Crime Stoppers Dominica Continues to Urge Public to Keep Safe Ahead of Carnival


images_crimestoppersdominicaCrime Stoppers Dominica (CSD) is continuing to urge the public to take action to keep Dominica safe.

The public is reminded that in addition to providing a safe medium for reporting crime anonymously, Crime Stoppers Dominica advocates crime prevention practices on how the public can avoid becoming victims of criminal behavior.

We recognize the propensity for an increase in incidents of crime during festive seasons; therefore, CSD is urging the public to be responsible in securing your homes and property during this year’s carnival season. Parents are encouraged to ensure that children are adequately supervised and are in the company of responsible guardians at all times. Homeowners and business owners too must ensure that your homes/businesses are secured to deter potential criminals from performing acts of burglary and/or theft of your belongings.

By reducing the prospects for offenders committing criminal acts, or by making a situation or environment less attractive to offenders, criminal behavior can be reduced.

Crime Stoppers Dominica takes this opportunity to thank its many corporate sponsors for your contributions in helping us remain afloat as well as all our media partners, the Dominica Festivals Committee, the Dominica Calypso Association and organizers of Mr. Caribbean for helping in the promotion of the Crime Stoppers hotline. We also wish everyone a safe Mas Dominik 2016.

CSD also thanks the public for their support in our crime prevention and solving efforts and we continue to urge the public to “speak up” about incidents of crime being committed by calling the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-8477 or submit a tip online at Since its launch in 2012, Crime Stoppers has had success having registered over 1,000 calls from which there were 100+ valid tips leading to 20 arrests.

All information provided is strictly confidential. Calls from all cell phones and landlines are absolutely free and no names are required. Calls and online tips are handled by a Call Centre based in Canada and there is no Caller ID.

How Crime Stoppers Works
If you have information of a criminal activity, whether it has already happened, is in progress or is going to happen.

• Call 1-800-TIPS [8477] and give the operator the information or go online at and click the “Submit Tip button”. Do not give your name.

• Your call is answered by a professionally trained attendant at a call center outside of Dominica. The call is free, it is confidential and there is no caller ID. The information is then transmitted through Crime Stoppers Dominica to the Police and acted upon.

About Crime Stoppers International
Founded in 1976, Crime Stoppers has more than 1,200 programmes in more than 25 countries. Tips have led to just under 1,000,000 arrests being made with billions of dollars of property and drugs being recovered thanks to Tips from Crime Stoppers. Crime Stoppers is not interested in your identity, only the information you have on a crime!

Crime Stoppers is a community-based, non-profit organization managed by a civilian board of directors. It is a partnership between the Community, the Media and Law Enforcement. The mandate is to “Work Together to solve and Prevent Crime”.



PAHO Wants Political Commitment and More Resources to Fight Zika



More resources are urgently needed to fight the spread of the zika virus in the Americas and the apparently related increase in microcephaly and other complications, the director of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) told ministers of health on Wednesday in a meeting convened by the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), in Montevideo, Uruguay.

All countries in the Americas need to allocate new resources to step up mosquito control efforts, prepare their health services for an increase in demand, carry out public education campaigns and track the spread of Zika and increases in suspected complications of the virus, including microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome. “This work will require tangible and explicit support from the highest political levels,” Dr Carissa Etienne told ministers of health at the meeting.

Later, in remarks to reporters, Etienne announced a new PAHO strategy to help countries mitigate the impact of zika by strengthening their abilities to detect the introduction and spread of the virus, reduce mosquito populations, ensure the necessary healthcare services, and effectively communicate with the public on risks and prevention measures. To implement this strategy, PAHO is seeking an initial $8.5 million from the international community to support country efforts.

The special meeting of Latin American ministers of health came just two days after WHO’s declaration of a public health emergency of international concern due to clusters of microcephaly in areas with zika circulation. To date, Brazil has reported more than 3,000 suspected cases of microcephaly, which are currently under investigation.

Etienne said gaps in knowledge about zika should not delay action to fight the virus.

“One fact of which we are unequivocally sure is that the zika virus — like dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever viruses — is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito,” said Etienne. “The most effective control measures are the prevention of mosquito bites and the reduction of mosquito populations.” This points to action by governments, but in addition, “communities, families and individuals must be effectively mobilized to undertake the very critical work of eliminating mosquito breeding sites, including derelict vehicles, discarded tires, uncovered water barrels and other containers.”

Etienne appealed for special attention to the needs of women of child-bearing age, and particularly women in low-income communities, who often lack access to the information and health services they need to protect themselves.

