Dominica's (pronounced DOM-in-EE-ka) mountainous terrain and periodic devastation by hurricanes make it one of the least developed nations in the Eastern Caribbean. Dominica is a small (275 sq. mile) island located in the Eastern Caribbean, between the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe. With a population of about 70,000, its main industries are tourism and agriculture. Dominica's economic dependence is shifting to a greater reliance on service oriented small and medium enterprises. Hence, tourism is now the greater contributor to foreign exchange earnings.

The military was disbanded in 1981 and has not since been reinstated. The Ministry of Justice, Immigration, and National Security oversees the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force, the country’s only security force. The police have a formal complaint procedure to handle allegations of excessive force or abuse by police officers. Police officials did not refer any police abuse cases to the DPP for criminal prosecution during the year. The Financial Intelligence Unit, some of whose officers have arrest authority, reports to the Ministry of Legal Affairs.

Like many of its Caribbean neighbors, the island is volcanic and it boasts many waterfalls, springs and rivers, lush vegetation, and a variety of rare flora and fauna. Being largest and most mountainous of the Windward Islands, it is no surprise that Dominica has as many hidden treasures of the natural world to match. Dominica is famous for its tropical rainforest, wildlife, and the many rivers and waterfalls which result from the high rainfall in the interior.

Dominica is one of the filming locations used in Pirates of the Caribbean 2 & 3: “Dead Man’s Chest” & “At World’s End” as well as Mark Burnett’s “Pirate Master!” This is especially fitting since the island is not just the most unspoiled island in the eastern Caribbean, but in reality it was home to many pirates and their legendary treasure.

Dominica is the only island in the Eastern Caribbean to retain some of its pre-Colombian population - the Carib Indians - about 3,000 of whom live on the island's East Coast. The population growth rate is very low, due primarily to emigration to more prosperous Caribbean Islands, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada. The official language is English. However, because of historic connections with France, the most widely spoken dialect is the French patois, Creole.

By virtue of Dominica’s geographic circumstance it is highly vulnerable to disasters both natural and anthropogenic. The economic, social and environmental costs are of colossal proportions. The frequency and intensity of these phenomena are constant impediments to the growth of the economy.

Dominica’s homicide rate more than tripled from 2006-2010, rising from 7.3 murders per 100,000 inhabitants to 22.1 per 100,000. The 2010 figure marked an even greater increase compared to that registered in 2000: 2.9 homicides per 100,000. According to police figures, there are approximately 10 gangs in the country with a total membership of a bit more than 10, all of whom are from Dominica. These groups are not highly organised and engage primarily in the local drug trade, petty crime and protecting territory, or “turf.”

Visitors are warned to be extremely careful when driving, riding in a vehicle, or crossing roads on foot. Major roads are in average to poor condition, and drivers may encounter wandering animals and slow moving heavy equipment. Drivers often stop in the middle of the roadway without warning, so drivers should always maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you and watch for signs of sudden braking. Automobiles may lack working safety and signaling devices. Crimes, including murder, rape, armed robbery, petty street crime, automobile break-ins and burglary, do occur.

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