chapter
Dominica
Pages 4

Representatives of Barbados and the seven Leeward and Windward Island colonies met in Barbados and requested that the British Government approve a new federation, known as the Little Eight, in the event of the collapse of the West Indies Federation. 31 May 1962: The British Government formally dissolved the West Indies Federation. 18 April-4 May 1966: A Constitutional Conference was held in London to discuss the future of Dominica, Grenada, St Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla, St Lucia and St Vincent, following the collapse of the proposed Little Seven federation (as it had become known after Grenada’s withdrawal). 1 March 1967: Dominica was granted the status of an Associated State and became selfgoverning, although the United Kingdom retained responsibility for defence and foreign relations. The Legislative Council was replaced by the House of Assembly, the Administrator became Governor and the Chief Minister was restyled Premier. 26 October 1970: Edward Leblanc was re-elected Premier after his faction of the Labour Party, the Leblanc Labour Party, won eight of the 14 seats in the House of Assembly. 25 July 1972: The Governments of Guyana, Dominica, Grenada, St Christopher-NevisAnguilla, St Lucia and St Vincent signed the Declaration of Grenada, which created the framework for an Eastern Caribbean political union. 27 July 1974: Leblanc resigned as Premier and was replaced by the then Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, Patrick John. 24 March 1975: The Dominica Labour Party (DLP) won 16 of the 21 elective seats in the House of Assembly and John was reappointed Premier. 3 November 1978: Dominica became an independent self-governing republic under the name of the Commonwealth of Dominica. John became the island’s first Prime Minister, and the then Speaker of the House of Assembly, Frederick Degazon, was eventually elected President. 29 May 1979: Two people were killed by the Defence Force at a demonstration against government attempts to introduce legislation restricting the freedom of trade unions and the press. Trade unions subsequently organized a general strike and a pressure group, the Committee for National Salvation (CNS), to call for John’s resignation. June 1979: President Degazon fled Dominica after John rejected his advice that he resign. All of the members of John’s Cabinet resigned, and John eventually agreed to relinquish power. The candidate proposed by the CNS, Oliver Seraphin, was elected Prime Minister and an interim Government was formed. February 1980: President Degazon resigned and Aurelius Marie was appointed as the new President. 13 February 1980: The Government declared a state of emergency following a kidnapping carried out by a radical organization known as the Dreads, in retaliation for a police crackdown on marijuana. 21 July 1980: The conservative Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) achieved a significant victory at legislative elections, obtaining 17 of the 21 elective seats in the House of Assembly. The DFP’s leader, Mary Eugenia Charles, was appointed Prime Minister. 7 March 1981: The Government announced that the Dominica Defence Force would be

of plotting to overthrow Charles’ Government. 19 December 1981: The Government declared a state of emergency after attacks were launched on the island’s prison and police stations. The plot, which was defeated by the security services, was intended to free John and several other prisoners. May 1982: John and his fellow defendants were acquitted of seeking to overthrow the Government, owing to a lack of evidence. 10 January 1983: The Government announced that it was to extend the state of emergency for a third year. 19 December 1983: Marie completed his five-year term as President and Clarence Seignoret was elected to replace him. 17 January 1985: The DLP and the United Dominica Labour Party (UDLP) merged to form the Labour Party of Dominica (LPD) under the leadership of the UDLP leader, Michael Douglas. 1 July 1985: The ruling DFP was re-elected at legislative elections, securing 59% of the votes cast and 15 of the 21 seats in the House of Assembly; the opposition LPD obtained five seats. Charles was reappointed Prime Minister. The LPD began an 18-month boycott of the House, in protest at the Government’s decision to curtail live broadcasts of parliamentary proceedings. 23 October 1985: John was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for attempting to overthrow the Charles Government. Several other defendants also received prison terms. 8 August 1986: The former Commander of the Dominica Defence Force, Maj. Frederick Newton, was hanged after being found guilty of the murder of a police officer during the December 1981 attempts to free John. 20 December 1988: Seignoret was re-elected as President. 28 May 1990: At a general election, Charles narrowly secured a third term in office after the DFP won 11 of the 21 elective seats in the House of Assembly; the UWP became the largest opposition party, securing six seats, and the LPD obtained four seats. 18 April 1992: Charles narrowly survived a vote of ‘no confidence’ brought by opposition members who accused the Government of discriminating against its political opponents. 25 October 1993: The then Speaker of the House of Assembly, Crispin Sorhaindo, replaced Seignoret as President, following the latter’s retirement from office. 26 April 1994: Charles introduced a state of emergency and a curfew in the capital, Roseau, following a series of anti-Government demonstrations. 12 June 1995: The UWP narrowly defeated the ruling DFP in legislative elections. The UWP leader, Edison James, was appointed Prime Minister in place of Charles, who announced her retirement from politics. 2 October 1998: The House of Assembly elected Vernon Shaw, a former Cabinet Secretary, as President. 31 January 2000: The DLP won a narrow victory at legislative elections, obtaining 10 seats and 42.9% of votes cast; the UWP secured nine seats and 43.4% of votes and the DFP won two seats. The DLP leader, Roosevelt (Rosie) Douglas, formed a coalition t

Dominica’s financial system. The OECD requested that the country reform its rules by 31 December 2005 or face sanctions. 4 July 2000: The Minister of Agriculture, Planning and the Environment, Atherton Martin, resigned following the decision by Dominica’s delegate to the International Whaling Commission to vote against the establishment of a South Pacific whaling sanctuary, in defiance of a cabinet decision to abstain. 1 October 2000: Douglas died of a heart attack, and the then Minister of Communications and Works, Pierre Charles, replaced him as Prime Minister. December 2000: Legislation was passed making the crime of ‘laundering’ money punishable by imprisonment and a substantial fine. 6 March 2001: The DLP elected Pierre Charles as party leader. July 2001: The Governments of Dominica and Japan agreed to promote bilateral cooperation in a broad range of areas.