“The reality is that large numbers of women in our region lack access to sex education and effective methods of contraception,” said Etienne. “It is highly probable that these same women may live under conditions of vulnerability, in neighborhoods where, for example, housing and environmental conditions provide an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, consequently increasing their potential exposure to mosquito bites. We must, therefore, make every effort to invest resources in comprehensive reproductive health services.”

Health leaders pledge new action

Following the meeting, the ministers of health of MERCOSUR and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) issued a joint declaration pledging to improve their countries’ mosquito-control strategies by drawing on recent experience and by simultaneously targeting not only zika but other mosquito-borne viruses, especially dengue and chikungunya.

Ministers called on PAHO/WHO to support their efforts with direct technical cooperation, promote south-south cooperation and develop protocols and guidelines on surveillance, risk communication and clinical management, through a technical team in the region.

To date, 26 countries and territories of the Americas have reported local transmission of zika virus infection. The hemisphere’s first local cases appeared on Chile’s Easter Island in February 2014 and, in May 2015, Brazil reported the first locally transmitted cases on the American continent.

PAHO/WHO has been collaborating with Brazilian health authorities, mobilizing its own staff and external experts through the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) and has carried out technical missions to other member countries. PAHO has been providing countries with guidance on surveillance and clinical management of zika cases, laboratory detection of the virus, vector control, surveillance of microcephaly and other neurological syndromes, and risk communication.

In early March 2016, PAHO/WHO will host a meeting of research partners, including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Pasteur Institute and the Oswald Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), among others, to develop a research agenda to address the gaps in knowledge and evidence about zika and its health effects.

-Caribbean News Now

DSS Celebrates 40 Years


social supportThe Dominica Social Security is proud to celebrate its 40th anniversary but with a spirit of thanksgiving.

A few public education activities have been planned to celebrate this achievement including a church service on the anniversary day: Sunday, February 1st.

GIS News spoke with the deputy director of DSS, Augustus Etienne on Tuesday, February 2nd.
“We thought it was a moment to pause to give thanks to God for all what DSS has been able to accomplish for the last 40 years but also…to commend the future of institution to the Lord. Also, to celebrate the contributions that everyone has made to bring the programme to where it is so far.”

The theme for this year’s anniversary is ‘40 Years of Dedicated Service and Stability- Committed to Securing Future Generations.’

He said to GIS News, “We have done certain things in the past and done it very well, even dedicated service but there is a mandate to provide future generations with that same level of security and hence the connection to securing future generations.”

An open day and health fair took place at the Portsmouth office on Wednesday and again on the last Friday of the month, contributors can visit the main office in Roseau to check their contributions.

“While it is true that employers are mandated under the law to deduct and pay contributions of their workers, not all employers make the payments. If the employees make it a duty to come and check from time to time they might discover that while their payments are being deducted from their salaries, they are not always being paid to the DSS.”

Town hall meetings will take place throughout the year all across the island.

He said, “We recognise the importance of people understanding the role of social security… it will make our work easier for us. So education and public information will be done during the course of the year.”

Over the years, the Dominica Social Security has played an integral role in the development of Dominica and provided reliable income protection for contributors.

It has therefore recorded a significant number of achievements-first and foremost, its stability and reliability.
“Our pensioners say that the DSS is the best thing that has ever happened [to them]. It is so good that the payments go to their accounts ahead of time. You can always depend on it,” he says.

The DSS has also been working for its future by making investments to supplement the fund.

Currently, the organisation collects contributions at a rate of 12.5% percent but makes payments up to 60%.

“Over the life of the programme, we have made many investments. Through financial institutions, we have made loans available for building houses and studies but we have also made direct investments in Government and bodies like DOWASCO for infrastructural projects.”

He listed the children’s ward at the PMH, the refurbishment of the Woodbridge Bay Port , Louisville Housing Project, Salisbury Water expansion Project and more recently the construction fo the La Plaine and Calibishie Police Stations.

At this stage in the organisation’s life, all it wants is for Dominicans to appreciate the invaluable service of the DSS.

“We have employers who are engaging persons to work and we are protecting the employees from things that can happen while they are at work and in some ways even absolving the employers of responsibilities by virtue of their participation in social security.”

He described an example of an employer sustaining injuries at work but the employer is absolved by paying social security contributions. The DSS pays the benefits to the incapacitated employee instead of the employer bearing the full cost of doing so.

