Thursday, March 18, 2010

Seeing Red in Dominica

Ever since I can remember red, yellow and orange have been my favourite colours and that probably explains why I have always been fascinated by the "red" rocks at Pointe Baptiste. Last year I wrote about how I had only ever seen them from a distance and I have been longing to get a closer look.
Well I finally went earlier this year and it really is another special place...
See More Red Rock Photos

Monday, March 15, 2010

Roseau Architecture, Dominica

Going into Roseau on a working day can be a "not so pleasant" experience especially at month end. Hot, noisy, busy, dusty and often serious traffic, it can be stressful. Also with pedestrians and parked cars all fighting for the same narrow and uneven sidewalks and open drains to navigate, you really need to concentrate on where you are walking. I feel sorry for those tourist who have declined the bus tours and are left to wonder the Roseau streets without any information on what Roseau has to offer...which at first glance might seem not much.
But if you look beneath all I have mentioned Roseau is a treasure trove of historic architecture. My favourite time to wonder is on a Sunday. Then you can spend less time looking down and more time looking up and around and can really appreciate the old buildings and little wooden "Ti-Kaz's" tucked in between newer buildings.
It is sad to see that each year more of the old buildings are either gone, severely neglected or in ruins. The cost of up keep I guess is just too high for the owners.

I am not sure if the Society for Historic Architecture, Preservation & Enhancement (SHAPE) is still functioning but they were the first to give me an appreciation of our impressive historic architecture.
SHAPE also produced a really nice Historic Roseau Walking Tour which I wish would be purchased by the cruise ships for the tourists who just want to stroll through the town.

Hopefully the new back road and Goodwill bypass road will ease traffic going into the centre of Roseau but maybe a pedestrianised Roseau and ruins and neglected old buildings restored to their former glory would really showcase our hidden diamond.
But I know the cost would be huge I guess and not everyone shares the view that restoration of old buildings are worthy symbols of development. Big advert TV screens and flyovers are what we have been told signifies we are no longer "backward".

There is an old West African saying, symbolised by the Sankofa bird, - "se wo were fi na wosan kofa a yenki" which translates to "it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot".
It means that sometimes "we must go back to our roots in order to move forward and it is sometimes necessary to go back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward....Whatever we have lost, forgotten, forgone or been stripped of, can be reclaimed, revived, preserved and perpetuated."
So maybe this is true with our architecture and there are modern day lessons in how these old buildings were constructed and some of them are worthy of preservation to blend with the new...

In May, Barbados will be hosting The 11th annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development and I see that there are a few slots on Heritage Tourism.

Maybe as with other areas of Dominica culture and life we already have the assets for yet another tourism product and all it will take is for someone to come and tell us...oh and some money too.

Dominica Buildings and Structures Photos

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rumble In The Jungle Reggae Event, Jungle Bay, Dominica

There is plenty musical talent on this small Nature Island of Dominica but one of the things often heard from the musicians is the lack of support and encouragement and avenues for further exposure. Internationally known artists like Nasio and Nelly Stharre I think have found it hard over the years to gain the recognition they deserve here in Dominica and probably feel they are often more appreciated away from home.
Another issue is that many events are held in Roseau so other areas do not get their fair share of attention.

Merlin Jack from Rasta Yoga Enterprises is trying to address some of these issues and give back to her community. Merlin has set about the challenging task of promoting the up and coming reggae band Caribbean Vybez, as well as other local reggae artists, in a series of East Coast Tours.

The first tour was held in Delices on the 26th February and featured reggae artists Caribbean Vybez, Atunyah, Machine Kweyol and Jah Roots .
The Jungle Bay venue was great, the entrance fee affordable for locals, the reggae music was good and with a nice mix of residents and visitors all having a good time, it really was an excellent night. The only slight criticisms I felt were the late start and the poor sound quality which affected the performances of the first two acts.

A further 3 East Coast Tours are planned, the next venue will be at the Grand Fond Community Center on 26th March - So come and support our local talent.
If you can offer any help through much needed sponsorship then please contact Merlin at

Link to photos from the event In The Jungle Photos

Further information on some of the bands: Vybez