The commonwealth of Dominica is a sovereign, English speaking country in the eastern Caribbean archipelago. The Dominican Republic is a sovereign Spanish speaking Country sharing the Island of Hispaniola with Haiti in the northern Caribbean. These two countries while sharing virtually no common, history, heritage, language, culture have the same demonym (Dominican). The only two countries in the world to have identical demonym.
If you Do a google search of “Dominica”, the name of both countries pop up, however the Dominican Republic being the more populous and better known, dominate in the search results. If you do a search like; ” Dominican cuisine” the results would be mostly of the cuisine of the Dominican Republic even when your IP address is In The Commonwealth of Dominica. If you do the same search outside of Dominica your chances of finding anything about cuisine of The Commonwealth of Dominica becomes more remote. Whenever citizens of the Commonwealth of Dominica introduce themselves to people on the international stage we are almost always mistaken for being from the Dominican Republic even after explaining where we come from.
It is perplexing that after 42 years of the Commonwealth of Dominica being a sovereign independent state, no government have found it necessary to change the Demonym of the people of the Commonwealth of Dominica or change the name of the country all together. The current situation favors the Dominican Republic they have no reason to want to change the status quo because they are not affected, they basically own the Dominican brand. The onus is on the government of the Commonwealth of Dominica to take measures to have a unique identity on the international stage. Other countries with similar identity issues have found ways to differentiate themselves, eg. people from Niger are known as Nigeriens, while people from Nigeria are know as Nigerians. Having a very well defined identity is very important for the development of any people. While there is no data available on the business or tourist that The Commonwealth of Dominica lose to the Dominican Republic because of our similar name and common demonym, it is safe to say that we are affected we just dont know the extent. In the past mail intended for the Commonwealth of Dominica ended up in The Dominican Republic.
Waitukubuli is the name that the native Carib Indians gave to The Commonwealth of Dominica and it can be embraced and made our official name. While this name might be considered too exotic for most it would most certainly set us apart and give that unique identity that we need. Another option is embracing our French heritage and officially changing to The Commonwealth of Dominique and changing our demonym to Dominiquen. There are also many brilliant Dominicans who can come up with many alternative names and demonyms for the Commonwealth of Dominica.
It is imperative that the Commonwealth of Dominica (population 70k) forge it’s own unique identity and rise from the shadows of The Dominican Republic ( population 10.5 million). Our world is becoming increasingly market driven and it’s all about brand names. Being small is already a disadvantage, we cannot afford to have our national identity (brand) confused.