“If Social Security was not there, the responsibility would fall to the employer and even if they are willing to, they may not be able to afford to.”


DSC To Launch Agri-business Entrepreneurship Program

Dominica State College Campus at Stockfarm

Friday, 22nd January, 2016 will be another memorable day for the Dominica State College (DSC). It is the day when the College will launch its first ever Agri-business Entrepreneurship Programme at a ceremony to be addressed by leading stakeholders of the agri-business industry, DSC Administration, CARICOM – Education for Employment Project official and leadership of the Dominica TVET Council.

This innovative programme is a departure from the regular general agriculture courses offered by the college over the years. It was designed in partnership with the Dalhousie University of Canada for people in the agriculture value chain who wish to develop or increase their production of agriculture products and services that can be marketed to generate and manage profit. This includes using sustainable principles for primary production, processing, marketing, sales and or procurement.

Throughout the programme, candidates will develop a product from inception to market, utilizing skills all along the value chain.

A critical outcome of the programme will be individuals persons who are self-motivated, self-starters with the skills to be sustainably self-employed, and able to provide employment to further develop agriculture in Dominica.

This evening programme is developed primarily for candidates who have completed the current agriculture sciences program or have the necessary agriculture production knowledge and skills to develop a product for sale and secondly for existing small business owners, farmers and processors who have production skills in one or more commodities and wish to develop their business and entrepreneurial skills to create a successful enterprise.

Some of the main modules in the programme are:
• Occupational Health and Safety
• Choosing Products or Services
• Management of Physical and Financial Assets and Liabilities of the Business
• Management of Human Resources
• Delivery of Customer Service
DSC, through this programme, provides evidence of its dedication to widening the landscape for professional career opportunities in Dominica and the Region by extension.


DHTA Board Issues Statement on Suspected Homicide


pThe DHTA Board has released a statement on the suspected homicide of a Brazilian national here in Dominica.

The DHTA is gravely concerned about the suspected homicide of a Brazilian national in the Hodges area, located between Calibishie and Woodford Hill. This incident is one in a series of recent crimes in which alleged burglaries, robberies and violent attacks on residents and visitors have occurred. DHTA urges all Dominicans to cooperate with law enforcement and to report any information that may help answer questions about this or any other crime.

The DHTA encourages its members and all other hoteliers and tourism service providers to take precautions to protect lives and businesses. DHTA will continue its efforts to advocate for stronger and more consistent police presence and law enforcement measures following incidents, and for greater focus on initiatives to deter crime. The Association urges Government and the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force to strengthen and increase its crime prevention initiatives, with the necessary technology and human resource support.

Crime poses a significant threat to a thriving tourism industry for Dominica. If tourism is everybody’s business, we all must work together and be proactive about crime prevention. This includes advocacy and public education on safety and security, investment in programs for youth employment and entrepreneurship, training and professional development for police officers and other security personnel and public accountability and adherence to the saying “If you see something, say something.”

DHTA commends all efforts by the police to respond quickly and efficiently to criminal activity and acknowledges their ongoing work to ensure public safety. We will continue to provide the necessary support to maintain a crime-free tourist destination. More importantly, the DHTA will support all initiatives to make Dominica a safe place for all residents to live comfortably.

The DHTA urges the public to assist the police with the on-going investigations. Anyone with information on any crime should report it to the police or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIPS [8477]. The call to Crime Stoppers is free, safe, secure and confidential/anonymous.

The Dominica Hotel & Tourism Association is a non-profit organization providing centralized and innovative information, advocacy, and leadership for the tourism industry in Dominica.


Statement from Chief Medical Officer on Zika Virus


dThe following is a statement on the Zika virus by Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Johnson

1. Background
Zika has been identified in several countries in Central and South America including Venezuela, Mexico and Panama. More recently in Suriname, Puerto Rico and Martinique.

Zika was first isolated in 1947 in the Zika forest in Uganda.
The first documented outbreak outside of Africa and Asia was in 2007 on the Pacific island of Yap

There is an ongoing outbreak in Brazil since May 2015

2. Incubation Period and Transmission
Zika virus belongs to the same family of viruses as dengue and chikungunya and is predominantly transmitted via the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito but may also be transmitted via blood transfusion, from mother to unborn baby and also through sexual intercourse. It takes 3 to 12 days from exposure to onset of signs and symptoms.

3. Signs and Symptoms
As many as 3 out of 4 infected persons may not have any signs and symptoms. Those who feel ill present with fever, rash, muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and sometimes red eyes. This is very similar to dengue or chikungunya.

