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


photo of a Haitian farmerPhoto by LindsayStark

I truly hope that Dominicans are not on the path of creating and sustaining a society that is not tolerant of other migrant groups of various races and nationalities.

I find that some forms of injustice and stereotyping of people because they are “the Other” is taking place in our society. Dominicans are migrants in other lands and I am sure that what we would not like for ourselves, we should not want for others. Yes, in every group some are bad but that does not mean that we should put all people in one negative category. I know that we know better than that.

One migrant group that has been a hot topic for years is the Haitian Community in Dominica. It is understandable that with a country with as limited resources and as small as Dominica, Dominicans will be concerned about their country and their survival.

However, there have been some negative reports about our treatment of other people in the region, especially the Haitians and I would be happy is Prime Minister Skerrit would deal with the issue of managed migration and creating a policy.

Another thing that I think should be frowned upon is discrimination in the workplace, especially in this economic climate where jobs are a serious concern in terms of how we can all survive in these difficult times that have already begun.

I especially sympathise with those in the disabled community, some of whom have encountered some problems in that area, but it is highly commendable that some employers look at a person’s ability and credentials and not that they are differently abled.

I did some checking through the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on this issue and the ILO also states that the most common form of discrimination is the denial of opportunities, both in the labour market, and in education and training to people with disabilities. Therefore, they are often trapped in low-paid, unskilled and menial jobs, with little or no social protection.

I am thankful though that in Dominica there are a few avenues for disabled people to sharpen their skill, even though there may be challenges. But do we as an island nation give migrant groups, and people who are disabilities a fair opportunity in the workplace? Let’s hear your opinion in the comments.

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I once met a man named Jason, while standing at the bayfront cruise ship berth on my lunch break. We forged a conversation, searing social criticism, island styles, ironic humor, and good food (though not necessarily in that order).

When our conversion ended, I watched Jason on his on wheelchair trying to navigate the uneven cobbled streets and narrow sidewalks of my hometown of Roseau, Dominica, and I began to think about the accessibility of travel for people with disabilities. Being a disabled traveler involves challenges many others don’t have to face. But is movement getting easier or harder for disabled travelers to move around?

Increasingly, it is becoming easier for people with disabilities to travel, but when you look at most of the tourist sites and facilities in Dominica very few of them are accessible by disable tourists. Though I understand the number of disable tourist is very small, but if Dominica markets its self as one of the Caribbean destinations that welcomes disabilities travelers, they will come.

Many ships now have signs posted in Braille and in December, 2007 Royal Caribbean realized just how much of a boon disabled travelers can be for business when more than 3,800 deaf and hard of hearing passengers set sail together on a cruise that was specifically designed to meet their needs.

But for those adventure travelers with disabilities, who aren’t willing to wait for the tourism industry to adapt to their needs, the world is waiting for you and here is an open invitation to come visit Dominica. Most Dominicans are friendly and helpful.

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