The Commonwealth of Dominica, affectionately known as the Nature Island of the Caribbean due to its unspoiled natural beauty, is unique in its membership of being both of the English –speaking Commonwealth of Nations and of the French-speaking La Francophonie.
(Description courtesy Ministry of Social Services, Family and Gender Affairs)
Local Government existed in Dominica for more than 100 years ago as part of a system of political decentralization used by the British to administer the island. From origins in the late 19th Century with two municipal boards, the Roseau Town Board in 1869 and the Portsmouth Town Board, either in the late 1800’s or the early 1900’s, Local Authorities in Dominica evolved to their present number, forty-one (41).
The local authorities are made up of three (3) municipal Councils, the Roseau City Council, the Portsmouth Town Council and the Canefield Urban Council. There are also the Carib Council and thirty-seven (37) Village Councils.
There is provision for Local Government in the constitution and Central Government still oversees the development and administration of Local Government in Dominica, through the Division of Local Government and Community Development, in the Ministry of Social Services, Family and Gender Affairs.
Although discussions for Local Government reform began in 2009, there is little movement towards policy or institutional change at this time.
Dominica introduced local economic development to its local government structure in November 2012 as a pilot project under the CARILED project.
This took place with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities of Canada on 8th November, 2014 and the hiring of a Local Economic Development Officer (LEDO) to work with two locations: Soufriere-Scott`s Head-Gallion and Woodford Hill.
Since the launch of the LED pilot, Dominica has:
- Developed and launched a National Advisory Committee on Local Economic Development with representatives from:
- Partnered with local stakeholders and CARILED to develop and launch Local Economic Development Planning and Advisory Committees (LED-PACs) in two communities.
- Drafted Local Economic Development Strategic Three Year Plans for Soufriere-Scotts Head-Gallion and Woodford Hill that will guide and support economic development. The LED plans were officially presented and launched in March 2016. Copies of the adapted Woodford Hill plan can be viewed here.
- Held several training programs, workshops and forums to support micro and small enterprises in business development and sector skills.
- Partnered with CARILED to launch and implement local development projects in:
Ms. Vincienne George, LEDO (Soufriere-Scott’s Head-Gallion and Woodford Hill)