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About Dominica

Details About Dominica

THE ORGANISATION OF EASTERN CARIBBEAN STATES (OECS) - THE EASTERNMOST CLUSTER OF PEARLS IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA.

The islands of the Caribbean, fondly referred to as 'the islands' comprise Spanish speaking, French speaking and English speaking people reflecting a melting pot of races living peacefully in mostly vibrant democracies with stable economies.

The OECS sub-region comprises the islands of Anguilla, Antigua, Dominica, Grenada and Carriacou, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines, all former British colonies, and members of the British Commonwealth of Nations. In the throes of modernization, they offer the visitor a rich cultural pot pourri in a relaxed environment, which makes them a truly enriching experience for the international investor.

The islands are endowed with climatic conditions, beaches and rivers, which allow the visitor a wide choice of nature activities, including underwater dive experiences among the best in the world. In this habitat can be found some of the longest living people on earth, including 126 year-old "Ma Pampo" in Portsmouth Dominica. Additionally, in Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines can be found reservations of some of the very few indigenous people left in the world - Carib Indians who are descendants of the natives met by Christopher Columbus, the sailor from Genoa Italy, who opened up contact between the islands and Europe in the 15th Century.

ECONOMICS
Given their small open economies, these islands have a track record in trading with the world, and business is a natural part of the culture. But despite their openness and high ratio of the import bill to GDP these islands do not experience balance of payments crises. In fact, the Eastern Caribbean currency (EC$), which is the legal tender in the OECS islands is one of the strongest currencies in the Caribbean region having been tied at a rate of EC$2.7 to US$1 since 1976.

This unique strength of the EC$ is a direct result of the reserve pooling arrangement of the sub-region necessitated by the multi-state central banking arrangement. The eight (8) OECS islands share one central bank, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), whose success story has made it a model in the Caribbean region. The member economies as a group record gross per capita income averaging US$3,000.

As part of its economic modernization thrust, the OECS sub-region has over the years given priority to developing its greatest endowment - its human resource. The islands can therefore offer a cadre of tertiary level graduates in law, accounts, finance, and administration, and a surplus of highly trainable secondary school level graduates for the provision of support and ancillary services.

Another major component of this economic modernisation and diversification thrust has been the policy decision to liberalise the telecommunications sector, and in that regard Dominica has taken the lead. This initiative has already resulted in substantial lowering of telecommunication rates, a trend which is expected to continue.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL SECTOR IN THE SUB-REGION
The Monetary Authority of the sub-region comprises the ECCB based in St Kitts, and the respective Ministries of Finance in the eight member countries. The Monetary Authority having recognized the pivotal role a stable and developed financial sector must play in the development process, has in recent times, pursued initiatives in that regard including:

  • Establishment of the now thriving Eastern Caribbean Home Mortgage Bank
  • Establishment of the Government Securities Market
  • Establishment of the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange
  • Strengthening of the administrative and regulatory framework to ensure sustainability of the international financial sector.

These initiatives, with the available information technology dynamism, which have added depth to the financial sector in the region, and the existence of the following international banks - Barclays Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, Royal Bank of Canada, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), and Banque Francaise Commerciale have contributed to positioning the sub-region to provide cutting edge financial services to the international investor.

In the process of strengthening the administrative and regulatory framework the Monetary Authority has been sensitive to all of the issues which challenge today's globalised financial market, and has opted for sustainable growth of the sector in the sub-region.

In Dominica for example the choice of sustainable growth rather than rapid unsustainable growth is evident in the recent legislative and other measures introduced. The Money Laundering (Prevention) Act and the Money Laundering (Prevention) Regulations are now law, and several amendments to existing laws were introduced to make it possible to screen out those with undesirable intentions.

The countries of the sub-region are committed to pursuing the development of the international financial sector as an economic diversification option, and as such have been mindful always to safeguard the investors' sacred right to privacy and confidentiality, and are equally committed to doing everything reasonably possible to preserve their good reputation, as this is the surest way of ensuring stability and sustainability of the sector.


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