Dominica is an English-speaking country in the Eastern Caribbean with a population of approximately 72,000. The island is one of the largest in the Eastern Caribbean occupying some 289 square miles (749.59 kms). It is situated at the northern end of the Windward Chain of the Lesser Antilles, lying between the two French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe. Dominica is easily accessible from Antigua, Barbados and San Juan. There are approximately 365 rivers, with rainforests covering about 60% of the country.
Independence was attained in 1978, and at that time the former British Crown Colony was officially renamed the Commonwealth of Dominica. As a republic, Dominica enjoys a Westminster style parliamentary democracy, with election of members of parliament every five years. Dominica is a member of the British Commonwealth with a President as Head of State, although executive power lies with the Prime Minister and his Cabinet of Ministers.
Dominica's economy is predominantly agricultural, with the banana as the main cash crop. In recent years, construction, distribution and tourism have experienced steady growth. However, the Government has embarked on a programme to diversify the economy by developing the island into a high quality offshore centre. The necessary legislative and administrative frameworks are progressing well. For example, legislation has already been introduced for the registration of offshore banks, trust companies, and International Business Companies (IBC), with a ship registration scheme also in place. There is also the economic citizenship programme which has been re-engineered to emphasise the mobilisation of capital for national development and geared for the financing of public sector capital projects.