On 3 November 1978, the Commonwealth of Dominica was granted independence and almost immediately, a republic. The British Crown was no longer the head of state.
Thirty-seven years ago the island – which some believe was ‘spotted’ by Christopher Columbus on the same day it gained independence but in 1493 – started its democratic journey as an independent state.
From that day forward, the island has shared a firm commitment to democracy, peace, and human development with its neighbouring Caribbean islands and even further afield with countries like US and Canada.
This year, more than ever, TNT stands with Dominica as it recovers from the damage caused to its beautiful nation by Tropical Storm Erika. The storm ravaged the island’s villages, roads and bridges and is said to have left a reconstruction bill that is worth nearly half the country’s GDP.
Whilst it is easy to allow the gloom of the devastation to cast over us, at least the island’s people have tried to retain their spirit of resilience through the World Creole Music Festival. This is Dominica’s premier international music event which takes place at the Windsor Park Stadium during the last weekend of October each year. This three-night event falls within Creole Week which is part of Dominica’s independence celebrations.
Throughout the whole of the independence period, the island is alive with culture and tradition. Several events take place all around the island – Jing ping bands, Pan on the Bay and Madame Wob Dwyet pageants. Vendors wear madras and decorate their stalls, dignitaries give speeches and there is usually a dance or musical performance.
The island is still in need of help as it looks to rebuild nearly 400 homes, repair its airport and infrastructure and rebuild its economy after the natural disaster last August. The UK and neighbouring Caribbean islands have given help, which the island’s prime minister has cited as “tremendous”, but more work needs to be done.