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Dominica Modern History

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.

  • ABBREVIATIONFINDER: 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).

Contemporary History of DominicaMore 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' expectations.

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 Economy).

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 at all.

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).

 
 

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