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


photo of rainbow island A spectacular view of a rainbow from my apartment window in Morne Daniel.

Your Dominica morning news roundup for Monday September 29th 2008:

Dominica and French in turmoil, it appears that some French fishermen boats were seized by local authorities after they were found to have been on Dominican waters. That resulted in some angry French nationals threatening to take action against Dominica.

Dominica Festivals Committee has entered into an arrangement with the Solid Waste Management Corporation for proper garbage disposal throughout the staging of the World Creole Music Festival over the years. We can only wait and see how this works out – I wouldn’t hold me breathe. 🙂

New Pointe Michel Village Council on mission to purge community of its societal ills, and is pleading for more camaraderie and community spirit among villagers. The council was able to engage with several corporate citizens, some of which have decided to assist with community projects.

A Billboard with Prime Minister Skerrit causes confusion at the Melville Hall Airport . Opposition leader Hon. Ron Green, expressed the view that the poster was not appropriate for welcoming visitors to the island during this 30th Anniversary Reunion Celebrations, in that it appeared to be Partisan and divisive. Ok Mr. Green we get the point – but it’s just a billboard… 🙂

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2 Comments »

Comment by Joel Halfwassen Subscribed to comments via email
2008-09-30 12:17:01

I read about the French/Dominican “stand-off” on the fishing. If Dominica does not wish these boats to fish in their waters then the boats need respect that. I do have one question though…did Dominica expressed itself on this matter clearly BEFORE the incident? I understand there really should be no question either way, however, it would make for a less explosive incident.

Joel

 
Comment by pete
2008-09-30 16:22:45

Joel,

I am not sure how forcefully the Dominican gov’t articulated or warned about the problem, but its atwo-way street. Yes, it is well known that french nationals routine illegally encroach over Dominican territory, though it may be getting worst. Although Dominicans have also routinely (and for years) illegally trespassed over French territory (the “back door trade”), it may not be much for fishing, but for human smuggling and the huckster and drug trade. The french have clamped down on this for years and this has been the basis of some caustic relations and from time to time, the crackdowns spill into the actual cities. Even naturalized french-Dominican were victimized or thereatened sometimes.

Over the years we have seen tighter restrictions regarding visa entry requirements etc, though there has beenn some diplomatic progress and some restrictions have changed I understand. So Dominicans may not be bold, or have a significant interest in fishing in French territory, but will do the other more lucrative things..The frenchmen on the other hand may see it as a right (almost) in trespassing. Certainly Dominca has less enforcement ability I would think, though I understand that the coast guard has been or is being equipped better now. I think the administrations have generally taken a soft stance on french aggression over the years, while Dominicans were given the bad name. In my opinion, I think the Administration fears provoking the french even more and add tension to a sometimes tense relationship, even though it wouyd be within its rights. So its possible the administration made some protests to the French department officials, but not necessarily “loud” enough to halt action by the regular fishermen.

I have no idea at what level or whether there was any formal complaint by the Dominican administration. But I think in the eyes of the frenchmen it may not matter to them as perhaps they think they are immune to retrribution and Dominicans have gotten away with other things.

The relationship it would seem would never be on even keel. For decades, Dominicans have enjoyed the good fortune of working in the more developed french islands and seeking more advanced medical care (many lives have been saved). In return french citizens have always received good treatment in relationships with Dominicans or on visits. But some Dominicans have had to deal with being derided and persecuted and given a bad name, on account of a few undesirables. Of course it is true that some Dominicans have broken french law over the years. One significant note is that visas restriction requirement imposed by the French is not receiprocal, and we accept that without question. Obviously the french believe that we need them more than they need us..

The fact is, there are thousands of Dominicans in the french islands who live and work there, most of which contribute to the french economy and are law-abiding. We do not have strong diplomatic presence there and there are often cries of inadequate representation. It is certainly a pity as the islands have so much in common: a border, common colonial links, rich culture and even topography. So it may appear initially that the Dominican government had not done enough, but now they may have to contain the anger of the french, justified or not.

 
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