Business in 2018
After the destruction of Dominica by the 2017 Hurricane Maria, businesses in Dominica continued to struggle, really, really fight for survival, in 2018.
Insurances, for example, fought to keep up with payments to homeowners who claimed compensation for destroyed homes and roofs. An illustration: Government helped First Domestic Insurance Company with EC$5million.
Early in 2018, the Sun reported that $300 million in insurance claims had been paid since Maria.
"[We] have so far paid out $130 million in claims," Merle Lawrence, branch manager of Nagico Insurance Dominica, told The Sun.
It was the largest payout by three leading insurance companies here, in claims from Hurricane Maria.
Hurricane Maria also affected the profits of major businesses in Dominica. For instance, Maria dimmed DOMLEC, the Dominica Electricity Company with losses of EC$9.4 million, it said in its annual report, that it would spend EC$32 million to completely restore services.
On the other hand, imagine the level of profits that the National Bank of Dominica (NBD), would declared in 2018 if Maria did not devastate the island. After two years of losses, the NBD reported a relatively small profit of one-and-a-half million dollars in 2017.
As a response to the widespread looting that occurred in the wake of Hurricane Maria, a number of Dominican business owners sued the Government for alleged negligence and dereliction of duty.
A search by the SUN newspaper showed that eight businesses had hired a respected Dominican law firm to take the matter to court if Government did not settle the issue before that stage.
It appeared that the businesses were left with no choice but to take the matter to the courts. The Government of Dominica had ignored them when they requested an inquiry into post-Maria looting.
"We wrote around October/November (last year) and to date not a response far less an acknowledgement of our letter," said Executive Director of the Dominica Employers Federation (DEF) Achille Joseph who spoke to THE SUN on government's response to a letter that the umbrella private sector organization, the Dominica Business Forum (DBF), wrote requesting the enquiry.
Val "Young Bull" Cuffy left the Dominica Festivals Commission (DFC). In a surprising and dramatic twist, Cuffy quit as festivals and events manager of the DFC after only six to seven months into a two-year contract, over the banning of eight-time Calypso monarch, Dice, from performing at a street festival in Roseau to formally launch the 2018 carnival season.
Bull was not the only "institution" that was vexed with Government in 2018. Dominican truck drivers said a fleet of about 20 trucks bearing the logo "Dominica Strong" that engaged in dredging the Roseau River and elsewhere was like "taking bread from their mouths". The truckers wanted to know who brought them here. The trucks first carried Trinidad & Tobago license plates but soon had Dominican number plates. They are stationed on the grounds of the Massacre playing field.
In 2018 as well the National Cooperative Credit Union Ltd (NCCU) reelected Josephine Dublin to head the Board of Directors as President, supported by Sonia Williams who was elected Vice President. Candia-Carette-George was re-elected Secretary and Gerald Fregiste, Treasurer.
Hundreds of farmers received grants ranging from EC$10,000 to $1,000 from the World Bank.
And most significantly for the business sector in Portsmouth and island-wide Ross University left Dominica for Barbados. More in the "The Economy in 2018" section.