4. Complications of Zika Virus Infection
While the majority of cases of Zika virus infections will resolve without difficulty in 2 to 7 days, some patients my go on to develop a problem with the nervous system called Guillain-Barre Syndrome. These patients present with worsening weakness in the body and require hospitalization. If the muscles of respiration are affected they would need management in the Intensive Care Unit.

The other major complication being reported by Brazil and French Polynesia is babies being born with poor brain development identified by their smaller than normal heads or microcephaly.

The Ministry of The Ministry of Health and Environment has been in close communication with the PAHO/WHO and CARPHA in monitoring the situation in the region and is on full alert and has put together a Plan of Action for the prevention and control of Zika.

The Plan of Action focuses
• Surveillance and laboratory detection
• Source reduction of the mosquitoes
• An aggressive public education campaign to reduce the presence of the mosquito that transmits this disease and empowers persons to protect themselves against bites from mosquitoes.
• clinical management

5. Surveillance and Laboratory Detection
The fact that so many people can have the illness without feeling ill makes it very likely that Zika will enter Dominica undetected. Blood samples of suspected cases will be sent to CARPHA for testing.

6. Prevention and Control of Zika Virus Infection
The focus of prevention and controlling Zika must focus
1. Source reduction of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes( vector control and prevention)
2. Empowers the public to prevent themselves from being bitten( Public Education Campaign)
6.1. Aggressively reducing the population of Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes in Dominica
An intense and sustained campaign aimed at reducing the breeding Aedes aegypti mosquito is required to minimize the risk to Dominicans posed by Zika. There are lessons to be learnt from the 2014-2015 Chikungunya epidemic. This means
• Mobilizing the community for reduction (removal of potential breeding materials such as tires, old refrigerators etc.)
• Treating breeding sites with biological measures (e.g. fish) or chemical means (e.g. oil on stagnant water)
• Fogging of areas where indices are high in populated areas or where cases are found

6.2. Empowering the Public to Protect Themselves
Persons must take all necessary actions to minimize the risk of being bitten by infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. This is particularly important for women who may in the first trimester (first three months) of pregnancy. This includes
• wearing of long sleeve shirts and long pants and
• the use of mosquito nets
• the use of mosquito repellants
• ‘Mosquito proofing’ homes and other buildings by installation of mosquito screens

7. Significance for Dominica
• Epidemics similar to dengue and possibly Chikungunya can be expected
• Potential for large outbreaks since mosquito indices are high and the population is naïve to Zika infection
• Possible increased burden on existing health-care system and social services
• Neurological complications esp. in pediatric population
• Could potentially affect economy including tourism

The Ministry of Health and Environment will continue to keep the public informed about Zika and urges everyone to pay close attention to the messages that will be disseminated in the coming days and weeks.

A hotline number is available to receive further information or advice. The hotline number is 1 767 448 2151.

Carnival Beauty Pageants in Preparation


pageant crownsAs the Waitukubuli Dance Theatre Company celebrates 45 years in January 2016, the organisation is also preparing to host the 39th edition of the Miss Teen Dominica Pageant.

The pageant will be held under the theme ‘Celebrating the Dream’.

This theme will also carry the Waitukubuli Dance Theater Company through its 45th anniversary celebrations.

Seven contestants from seven secondary schools across Dominica will vie for the title of Miss Teen Dominica 2016.

The pageant is carded for Sunday, January 31st, 2016.

The Rotaract Club of Roseau is also celebrating a milestone – 30 years as an organisation and almost 30 years of presenting the Carnival Princess Show.

Six participants from primary schools across the island will participate in the event carded for Sunday January 24th, at the Harlem Plaza in Newtown.

Another feature pageant of the festive season is the Carnival Mother’s Queen Pageant which is slated for January 30th at the Arawak House of Culture

Mas Jamboree, a pageant organised by the Dominica State College is also on this season.

The competition is carded for February 4th 2016.


Carnival Sunshine Makes First Trip to Dominica


Carnival_SunshineThe Carnival Sunshine made its first call to Dominica on Saturday December 5th.

The Hon. Minister for Tourism, Senator Robert Tonge and other officials from the Ministry of Tourism were delighted to officially welcome the ship and carnival cruise line back to the island
In his remarks at the welcome ceremony, the Hon. Minister for Tourism informed that Government and other tourism stakeholders continue to work together to ensure that visitors enjoy the true Dominica experience.

