with any necessary equipment packed inside.
The structure, which will be bolted to a concrete slab on a two-acre plot, will also serve other functions, such as a community centre and training facility for teachers, “so it’s going to be a really adaptable space,” she said.
Heather envisions having a reception area, a small kitchenette, outside washrooms and a shower hose.
“We’re also hoping — this is kind of a big one — but we want to make it really eco-friendly and kind of off the grid,” using either solar or wind energy so it can be self-reliant.
Still needs $13K
About $7,000 of the $20,000 funding-raising goal has been achieved through a variety of events, including a Grade 10 Farmers’ Market, candy grams for Valentine’s Day and a broadway music show called Broadway Revue, scheduled for May 27, at 7 p.m. at the RNS theatre.
Heather and her team are also seeking donated furnishings, such as tables, chairs and rugs, equipment, such as laptops and printers, and school supplies, such as books and pencils.
She initially hoped to have the school up and running by this fall, but is now aiming to ship the containers by April 2019, giving the teachers plenty of time to set up and settle in by September 2019.
Reflecting on the past year, Heather said “the whole process has been pretty incredible.
“It started off as just an idea and something I kind of thought, ‘Oh you know, that would be cool.’ But so many people have stepped up and the school has been really supportive.
“It’s easy to dream and it’s easy to think about all the things that you could do, but … to see that it can actually take form is pretty inspiring.”
Whitney Greenaway is a New York-based poet who was recently featured on the “Brief but Spectacular” segment on PBS NewsHour! We’ve highlighted this Dominican artist before and continue to be amazed at her progress in the world of the Arts!
Her provocative poem is entitled “The Purging” and speaks of men from all angles, good, the bad and the ugly. Here’s the poem in its entirety:
There is the man I love, and there is the man who loves me, and there is the man I love because he loves me.
There is the man I took the morning-after pill for, and there is the man whose baby I kept, and there is the man whose baby I let go. There is the man born on the cusp of summer, and there is the man whose heart was made for a fall or six.
There is the man who holds my hand on the train, and there is the man who won’t even sit next to me there. There is the man I wish was my father, and there is the man who talks to me like he is. And there is the man, who when I was 16, invited me into his and my mother’s bedroom. And there is the man who taught me to forgive it.
There is the man who forgot my name, and there is the man who doesn’t know I have one. There is the man who takes my picture, and there is the man who, when I take a pretty picture, says nothing. And there is the man who says I only take pretty pictures, and there is the man who doesn’t believe that.
There is the man who has a wife, and there is the man who had a wife, and there is the man who is getting married, and there is the man who says bride is such a delicate word, and I am anything but delicate. And there is the man who says he is OK with being my husband, which is not the same as saying that he wants to be.
There is the man who tells me the way I need is unhealthy, without addressing that the way that he takes is also to my detriment. There is the man who has never taken me out, and there is the man who is always filling me in. There is the man who asks me to keep his secrets, and there is the man who has made me a public secret, and what is more skillful than that?
There is the man who says he loves my size, and there is the man who doesn’t mention it, and I find it hard to trust him, because how dare he treat me like how much space I take up in the bed has nothing to do with our relationship?
There is the man I feed sancoche, and there is the man I feed green smoothies, and there is the man I feed lies. There is the man who goes to church, and there is the man who doesn’t believe in God, and there is the man who believes in me.
There is the man whose mother still asks for me, and there is the man whose father is dead, and there is the man who tells me family is a foreign country, and who wants to stand in line for a visa you may not get approved for anyway?
There is the man who says he will never forget me, as if that is some kind of prize, to be chosen only to exist in memory. There is the man who says he will always love me, and that is still only a temporary comfort. And there is the man who says he will never leave. And there is no man who has kept his promise.
The 2018 edition of the Dominica Film Challenge is scheduled to run from May to July. Six teams have qualified as finalists, and the Challange was officially launched by the Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) on June 15.
The teams are:
– Armani Augustine and Garvin Leblanc
– Derek Galon and Margaret Gajek
– Sheldon Casimir and Norris Francois
– Marica Honeychurch and Arnaud Chabert
– Tridel Edwin and Elias Dupuis
– Ericson Joseph and Kreig Harris
Throughout this week, a few teams have given sneak peeks into their creation process via social media. Check them out below!
1Sheldon and Norris
From left to right: Sheldon, Whitney and Norris
“Today we say down with poet Whitney ‘Witness’ Greenaway to talk about our ideas for the#DominicaChallenge. Words are important.”
Whitney Greenaway is a talented Dominican poet, based in the United States. Check out one of her amazing performances here.
2Marica and Arnaud
Lost in a field of dasheen!
“It’s always important to show the agricultural part of our island – from source to table. A fun time capturing moments for the film challenge.”
3Derek and Margaret
Filming between walls of narrow canyon with my drone, without GPS signal, with plenty of wind and water in the air from a waterfall takes a bit of nerves and self-control… (Derek Galon)
“We were invited by Discover Dominica Authority to take part in this year’s Film Challenge. As one of 6 teams we are producing a short movie about Dominica’s natural attractions in post-hurricane era. This work sends us to places we did not know before – some are amazing!”
4Tridel and Elias
Making the best of a rainy day (Elias, Tridel and team)