Friday, February 29, 2008

Let there be light

As I sat in the dark, lit only by a flickering candle, listening to our PMs 'state of the nation' speech, two things came to mind. One that I was so badly wrong that the power cut would be over in time for the start of the speech. No way, I thought, that the power company would deprive us of seeing our PM on TV! Wrong.

More importantly though I heard the PM talk briefly of how the oil refinery was on hold (not cancelled, note). But he continued on the theme of 'energy security' by talking extensively of the forthcoming and exciting plans for geo-thermal electricity - exploring the potential for cheap power that could also be exported to the neighbouring islands. And contrasting the two options, it really is a no-brainer.

The plans by the way are for a soon-to-start French-funded exploration into the potential, centred in nearby Wotton Waven. Given previous studies have shown there is potential, let's get going!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ideal pies

After Spider Pies, my fave type of pie is the website traffic 'referring sites' pie(chart), and over on the Delphis blog I provide some fascinating (!) insights into this non-edible pie...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Kayaking in Dominica

Here's a good blog about some kayakers who decide Dominica's a good place for their sport!

Friday, February 22, 2008


Outside, it's 20.5C. That's 68.9F. Now that might sound toasty to some, but it's not for late-February in Dominica. We're tropical, not temperate.

And it's not even raining. Someone turn the heat up please.

Listening to: Jeff Wayne - War Of The Worlds - Part 01
via FoxyTunes

Friday, February 15, 2008

Back it up!

In which the Delphis Ltd blog suggests a good way to make sure your data is safe when the next natural disaster hits! Read more...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Oil refinery on hold

Good news: the Prime Minister today announced the proposed oil refinery was on hold. This is a major change to the 'oil refinery goes ahead after the EIA' stance. He said a wider view of overall economic benefits should be taken, along with full consultation with all stakeholders, before any decision is made.

The Dominica Hotel & Tourism Association recently released a press release on the refinery issue, and it's worth repeating here:

"The Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association is alarmed at the prospect of the building of an oil refinery in Dominica and the negative impact this will have on the thousands of jobs created through tourism. The tourism sector presently employs thousands of people and according to the latest IMF report, tourism contributed an estimated $186 million to the economy, creating huge foreign exchange. This growth can be multiplied substantially every year if Government demonstrates its commitment to the tourism sector and helps it move forward for the benefit of the entire country, from farmers and fishermen, vendors and tour operators, tour guides and artistes, the construction industry and to all other sectors which benefit directly and indirectly from the tourism industry.

Dominica's entire tourism industry has been developed and marketed on its rich and pristine natural rain forest and marine environment. Locals and foreigners alike have invested millions in developing a product which is unique and which has been recognized internationally as one of the most sustainable tourism destinations in the world. Establishing an oil refinery on the nature island, regardless of its location, would destroy that image and severely curtail any serious tourism investment on the island.

Dominica has an abundance of potential alternative renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass which can be explored to provide us with options that pose less threat to our environment and could create investment and jobs in cutting edge technology.

While we recognise and appreciate the assistance from friendly governments that has improved the lives of our people, we believe that an oil refinery will severely curtail one of the most promising sectors in the economy. While tourism has consistently shown incremental growth over the years, the constraints on the industry have held it back from delivering on its promise. With improved air access and commitment to marketing, it has been stated over and over again that the tourism industry would become the “driver of the economy” that the policy makers have hoped for.

The DHTA therefore wishes to reiterate its firm opposition to any oil refinery in Dominica. As the voice of the tourism sector and partners in development with the Discover Dominica Authority, we owe it to all stakeholders in the industry, and to all Dominicans, to safeguard our natural resources and the opportunities and jobs that lie within a healthy tourism industry.

We look forward to a more open consultative process that will bring all voices together to consider the effects on all segments of society. Development of the country must be planned for the long term benefit of all."

Curse of the black plastic bag

We bag everything here. Stores must spend a small fortune on black plastic shopping bags (Dominica imported US$1.3 million of plastic products last year). Even the smallest item goes into one, sometimes two. Recent reports of a huge garbage vortex in the middle of the Pacific is probably matched by one in the middle of the Caribbean. I hate them, and take a small pleasure from the looks of horror I get in stores when I refuse them. Ban them I say.

Fortunately, there's now the re-usable Green Dominica grocery bag. All is not lost.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Web Pages That Suck

In which over on the Delphis Ltd blog we have a chuckle at a site that extols good design but fails in one key area... Read more.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Dominica team celebrate

Dominica team celebrate
Originally uploaded by Steve_Mc
It was great while it lasted! Like in the cricket yesterday, we took an early lead in this World Cup Qualifier, only to see Barbados come back. This time they didn't beat us, just equalised, so we go into the second leg needing to win. The prize is playing the USA!

Read more on the game here.

A little shake

Another little earth tremor this afternoon - 5.0, 80 miles east of us, 21 miles down. If it had happened yesterday no-one would have noticed!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Carnival Monday

Carnival parade
Originally uploaded by Steve_Mc
Today's Carnival Monday. Though it got off to a late start, it was the usual vibrant parade. See more pics here.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

No prizes for diplomacy

Caribbean Man talks about the growing crisis we face here, and I couldn't agree more. Just the handling of the 'proposed' oil refinery has made me cringe. Surely there's someone in Govt. who thought of saying 'Look, this is a contentious issue and though we ourselves know it's going ahead regardless, we can get lots of Brownie points if we handle this well. Let's be seen to be proactive - meet with stakeholders, do the consultation we promised, maybe even throw the tourism industry a bone or two...'

Instead, there's been one press 'conference' (more of a press speaking-to in fact), one press release, one meeting with select stakeholders.

Can you, for instance imagine Govt. saying 'We understand your concerns about the possible effect on tourism. So we'll double the budget for tourism marketing!"

No, I can't either. Instead, the industry is dismissed as worthless, and critics are dismissed as 'evil'.