Original Reparations Committee
Original Reparations Committee

Baron demands apology from OAS Secretary General

Francine Baron, Dominica's Minister for Foreign and CARICOM Affairs has demanded an apology from Luis Almagro Lemes, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) for what she described as an "inaccurate, false and misleading" tweet.

Following a meeting between Luis Almagro Lemes and Crispin Gregoire, the former ambassador of Dominica to the United Nations, the OAS Secretary General tweeted that he had a meeting with Gregoire in which the former Ambassador expressed concern that Dominica's upcoming general elections will not be free and fair and that Gregoire requested OAS's assistance to level the playing field in the election process in Dominica.

In the letter to Luis Almagro Lemes, Baron argued that Government was in the process of implementing electoral reform. Opposition Leader Lennox Linton said late last week that he asked Gregoire to meet with the OAS Secretary General on his behalf to follow up on letters the opposition wrote to the OAS requesting assistance in effecting electoral reform in Dominica.

Castle Bruce man gets 15 –year jail sentence for manslaughter

Daniel Elton Bannis of Castle Bruce has been sentenced to 15 years in jail after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the May 14, 2013 murder of 74-year-old Julius "Edictor" Joseph of Castle Bruce. On May 14, 2013, Edictor was found dead on the public road near the Castle Bruce secondary school.

In a mitigating plea before the sentencing, defence lawyer Tiyani Behanzin told Justice Charles-Clarke that when the incident occurred six years ago, Bannis was 27 years old, married and had two young children.

"He has not had the chance to bond with his children…his marriage is now on the line; he has been in custody now for over five years. So, we're asking the court to temper justice with mercy in passing sentence," Behanzin said. In response, Justice Charles-Clarke said Edictor was not a threat to Bannis; they were family friends and he had shown no remorse even after his guilty plea.

Afterwards Behanzin said that he was satisfied with the sentence and that the case was a difficult one.

Dominica observes Black History Month

Dr. Damien Dublin, the Chairman of the Dominica Reparations Committee says Black History Month, observed here and several other countries including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom in February, aims at encouraging people to discover their heritage and culture and to be better informed of their history. The theme is "Know Thyself".

"Basically we want to use this month to reflect and find more about the whole African struggle, the Caribbean situation and Kalinago history because the whole black struggle stems from way back. We want people to know that we come from a mighty race and we should be proud," Dublin said.

Collaborating on the effort are the Dominica Reparations Committee, The University of the West Indies (UWI), Dominica Broadcasting Corporation (DBS Radio), House of Nyahbinghi, the National Youth Council (NYC) and the Public Library Services.

Among the activities are: visits to primary, secondary schools and the Dominica State College; a symposium on natural hair as well as skin care, natural living, herbs, fruits and food preparation; cultural performances involving drums, poetry, short story and singing.

Strong 4th Quarter Performance Signals Tourism Recovery, Dominica says

Dominica's tourism officials say the months of October to December 2018 produced arrivals of 22,178 from all source markets, representing 35.3 % of total stay-over arrivals for the year which stood at 62, 828. This is an increase of 95% over the same period in 2017. Increases were registered at 91%, 113% and 78% respectively during the last three months of the year compared to 2017.

In a release, the tourism department added that the quarter also represents a marginal increase of 0.9% over the same period in 2016. November 2018 was the first month to show an increase over the same month in 2016, with an increase of 15.6 % over November 2016. Arrivals amounted to 5,271 which is the highest arrivals for that month over the past 12 years of reported data, representing a record for the destination in that regard. December figures showed that the upswing continued, registering a 6.7 % increase over December 2016 arrivals.

The year-end figure of 62, 828 visitor arrivals, represents a 13% decline over 2017 figures of 72, 228. This performance surpassed the projections given for countries which had suffered a natural disaster of the magnitude of Hurricane Maria during the previous year, as expected declines are normally in the vicinity of 30%. In addition, the 2018 numbers represent only a 20% decline over 2016 arrivals which is also of significance, the release stated.