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Dominica weekly is a personal weblog about the nature island of Dominica.

Archive for July, 2007


Artist and entertainer will have to endure another year of struggle and pain. Producers, artists, musicians and others see themselves as entertainers in the service sector of the Cultural Industry. This is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Part of the explanation for this explosion is technological advancements. Another explanation would be the changing trends in consumer demand for quality entertainment.

For more than 30 years, Dominica has been trend setting in music production – just like Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados. However, we have not established a clear policy on Cultural Development. This is a necessary tool for developing a cultural industry in order to take advantage of our unique cultural product. Before we can do this however, we must first understand what culture means.

Following the modern trends, culture is a position taken by a people to take advantage of their talent and uniqueness for the benefit of all. It is a global positioning for economic and social development likewise, Dominicans need to appreciate what makes them different and find space on the global stage to be Dominican.

It is the lack of such an understanding that frustrates those who can’t wait to benefit from the successful launch of a Cultural Industry in Dominica.

Entertainers must be disappointed that the VAT on cultural goods and services was not addressed in the recent budget. Amplifiers for example, tool crucial for transmitting cultural expression, attract a 15% Vat. It almost triples the retail on equipment and instruments needed to provide this basic service.

Musicians in particular have expressed the need for a tax break. They complain that revenue from shows is too heavily taxed. They say no one seems to be listening. Maybe they are right because the budget did not address the need for a lower tax rate on cultural goods and services. Musicians think the government is taking and not giving back to artists.

Every develop country in the world subsidizes culture. This makes it possible for the artists, producers and others involved reinvesting in themselves. Calypsonians for instance don’t expect 100% subsidies but they do expect some leeway.

Cultural performances here and abroad promote Dominica effectively. Our artists are the true ambassadors! They have been doing more to promote the country than any paid promoter or public official. Yet they are not recognized in tangible ways. Artists are the frontline in sensitizing people about the beauty of Dominica. They are also the one key to explaining the difference between Dominica and the Dominican Republic.

Imagine Dominica’s reputation without the work Ophelia and Exile One and Jeff Joseph, for example, in the French West Indies and the magnitude of the problem stares at us all. Giving awards and diplomatic positions is not enough. It is time for Dominica and this government to take entertainment seriously.

Source:This article was posted in The Tip! – A free publication published every Wednesday and distributed through-out Dominica.

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There’s been a lot of talk about the recent Budget Address, especially about the taxes on low income workers and about their minimum wage. Presently, the government is asking parliament to past an Act to increase the salaries of government officials – because these government officials haven’t had a salary increase since the 1980’s.

It’s not habitual that Dominica Weekly comment on political affairs going on the island, but I couldn’t stand there and listen to the Political garbage that the Labour Party was dishing out. In my opinion, I have no problem in government officials getting an increase in their salaries. But isn’t the government put in power to protect the people and care about their needs. It appears the table has turn. If this Act is approved in parliament to increase these salaries then again it falls back on the tax payers who are the minimum wage workers. Who themselves haven’t had an increase in their minimum wage since the 1980’s too. So basically what this government trying to say to the people is that it’s ok for my salary to increase but it’s not ok to increase the minimum wages of workers who are the fragile backbone of this country. Can someone explain the justification in this ❓

Yesterday, one of my favorite bloggers John Chow wrote an article titled “Why Minimum Wage Laws Should Be Killed”, where he shared some interesting insights on the Minimum wage and its direct relation to minimum wage workers. Below is are quotes from the article.

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Minimum Wage Law Hurts The People It Was Designed To Protect

Jobs are subject to the laws of supply and demand just like any other commodity, with or without a minimum wage law. If something is price low, you sell more. When you price it high, you sell less. When wages gets too high, companies hire less. The means more unemployment. Canada’s (British Columbia) minimum wage is $8.00 an hour (and our dollar is almost on par with the U.S. now). Canada has higher unemployment than the U.S. I wonder why?

The whole point of a minimum wage law is that the market wage for some workers is deemed to be too low. If it is fixed by law above the market level, it must be at a point where the supply exceeds the demand. Economists have a technical term for that gap. It’s called unemployment. Advocates of minimum wages either reject that elementary logic or don’t care.

A minimum wage law denies workers the freedom and right to negotiate their own wage contracts. It forces employers to lay off workers whose work is no longer worth the minimum wage and reconsider future hiring plans.

Minimum Wage Laws Are Unfair To Workers

What is a fair wage? My answer would be whatever the employee and the employer negotiates. Certainly it is not fair to be forced by the government to be unemployed at $5.85 per hour. Minimum wage laws forces workers to remain unemployed rather than accept work at a lower wage. It forces the unemployed to accept the indignity of welfare rather than the indignity of a job. It kills job opportunities for youth, women, visible minorities, unskilled workers and denies young workers the chance of getting on-the-job-training and work experience.

It’s Self Defeating Model

Raising the minimum wage may make it look like it’s giving more money to workers but it’s really a self defeating model. Assuming the business doesn’t lay off any workers, it’s operating cost just went up. What does a business do when their operating expenses increase? They raise prices to make up the difference. That adds to inflation. Suddenly, everything cost more and that wage increase buys about the same amount of stuff it did before.

We Are In A Global Economy

An increase in the minimum wage is always followed by an increase in off shoring jobs. Does the US have any tech support call centers left? When you operate in a global economy, having minimum wage laws just means businesses can go somewhere else to find labor. It’s not just big businesses that are off shoring jobs to districts with no minimum wage laws. You’ll be amazed at how many mom and pop operations are sending work offshore.

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People! We live in a Capitalist country. You have no limits on what you can achieve in life. I have the power to change my situation if I don’t like it, and so can you. Its not the government’s job to take care of you and your family but for many people they believe that the government owes them something. You don’t like living on minimum wage? You can’t live on the salary you’re making now? Then do something about it – turn things around. So when the government decides to increase the minimum wage. You can tell them to “Go to Hell”. I don’t know about you, but no government is going to control my destiny.

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Sand Bay, also sometimes called Middle Bay, is an Atlantic beach in Marigot, the town just to the east of Melville Hall Airport. We only learned of it this year after coming to Dominica for the past 20 years by seeing a beautiful photo of it taken by Dominica’s leading author and historian Lennox Honychurch that appeared on the HHV Whitchurch 2007 calendar.

Sand Bay is a wonderful beach. There’s plenty of soft clean sand and areas to play and picnic. You can opt for sun or shade under coconut (watch for dropping fruit!) or almond trees. The swimming is excellent, with very gentle wave action, no current to speak of (at least not in the bay), and a fine sandy bottom. There are coral-encrusted rocks you can swim to; we snorkeled to them but did not see anything interesting. Mainly the rocks tend to mitigate the wave action, and they make the bay a pretty sight from higher vantages.

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There are paths leading from the road to this beach from near the Marigot police station, from the Marigot hospital (but you will have to wade around a rock at the end) and from the old fishery harbor. Every path has steps cut into the area’s characteristic red clay, because the bay is sheltered. That means you’ll have to go up and over and down again from the old fishery. The easiest path begins near the police station. Just park there and ask for directions.

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We’ve been told that it is not a good idea for us (we’re white Americans) to go there by ourselves because the men who have a hut on the beach “aren’t friendly”, but they seemed quite nice and friendly when we went there on a Sunday with our friend and neighbor (a woman and her three children). Perhaps they were disarmed by the tricks that our dog Ranger performed for them. Also, on Sunday the beach had other local families present, and both cricket and soccer games in progress. And the guys at the hut may have juices, soda, or even beer to sell, as well as their own CDs.

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