Tourism Minister announces upgrades at Ferry Terminal

A ferry at the terminal in Roseau
A ferry at the terminal in Roseau

In order to allow easier travel for visitors to the island the government of Dominica has put measures in place to improve the Ferry Terminal in Roseau.

Tourism Minister, Robert Tonge told Parliament on Monday that improvements include separate lines for visitors and locals and a system upgrade to read French Identification Cards.

“I can say to you now the government of Dominica is proud to announce that changes have been made at the Ferry Terminal,” he said.

He explained that traditionally, “because Dominicans knew there was one line, they would line up at the front of the boat and as soon as the boat arrives they would rush and block all the visitors.”

However, Tonge stated that presently there are two lines, one for visitors and the other for locals.

“So the place has been reorganized to ensure that we are more specific,” he noted. “We also have separate lines for hucksters to ensure that the hucksters are dealt with properly and the necessary income from duty and taxes are collected.”

He also mentioned that construction work is currently being done on the top floor of the Ferry Terminal in order to ensure that travelers are comfortable.

“With regards to upstairs, when persons arrived there was not much space, so if you look right now currently there is construction happening at the top of the Ferry Terminal to ensure that persons are a lot more comfortable…,” he explained. “So the government of Dominica is listening and putting things in place very swiftly.”

Meantime, he revealed that another major bottleneck at the terminal was the length time it took French nationals to have their Identification Cards swiped.

“Most French people travel with their French Card Identity. So someone who swipe their passport would take one minute, however the French people it would take them five minutes,” Tonge explained. “Therefore, based on the information, that again slowed down the process, so imagine if we have two hundred French nationals how long it would take.”

He said necessary funds were put in place to ensure that the system was upgraded to read the respective cards.

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  1. Ambra Battilana
    July 31, 2015

    While Tonge boasting two lines, the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi claims that Italian economical reforms will help the country dominate Europe and the world in 20-30 years. Good luck with dem fellas Dominica I am LEAVING, Good Riddance! 8)

  2. Anonymous
    July 30, 2015

    the ferry terminal building is inadequate in terms of size along with the spacial organisation. i keep wondering who are the architects that are engaged in such projects?

    • wai wai
      August 3, 2015

      I too share the same thing, Dominica dosen’t plan for the future, can the terminal hold 200 people comfortably like an Airport lounge? we limit our architecture in Dominica too much.

  3. CYRIL Volney
    July 30, 2015

    The most important upgrade you can make to all our ports is to have a professional immigration service staffed by professionally trained tourist greeters. Policemen doing that job is a poor choice, as by the nature of their work, policemen are aggressive, suspicious, and overly security conscious.

    Customs, now are another matter. We have a very good customs service, however it’s time for the Declare, Nothing to Declare doors to be installed. Post signs showing the dollar value of goods you are allowed to bring in, and quantities of tobacco/ alcohol allowed, above the Nothing to Declare door.

    Finally, no one should have to wait more that half an hour to be serviced, except if they have a customs issue and are pulled aside, into a separate room for processing. There should be a manager supervising this processing of visitors/returning locals at all times.

    The above is not reinventing the wheel, but merely following what other countries do successfully.

  4. diabless
    July 30, 2015

    It took the “Dollorman Minister” three years or more to “improve” that facility .The Dollorman LABOURED and produced a Mouse and got many “opportunities” for this e.g. Embassy rentals on Victoria Street.. Go back to the drawing board Minister Tongue and let us have a modern facility. Take some of the Passport Sales Money for that purpose!!

  5. July 30, 2015

    What about cars can people drive on or even off the ferry in Dominica.?This surely is of great importance to visitors also Dominican visiting the french teritory

  6. Concerned Dominican
    July 29, 2015

    I travelled home for carnival 2015 and went over to Guadeloupe using the ferry. I also returned home using it after my visit to Guada. Honestly, the best part of the experience was being at sea again and looking at my beautiful homeland from the water. When I got to the terminal, I had to go into a small room at the front to pay a tax. People were lining up out into the street. Then I had to form a line with Dominicans, French Dominicans, French nationals etc. People were simply walking past me, climbing barriers, total disorganization. The space was too limited with no difference between being in the line to deposit your bags as opposed to lining up for immigration checks. By then you were on top of the security!! Then it got worse once you went through the security check into a cramped seating area with persons squeezing through to get to an uncrowded patch. The only option was to climb the steps to the roof and fresh air, squeezing past people sitting along the staircase.

