BY: QUISHA PASCAL
Dominica pronounced as “Dom-in-EE-ka” is a beautiful island filled with green majestic trees and vibrant flowers. With three hundred and sixty-five (365) rivers, to breath-taking coastal beaches, to the steaming hot springs, it is known as the nature island of the Caribbean with its beautiful flora and fauna. The island whose official name is The Commonwealth of Dominica is one of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) found within the Caribbean Basin.
In the island of Dominica, “29% of households and 40% of the general population lived in poverty as of 2003. 11% of households and 15% of the general population lived in indigent poverty.” (Barbados and the OECS. (n.d.). About The Commonwealth of Dominica.) The above statement refers to people who lack not only money but homes. On average 50% of Dominica’s children live in poverty and furthermore, 1 in every 2 households in the rural areas is considered poor. Poverty remains a leading issue in Dominica, especially because of the past heavy reliance on the banana industry which destroyed after the removal of preferential treatment in the European Union (EU) market. Data indicates that there was an increased incidence of household poverty, from 27.6 in 1995 to 29 percent in 2002.
More than 37 percent of households on the island do not have access to piped water and 25% of households have no access to toilet facilities. With total government debt currently almost equal to it’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, Dominica also struggles with structural unemployment and under-employment. Also, the unemployment rate on the island moved from 15.7 percent in 1999 to 25 percent in 2002. When the unemployment rate was last recorded, in 2016 23% of the population was found to be unemployed. Dominica has the third highest unemployment rate in the Caribbean. The rate of unemployment for poor and non-poor households is 40% and 16% respectively. This data above demonstrates the correlation between income/employment and poverty in Dominica.