Frédéric Macias-Detoux: We could not dream of a better place
By Andrea Louis
Dominica's natural rhythm and vibe, coupled with its charming beauty, gently nudge visitors to pause, take a breath, and truly enjoy the present. This is among the things Frédéric Macias-Detoux has come to love about the country he now calls home.
Macias-Detoux, a former quality improvement technician in the watchmaking industry in Switzerland, recalled his initial trip to the Nature Isle over ten years ago.
"I visited Dominica for the first time in 2012 because my wife had heard about the island during the five years she spent working in Guadeloupe. Our plan was to live on a Caribbean Island," he said.
Frédéric, fondly called Fred, is originally from eastern France in Franche-Comté; his wife, Alexandra, is from the west in Brittany. They both ranked Dominica top on their list of islands to visit.
"Our first impression of Dominica was fabulous, a little paradise of nature," Frédéric said. "After 15 days of guided tours, one week in the North, one week in the South, we fell in love."
Macias-Detoux shared with The Sun there were several attributes about the island which solidified their decision to make Dominica home.
"We arrived in 2016 to buy our land after visiting some Caribbean islands like Cuba, Jamaica, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and the Grenadines," Fred explained, "Dominica was a total change of scenery, just two hours and fifteen minutes from a French island. The language, culture and nature here, we couldn't dream of a better place," he said.
Their time in Dominica has also played a key role in the positive development of the couple's daughter.
"When we arrived, our daughter was three years old; she is now in grade 6, and at ten years old, she doesn't even remember France," he said. "Her country is Dominica."
As the island continued to develop, Fred noticed some changes around the country.
"After seven years here, the big changes we are seeing are the evolution of infrastructure such as roads, new villages (Petitte Savanne relocated to Bellevue Chopin), hotels, supermarkets, hospitals, and soon geothermal energy, an airport and cable car," he added.
Gradually, Fred and his family created a comfortable home and ran a business which supported one of Dominica's main development pillars.
"We arrived in Dominica with just our suitcase and now have our land with our little house, an Airbnb bungalow, and our 3 Little Birds snack bar," Frédéric added.
Dominica is making a strong push towards growing its stayover visitors; however, Macias-Detoux, also in the hospitality sector, revealed the numbers have yet to grow in his area.
"We have not noticed more tourists than before; our customers often tell us they come across the same tourists several times during their stay," she said.
The entrepreneur also thoroughly enjoys interacting with residents of the country.
"Our great wealth is our culture and different know-how that we share daily in our exchanges with Dominicans," Frédéric said.
Despite his contribution to and love for the island, Fred laments he still has no residency status here.
"After seven years and our investment, I still have tourist status, which I renew every three months. I hope one day someone from the government will be interested in the question of personal and cultural investment and not just passport sales programmes, knowing that my investment over the past seven years is largely equivalent to the sale of a passport," Macias-Detoux expounded. "The real question is, 'Is the country favourable to French immigration?"
The couple, desirous of staying, is saddened that the country they poured their heart and energy into may not embrace them as warmly as they had hoped.
"To tell you the truth, we will not be able to financially continue to pay for visas and work permits in the near future," Frédéric added. "All the relevant officials we met told us that returning to our country would be better for us. No matter our know-how. This, even after leaving our country, family, and friends and even giving up our social security! However, we trust in Dominica and stay positive."