    • Concerned Dominican
      July 29, 2015

      (Continued from above due to space)
      I got to the roof which was a good feeling initially as there was lots of space. However, there was only one bench which was occupied and the sun was indeed lashing the rooftop!! I had to find shade and I did along a small strip alongside the wall holding the roof above the steps. People were smoking in the open. Suddenly a security woman came up from downstairs and began to rudely and abruptly instruct those with lit cigarettes to put them out, speaking with absolute contempt for those who were obviously Guada residents, whether Dominicans or not. It was shocking, as if she absolutely disliked these people. She threatened having them thrown off the compound if they did not comply, despite the fact that I saw NO NO SMOKING SIGNS anywhere in that open area. Then we squeezed down the stairs in a line waiting to board.
      Upon my return it was equally frustrating waiting for the immigration checks and then waiting in line to be attended to. Sad indeed!!

      • Tjebe fort
        July 30, 2015

        My experience exactly bro. Worse than a third world country and they want us to bleed departure tax for that crappy service. You start thinking they don’t want visitors really but only suffer them because of their money.

  7. calibishie warrior
    July 29, 2015

    That is a shockingly inadequate ‘upgrade’. Look, I understand the money is tight and you cannot implement roll-on roll-off right now (that is what is considered an upgrade). But what you can do is set some objectives. NO ONE coming off the boat should still be in the ferry terminal more that 30 minutes after the boat docks unless they have some special circumstance (suspected terrorist, smuggler en fin. en fin). Amend customs procedures to meet that objective (a nothing to declare line would the be inevitable) The waiting area and the surrounding area of the terminal should be so comfortable its like you’ve gone there for a day out. Pay any taxes by card and in the most convenient way. Robbie.. you come from a commercial background so you understand all this stuff .. please do let ‘is so we does do it here’ syndrome start to affect you so early on.

  8. mujahardin
    July 29, 2015

    We need a “port use levy” just like the new “highway levy”.

  9. Me
    July 29, 2015

    For God sake Robby, just emulate best practice and go one step further! As the P.M. says, everything is relative and what may be an improvement to us locally may only be seen as half-measures by our visitors. Go and look at the terminal in Fort de France for example and copy that with improvements of our own. It is not enough to be same as our competitors, we have to be one step ahead. That terminal of ours is an abomination and not a pleasurable experience for our visitors. Be bold and take that basin next to the terminal, which is hardly used anyway, to expand the ferry terminal for example. We should reach the stage where we have at least one ferry a day stopping in Roseau to & from the French islands and get rid of that departure tax, man. You want to encourage people coming here, not deter them.

  10. memoi
    July 29, 2015

    But there was always two lines, one for nationals and one for non nationals, so what is he really saying. Only if they going to put them in separate areas but there has always been two lines. What they should upgrade is how long it take a local go through immigrations and customs. it take a French national about 5 seconds to go through immigration in their place and less than 5 minutes to go through customs. It takes us about 1 hour to do that same combination. We actually go through the french Islands faster than we do in our own Dominica.

    • fed up
      July 30, 2015

      that is real true, when Dominican come in their country, they asking them so much questions, when they suppose to let them pass in 1 second just showing their passports, just like the french people when they reach Guadeloupe or Martinique, not one question they ask them.

      • Tjebe fort
        July 30, 2015

        Right on brother. That is so stupid and insensitive. A Dominican citizen has to fill in a form when you come back home and they have to stamp your passport? You have to tell them where you staying and what is the purpose of your visit. Is home I’m coming my man, to my own country and you want to give me a hard time when drug dealers and criminals can move free on bail? I don’t understand that at all, chupes man.

