Our Government – Executive, Legislative and Judiciary

Dominica is one of only three parliamentary representative democratic republics in the English-speaking Caribbean in that a president is the head of state. Upon independence the official title “the Commonwealth of Dominica” was adopted to make the distinction between Dominica and the Dominica Republic. Governance of the country is divided into 3 branches: executive, legislative, and judiciary.

Professionals in the industry have often recommended a second citizenship to individuals who are looking for more than simply lowering tax liability. Some want to acquire property and other assets elsewhere and want to know that they are able to set aside property for loved ones. In that respect, programs for dual citizenship are suggested. These second passport programs for families have provided a successful alternative to offshore company formation and produces great results.

The executive of the Government of Dominica is made up of the prime minister who is the head of government and the president, the head of state. After consultation with the leader of the opposition, the prime minister nominates a president who must then be elected by the parliament for a five year term. The President of Dominica can only serve two consecutive or alternate terms. The current president His Excellency Dr. Nicholas J. O. Liverpool will not seek a second term in office. The majority party leader is appointed as prime minister by the president. The president also appoints the proposed cabinet of the prime minister as long as no more than three ministers are selected from among the appointed senators. The parliament has full legislative powers.

Dominica has a multi-party system and elections are held every five years. The dominant political parties are the United Workers Party, the Dominica Labour Party, and the Dominica Freedom Party. The DFP who held the reins of government from 1980 to 1995 under the leadership of the late Dame Mary Eugenia Charles recently broke away from their coalition arrangement with the ruling DLP. The “new” Freedom Party is led by Mr. Michael Astaphan due to the resignation of Hon. Charles Savarin the current Minister of Energy. The United Workers Party headed by Hon. Earl Williams is the official opposition having lost the mandate in 2000. Another party, the Dominica Progressive Party is led by Mr. Leonard Baptiste. The newly formed People’s Democratic Movement led by attorney William Riviere has not faced an election. Hon. Roosevelt Skerritt, political leader of the Dominica Labour Party was re-elected for a second term in office at the May 5 general elections in 2005. Elections are constitutionally due by August 2010. Dominica uses the first past the post system of voting.

A system of local government is also in place in Dominica. These village councils, elected by universal suffrage, are responsible for the collection of land and house tax, the maintenance of secondary roads and public conveniences, sanitation, and the organisation of local feasts and celebrations. The capital city, Roseau, and the town of Portsmouth both have elected mayors and the people of the Carib Territory vote for their chief. Additionally, the island is separated into 10 parishes (St. Luke, St. Mark, St. George, St. Paul, St. Joseph, St. Peter, St. John, St. Andrew, St. David, and St. Patrick) it is more religious than administrative.

Our judicial system is based on English common law. Cases are heard/tried at the magistrate’s court and the high court. Appeals are made at the Eastern Caribbean court of appeal and, if necessary, to the Privy Council (London). Although Dominica has not yet chosen the Caribbean Court of Justice as its final court of appeal, the CCJ has original jurisdiction for matters dealing with the interpretation and application of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. Of the six judges of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, one must be stationed in Dominica to supervise the Court of Summary Jurisdiction.
Dominica Government- Executive, Legislative and Judicial Government in Dominica