Government

Dominica is a parliamentary democracy with a non-executive presidency. The president is head of state while executive power rests with the cabinet headed by the prime minister. The unicameral parliament consists of a 30-member House of Assembly: 21 members are directly elected and the remaining nine are senators. Five of the senators are appointed on the advice of the prime minister and four on the advice of the leader of the opposition. Elections are held every five years with universal adult suffrage.

The president is nominated by the prime minister and leader of the opposition and is elected by the House of Assembly for not more than two terms of five years.

The prime minister has to be an elected member of the House of Assembly. The president chooses the member who is most likely to be able to command a majority in the House. The prime minister consults the president in appointing other ministers.

Roseau (the capital) and the Carib Territory have a measure of self-government. The Caribs elect their chief.

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court was established (as the West Indies Associated States Supreme Court) in 1967 with its headquarters in Castries in St Lucia, and is responsible for the administration of justice in its member states including Dominica. It comprises the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal.

The High Court has 16 judges, one of whom is permanently resident in the country and sits in the court of summary jurisdiction. Less serious cases are heard in district magistrates’ courts. The Court of Appeal is itinerant. The High Court’s jurisdiction includes fundamental rights and freedoms, and constitutional issues.