  11. Anthony P. Ismael
    July 29, 2015

    The report from Robby tells us just how far behind we really are. Why did it take so long to implement these upgrades? Adding a second line for nationals is really big news. Boy oh Boy!! :-P :-P :-P

    • gem
      July 29, 2015

      stlucia and other countries have to line.oh dominca you all to slow.the town is a ghost action no fast outlet one one,,expensived like a hell .super markets looking like small like apartment building. can speak good english this place is poor :mrgreen:

  12. spying
    July 29, 2015

    So you don’t see the improvements that he speak of, and I don’t blame you, but the folks who travel often using the Ferry service they can educate those of you who mix politics in every thing even in your bedrooms I suspect. Bro if you know how it is on that Terminal and you under stood one percent of the Tourism product we offer visitors, who come here to spend their hard earned monies in our country you would thank the Government for the upgrades and then, suggest what other upgrades Government need to pursue. But NO, not you, its politics for you and indults thrown at the Minister. This is step on the Ferry bring in more spending power than the Cruise Ship. The Ferry has no season its like Bananas and they always overnight and spend in our hotels so they deserve some comfort. Well Dons DASPA, Govt and DHTA.

    • memoi
      July 29, 2015

      Spying,………… I wonder if you know what you’re saying and I can clearly see you’ve never left the Island or even your community. Do I have to mention that what you wrote also shows that you know nothing about tourism?

    • fed up
      July 30, 2015

      your are one that easy to fool :lol:

  13. not againt
    July 29, 2015

    Roby stop that nonesense. There has always been two line at the ferry terminal . one for nationals and one for visitors so thats nothing new. I worked there for years every day and never once saw you there. so get the facts straight and dont repeat what people tell you.. The people that line up at the front of the boat are the hucksters that travel every week on the boat back and forth to guardeloupe . they have stuff to clear so they try to get through immigration quickly. and yes i worked there during creole festival too. you are my friend thats why i can correct you. No hard feelings.

  14. who vex vex
    July 29, 2015

    Realy ???
    The ferry terminal upgrade is instead of one line u making it two.

    So when my teacher was putting the troublesome kids to sit infront the class n putting the quiet ones behind, i never new she was upgrading the class

  15. IMJustSaying
    July 29, 2015

    That place is an embarrassment compared to other ferry terminals in the Caribbean.
    We pay this outrageous departure tax and still the building looks like a shed.
    No air conditioning or order.
    Dominica fini bat

    • %
      July 29, 2015

      Roby has drawn a LINE, and call it an upgrade!

    • Robert
      August 1, 2015

      From a tourist point of few Dominica is a third world country. When you arrive by Ferry you clearly see why. It seems like the whole process of custom clearance in this little shack is inadequate by purpose. They could easily do better but they clearly don’t want to. That’s at least the impression a tourist gets.

  16. Thorbjørn Jagland
    July 29, 2015

    Monday that improvements include separate lines for visitors and locals
    Who u calling locals like we are some tribe? Dominicans are nationals u ever hear America calling Americans
    locals? U need to earn your salary and focus less on selling passports & more on increasing visitors to our shores, u fellas all the same pretend to love country but only in it for your pocket like de dollar man.

    • spying
      August 1, 2015

      You jumped on your computer and hit the Minster for using the word LOCAL, and you regard the use of this word as an insulot to Dominicans, well I am not insulted for I am a local. Have you heard the term Local Cuisines is that an insult to our Dominican Cuisine? Two antonyms for the word local are ‘Neighborhood’ and ‘home’. The Minister is not wrong in using the word locals. You are one of those who do not spend enough time reading and you also fail to make use of the book called a Dictionary; but worst, you can look up the meaning of words on the Computer that you are using to type and send your rubbish before sending that rubbish for others to read, thus embarrassing the people who brought you into this world. I am a local because I am home and this is my neighborhood, foolish.

  17. eyes opened
    July 29, 2015

    Yes!!! This will cause a 300% increase in tourists when they hear of SEPARATE LINES!

    Are you guys REALLY REALLY serious??! Like, you wake up in the morning, you watch the news, you hear the complaints in various sectors across the country, then you have a meeting, put all brains together and come out with non-sense like this?!

    How DARE you call that an upgrade?! I suppose when the Douglas-Charles airport gets a new paint job we will call that an UPGRADE too? You guys need to UPGRADE your minds. I seriously think a training session is needed for new ministers…well, and some old ones too!

