At independence in 1978, Dominica was ruled
by the Labor Party with party leader Patrick John as
head of government. The first time as an independent
nation became stormy.
In 1979, protests erupted against the government's
plans to curtail the activities of trade unions and the
press. Two people were killed by the military and after
a three-week general strike, Prime Minister John was
forced to resign.
List of most commonly used acronyms containing Dominica. Also includes historical, economical and political aspects of the country.
The Conservative Freedom Party won a major victory in
the 1980 election, led by Eugenia Charles, who became
the Caribbean's (Caribbean) first female prime minister.
One of her first steps was to dissolve the defense force
loyal to John. Two failed coups followed. John was
sentenced in 1985 for interference and received 12 years
in prison, but was released after five years.
Charles was one of the then US President Ronald
Reagan's foremost allies in the Caribbean during the
1980s, and Dominica contributed forces to the US-led
invasion of Grenada in 1983 (see Grenada: Modern
History). The Freedom Party, which also won the 1985
election, pursued a Cube-hostile policy and subjected
left-wing intellectuals to harassment.
In the second half of the 1980s, dissatisfaction with
the economic austerity policy that Charles pursued grew.
However, the opposition was divided, and by the state
leasing out lots to small farmers, Charles got enough
support for a third election victory in 1990. A newly
formed middle party, the United Workers Party, became
the second largest party.
Following Hurricane Hugo's progress in 1989, when 80
percent of the banana crop was destroyed, the government
launched a program that offered foreigners citizenship
in exchange for large investments (see also Finance).
More hurricanes hit Dominica
The 1995 election was won by the United Workers'
Party which gained the majority and Eugenia Charles
resigned. Shortly thereafter, the island was hit by two
hurricanes that knocked out banana production, and the
United Workers 'Party failed to meet voters'
In the 2000 election, the Labor Party won a tight
victory. The party was given ten seats, against nine for
the United Workers' Party. The Labor Party formed a
government with the Freedom Party, which this time won
only two seats. Prime Minister became Roosevelt Douglas.
He died of a heart attack in the fall of 2000 and was
succeeded by Pierre Charles.
The new government's most important task was to try
to solve the problems in the banana industry. As a
result of falling prices and increased competition in
the world market, annual revenues from banana exports
had fallen from just over US $ 30 million in 1993 to
just under US $ 5 million in 2003. Recurring tropical
hurricanes contributed to the problems. In 2002, GDP
shrank by close to two percent. At the same time, it was
clear that banana exports to the EU would decrease (see
In 2003, major cuts were made in the public sector
and several strikes erupted in protest. M ed the help of
loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) could
Dominica reverse the economic decline. In 2003, the
economy began to grow again, but at the same time the
government debt and the budget deficit also increased.
In early January 2004, Prime Minister Charles passed
away after a period of illness. To succeed, the Labor
Party appointed 31-year-old Education Minister Roosevelt
Skerrit, who thus became one of the world's youngest
heads of government.
Ahead of the spring 2005 parliamentary elections, the
government was able to point to the economic growth of
recent years and the Labor Party stepped forward in the
election. The party won its own majority with 12 of the
21 seats in parliament. The United Workers' Party
received 8 seats. The Freedom Party failed to win a seat
The government is accused of corruption
In 2008 and 2009, corruption charges were brought
against Skerrit's government in connection with the
procurement of 2,700 garbage barrels abroad. Despite
this, the Labor Party won the election in 2009. The
Labor Party, which during the election movement had
promised zero tolerance against corruption, a larger
airport, lower fuel prices for fishermen, free
schoolbooks and increased teacher salaries, went ahead
strongly and won 18 seats. The other 3 mandates went to
the United Workers' Party.
After the election, the opposition accused the Labor
Party of cheating through bribery and of controlling
state-owned media. For a time, the opposition boycotted
parliamentary work in protest against this.
In 2012 and 2013, Dominica had three different
presidents. In September 2012, Eliud Williams was
elected President of Parliament after Nicholas Liverpool
announced his departure. However, Williams resigned in
October 2013 and was succeeded by Charles Savarin, who
had, among other things, been Minister responsible for
national security. The United Workers' Party organized
extensive demonstrations against both presidential
elections, claiming that these were in a way that was
contrary to the Constitution.
The Labor Party retained its majority in the 2014
election but lost 3 seats to the United Workers' Party
(see further Current Policy).