“We welcome you in a very big and we look forward to Carnival Cruise lines coming to Dominica on a more frequent basis. The Government of Dominica sees this as very important and we are listening as much as possible to what you have to say so we can make the necessary changes for a great experience. It is not about just sitting on the beach; it’s about immersing oneself in the nature and culture of the country so that when they return home, guests have a story to tell.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Dominica Air and Seaport Authority, Benoit Bardouille described Dominica’s relationship with Carnival as a marriage.

He too expressed elation over the line’s return to the island.

Keira Thomson-Aird represented the ship’s agent, Whitchurch Travels.

She told the Captain that Carnival’s visit in 1989 kicked off Dominica’s cruise industry “because wherever Carnival went, everybody wanted to go.”

This wasn’t the captain’s first trip to Dominica.

Captain Salvatore Messina shared, “Thirty years ago I was here and I love this place. I had the opportunity to meet Mr. [Nicholas] Liverpool, the deceased former President. He used to come cruise with us.

“It’s a good change for us and for Carnival,” he said.

As is customary, plaques and tokens were exchanged to commemorate the event.

Carnival Sunshine has a guest capacity of about 3,000 and 1000 crew.

The ship moved on to St. Lucia following its visit to Dominica.


PM in Dubai for Series of High-level Meetings


sRoosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, is spending two days in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) strengthening economic and political ties with one of the fastest growing and most strategically important countries in the Middle East.

He will be meeting investors in various sectors from Dubai and the rest of the Middle East, in a bid to bring much needed Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) to Dominica to create jobs, stimulate economic activity and to help in the post Erika reconstruction.

He will also be addressing a conference of Service Providers of Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Programme in Dubai, arranged by Range Developments, the developer of the Cabrits Kempinski Resort, which will be built on Douglas Bay in Cabrits on the north shore of the island, close to the town of Portsmouth.


DAIC Donates to Local Charities


daicOn Friday, December 4, 2015, two local charities received monetary donations from the Dominica Association of Industry & Commerce (DAIC). The Dominica National Council of Women (DNCW) and Community Hostels Incorporated, parent body of the Grotto Home for the Homeless received EC $4,500.00 and EC$3,500.00 respectively.

Upon receipt of a donation from Houston, Texas based Wood Group Mustang, the DAIC identified the local charities as suitable to pass on the donations to. Recognizing that women and children are amongst the most vulnerable groups impacted during disasters, and as stressed in the recent Development Partners Conference held in late October, the DAIC identified a project of the DNCW as ideal. Monies donated to this charity will support an initiative to provide food and transportation for displaced students of single mothers. The DNCW, serves as an umbrella organization for women’s groups in Dominica and is playing a key role in improving the socio-economic situation of families within specific priority communities on a timely basis.

Given that women tend to have fewer assets to rely on, the DAIC sees the donation as a chance to strengthen this sector of the population as no matter how small or large a contribution, each will work toward improving socio-economic security in the long term.

Ms. Vania David, President of DNCW was pleased that the DAIC felt the need to contribute towards women in Dominica. She recognized that Private Sector has done, and continues to do, a great deal for the country and its communities and how much the communities of Dominica depend on the Private Sector. She thanked the DAIC on behalf of the DNCW promising that it would be put into good use.

The Grotto Home was also identified as a recipient of a donation by the DAIC. The UN / UNICEF highlighted in their preliminary assessment post TS Erika that elderly with disabilities data was hard to compile as there is no database. The DAIC is concerned about the impact this has on socio-economic status and focuses attention on those organizations which seek to accommodate and care for these individuals.

The DAIC is aware of the need to move into their facility at Stockfarm and hope that in addition to other private sector donations, this may add to the realisation of this move.

Mr. Ainsworth Irish, President of the Grotto Home expressed that “the world is built for everyone to live in,” thanking the DAIC and the Private Sector for coming to the rescue once again. With thirty-six residents to care for and feed as well as the “Soup Kitchen” initiative to feed over 40 vagrants every evening, expenses increase and subventions cannot meet needs. Mr. Irish was at a loss for words to express how deeply he and those involved in the Grotto Home felt.

In a private handover President Jeffrey Baptiste explained the DAIC’s selection of these two entities, noting that the DNCW plays an important role in supporting women and that it’s initiative to assist 16 female single headed household affected by Tropical Storm Erika was commendable.

In addition, “We are particularly touched by the significant challenges confronting the Management of the Grotto home to house and care for the near 40 residents of the facility and commit the DAIC’s fullest support to fast track the completion of new enhanced residence at Stockfarm…” stated Mr. Baptiste.