    • spying
      August 1, 2015

      eye opened you need an eye opener (forgive my spelling) any improvement on an existing structure and in the service provided is an upgrade, though I would not classify what is being done as a MAJOR upgrade; that’s is a different argument. But, you cannot dismiss what is being done at the Ferry Terminal as nonsense or say its not an upgrade. The Computer System and programme was upgraded to read French National ID Cards which Immigration Officers had to enter manually for all those years thus keeping you in line longer that persons with a Passport, that is major. The building of a covering on the top to accommodate passengers who are awaiting the Ferry. That is also good. There are other structural changes that you will see that will make the experience of using the Ferry Terminal more pleasant and also you must not cry down a Minster because you do mot agree with what he says as if suddenly that great businessman is now a fool because he is a Minister in the DLP Government.

  18. Sense Cents
    July 29, 2015

    Why not make it suitable for cars to load and off load. Please and thank you.

  19. Titiwi
    July 29, 2015

    That is a good start but we should go further.
    – do away with the separate transaction of paying departure tax. That is a real pain and in a developed country that would be included in the ticket price.
    – charge the same departure tax for everyone. Why do foreign visitors have to pay more? That is not very friendly and discriminatory.
    – Have customs channels like they have in France, U.K. , U.S.A and so on: one with nothing to declare and the other for goods to declare. Sure, some people will try and take advantage but you can continue to have random searches like you have now. That would really speed things up.
    – Reduce the time passengers have to present themselves at the ferry terminal. Two hours before departure for a 2 hour crossing really is excessive, especially since we do not have adequate waiting room space or catering. Speed up security processing if you have to.
    We should make visiting Dominica a pleasure and not an obstacle course. That is a very negative image.

    • Anthony P. Ismael
      July 30, 2015

      Your ideas are too pragmatic. Thus, they will never be implemented. I alwasys wondered why travelers must join a separate line even at the airport to pay their departure tax. Paying this tax on line via the Internet is yet another brlliant idea.

      • Titiwi
        July 30, 2015

        Anthony, unfortunately you are right. We have a habit of looking at something as an “improvement” from our standpoint only and then praise ourselves for being so clever. IF YOU WANT TO ATTRACT WORLD CLASS VISITORS YOU MUST HAVE WORLD CLASS STANDARDS!

  20. grell
    July 29, 2015

    Upgrade my foot Tonge man go back to the drawing board.

  21. %
    July 29, 2015

    Tonge when I started to read I was expecting to hear meanwhile our cruise ship berth would be upgraded to accommodate mega ships….You seem to be even more myopic and incompetent than Ian was. You all must stop retarding Dominicas development.We continue to be the laughing stock of the Caribbean.
    MAN THROW IN THE doggone white towel, because you too is just an addition to the list of incompetent clowns hindering our progress!

    • Mary
      July 29, 2015

      I share your views %.
      Robby, you need to come better than that man!! You really serious about these two changes as upgrades?
      I really thought you were going to come up with better ideas – increase terminal space, reduction in fares, etc. My, My My!!! “What a tangle web we weave when we practice to deceive”

      • spying
        August 1, 2015

        did you read anything about the Cruise Ship Berth in Tonge’s statement where does that come in to the discussion. The man spoke of the Ferry Terminal guys. I support the separate lines for persons who have goods to declare etc that too is being done but he did not elaborate he just mentioned for hucksters. I also support the Departure Tax being included in the cost of the Ticket but there is the concern of collecting that revenue on time to have it in the Government kitty. But its a good idea. I have been to International destinations who have simple but comfortable Terminals so stop hitting your country and lets have a discussion with suggestions that would satisfy what you guys will agree would be an upgrade. Stop the useless insults.

    • A. George
      July 29, 2015

      Why would you want mega ships??? Please understand the wonderful awesomeness of the product that we have which is our unique and natural environment. Niche marketing is a way to go… with stay over visitors who stay and who appreciate what we have and want to not just see but touch, inhale, mix, mingle, cherish. Cruise tourism is fine but I much rather the interactive, lingering visitor than those who pack the coaster buses and crowd the local sights and go back to the ship.

  22. Godly Wisdom
    July 29, 2015


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