Dominica's Superlative (Copyright ©2009)

Domnitjen , March 2009

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“Dominica, ‘The Nature Island’- we are certainly not the Dominican Republic.” The challenge continues to this day, as Dominicans, especially folks in the Diaspora struggle to explain that this little green island really does exist in the Caribbean archipelago.

Though they attempt the most creative and descriptive ways of distinguishing the Caribbean’s Nature Island from the Dominican Republic, more often than not, the proud statement “I am Dominican”, is usually followed by, “Dominica? You mean the Dominican Republic?”

It’s about time this confusion is cleared up once and for all, particularly as Dominica is increasingly being recognized on an international level for its exceptional attributes.

This year, we give a standing ovation to our beloved country for reaching this great milestone of thirty years since breaking the chains of British rule, and I see it fitting to highlight some of Dominica’s eminent accomplishments, top world rankings, and salute the dedicated people who put our small island on the global map of excellence.

In celebrating our 30th Independence Anniversary, let us commemorate the following successes:

  1. After the First World War, Dominica was by far the world’s largest producer of limes. (Lennox Honychurch: The Dominica Story, 1995a. 155)

  2. Dominica is recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as being the first country in the world to operate a fully digital national telephone system. This was established on Tuesday 27 February 1987. (Cable and Wireless- British Telephone Company)

  3. Elisabeth ‘Ma Pampo’ Israel, from the town of Portsmouth- The World’s Oldest Person. In 2000, Time Magazine proclaimed Ma Pampo, affectionately known in Dominica as ‘The Nation’s Treasure’ (then aged 125), as the world’s oldest human. She passed away in October 2003, at the age of 128. (Note: From a population of 70 000, Dominica ranks no.1 in the world as the country with the highest concentration of centenarians per 1000 of the population).

  4. Dame Mary Eugenia Charles (May 15 1919- September 6 2005) The first female Prime Minister in the Caribbean and the first woman elected as Head of Government in North America.

  5. Honorable Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica 2004-Present Listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, as the world’s youngest Prime Minister, elected at age 32.

  6. One of the world’s premier nature tourism destinations In 1997, Dominica became the first Caribbean island to participate in Green Globe, (an international Program for Sustainable Tourism and Travel), and has ranked #8 in the top 10 eco-tourist hotspots in the world. The only Caribbean destination to make this prestigious list.

  7. According to the Happy Planet Index (2006), compiled by Britain’s New Economics Foundation (NEF), Dominica is named in the top five happiest countries on Earth. (Note: The Happy Plantet Index is a measure of the ecological efficiency of supporting well-being of a given country, as opposed to a measure of happiness)

  8. Jungle Bay Resort listed in Forbes Magazine’s Top 10 Luxury Eco Resorts In April 2007, Forbes Traveler Magazine named Jungle Bay Resort and Spa set on the southwest coast of the island, one of their top 10 Luxury Eco Resorts. Jungle Bay eco-lodge joins an impressive list of luxurious nature-based resorts from around the world that are environmentally sensitive.

  9. Among the ten best National Anthems in the World Culture/Music Correspondent for the UK’s Guardian newspaper Alex Marshall, ranked Dominica’s national anthem #5 among the 205 national anthems from the countries participating in the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing.

  10. One of the top dive spots in the world In addition to the title of ‘Whale Watching Capital of the Caribbean’, in 2006 Scuba Diving Magazine rated Dominica as one of the top areas for diving as well as #1 for Healthiest Marine Environment.

Though our island is small both in population and size, these accomplishments are reminders of how blessed we are as a nation, and how much we have to show the rest of the world, that we are not just Dominica, another developing island in the Caribbean, but rather a little Eden in abundance of fresh flowing water, lush mountainous rainforests, hot water springs and breathtaking scenery- naturally beautiful…this is Dominica, the Caribbean’s Nature Island.

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