Remembering Mona, My First Friend on Dominica

mona-1999

Mona George-Dill was a beautiful, dynamic and gracious Dominican woman.

It is with profound sadness that I write this post as a tribute to Mona George-Dill, my first friend on Dominica.  She departed this earthly life and ascended to heavenly paradise on Sunday October 30, 2016.

It is she to whom I give credit for guiding me during my early days in Dominica and helping me to understand a culture very different from my own.

Perhaps it was serendipity that brought us together in 1997.  I was looking for a place to live that would give me an improved quality of life, as I had been suffering from severe environmental health challenges in Canada for several years.  When I started to research other countries that offered clean air, food and water, I rigorously quizzed Mona, who was at that time the Manager of Springfield Plantation Guest House and a research institute called SCEPTRE, under the auspices of Clemson University in the United States.  Before I even set foot on the Nature Island, she informed me of her pro-environmental approach to the maintenance of the entire estate. She assured me that she would do her best to ensure my comfort and well-being during my initial stay.

When I finally arrived at Springfield around the end of March 1997, after having spent several hours travelling from Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines by LIAT planes that were sprayed with insecticide at every stop, I could barely hold my head up and was extremely nauseous. As I stepped out of the taxi after a  winding 20 minute drive into the mountains from the Canefield Airport, Mona warmly greeted me and showed me to my room, which overlooked the Antrim Valley down to the Caribbean Sea.  It was bright and breezy, and the air smelled  clean and fresh on the edge of the rainforest.  I’ll never forget the concerned look on her face when I told her that everything seemed to be fine, but that I would appreciate the removal of an area rug due to my allergies.  It was immediately taken out.

Later,  I had the first of many memorable meals, made from organic ingredients on the property.  The paw-paw (papaya) soup was divine, and I actually asked for a second helping, even though I was still recovering  from my travels!

When I finished eating that first evening, Mona came to sit with me and we began to get acquainted. I told her that I was a free-lance journalist, with a strong interest in environmental issues as a result of my health challenges.  She in turn informed me about a pressing issue in Dominica at that time, with respect to a proposed mining initiative.  I subsequently interviewed her about her concerns in that regard. The interview was then published in Alternatives, a Canadian environmental magazine.You can get a copy of that article by clicking Mining on Nature Island magazine article 1998. Immediately, I discovered that Mona was an outspoken conservationist who cared deeply for her country and had no hesitation in speaking out to voice her concerns.

At the same time, I learned that a mysterious fire had destroyed a student residence at Mount Joy,  located above the main plantation building, a couple of weeks before my arrival.  While thankfully no one was injured or killed as the students were on an outing at the time, she suffered tremendous losses and was not able to replace it.  Despite her worries and the shock of this event, she devoted considerable time to giving  me a ‘feel’ for life in Dominica, both the highlights and the challenges.  I listened attentively to everything she said and immediately fell in love with this pristine place as I willingly succumbed to the warm hospitality of this engaging lady and her caring staff.

As time went on, my admiration for Mona grew incessantly as I learned more about her.  For many years, her energy focused on environmental, conservation  and tourism initiatives through the Dominica Conservation Association (currently inactive), the International Whaling Commission and the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association, to name a few.

As well, she constantly demonstrated love and provided various forms of support to many young people, who still refer to her as ‘mother’, which is evidenced in the tributes on her Face Book Mona George-Dill page. She was certainly protective of me, and as we were about 15 years apart, I preferred to think of her as an older ‘sister’. We connected instantly and easily.  Our private exchanges covered all manner of topics and sometimes ended  in tears or laughter.  She was someone in whom I could confide in the strictest of confidence.

I also related well to her love of all animals.  She had a particular penchant for little dogs as pets.  One time, she’loaned’  me one of her local breed ‘Pot-Hound’ dogs named Mother so that I would have company while I lived in a little house above the main plantation.From time-to-time she had cats too, and became well-acquainted with my Tia-pet, who was originally a Springfield cat.

mona-2001

Mona at Springfield in October 2001. She considered this beautiful locale to be ‘a garden’.

Mona was  such a loving person that it was impossible to be in her presence and not feel how much she genuinely cared about one’s situation.  She was also a strong ally, and defended me in a couple of instances when people tried to take advantage of a naive newcomer.  I also admired her convictions and deep loyalty to her country  when I observed her at a political meeting at Springfield. During the session, she challenged (now deceased) Rosie Douglas (before he became Prime Minister) on various social issues and the position of the Dominica Labour Party on those matters. Curiously, she had only moments before introduced me to Mr. Douglas and I could tell that they had a great respect for each other.

 

When I first applied for Citizenship in Dominica,  Mona’s letter of reference stated that my health had improved here, I had never ‘bad-mouthed’ anyone in Dominica despite some negative experiences and that she felt I was worthy  of Citizenship. As I am now a naturalized Citizen of the Nature Island, I am forever indebted to her for vouching for my character and having abiding faith in me.

mona-connie-edwin-et-al-at-bahais-gathering-december-2007

Mona  is seated to the right of Gwendominica at a Baha’i meeting in December 2007.  Her daughter Connie (in pink) is  beside me on the left .My brother Edwin, who is also a Baha’i is on the far right. I was welcomed as a special guest and friend by the Baha’i community in Dominica.

My late friend was also a devout and longtime member of the Baha’i faith.  From her, I learned a great deal about this particular religion.  Although I did not formally join this church, I was always made to feel welcome and could attend their activities and services whenever I wished. I could see that she truly embraced the principles of her faith and that may be why so many people were drawn to her – because of her accepting and fair outlook towards everyone in any situation. I understand now from her daughter Connie and other Baha’i friends that she was prepared to accept God’s will.

 

This lovely Dominican lady could also be fun-loving: she took me to my first play at the Arawak House of Culture in Roseau. I didn’t understand Creole at that time and I didn’t get the jokes, but Mona good-naturedly explained everything to me.  She also took me along to Ballroom Dancing classes where I met a number of Dominicans with whom I am still acquainted years later.  She did introduce me to many people and helped me to find apartments after I left Springfield in search of a bigger space for my personal possessions from Canada.  When I lived at Springfield, she even included me on the insurance for her 4WD vehicle and let me borrow it when she wasn’t using it.   One time after I had moved out and bought my own car, I persuaded her to go to the beach.  That was a big deal, as she insisted that she was not fond of the seaside.

mona-and-friends-at-castaways-mero-beach-ca-2002

An afternoon at Castaways on Mero Beach, ca. 2003. Mona is in the centre, with Dr. Pat Rodney from Ross University on the right and a guest from Springfield on the left.

As time went on, I made my way in Dominica and Mona retired from Springfield around 2005. She moved to the suburb of Goodwill, and although she was closer to me in terms of location, we saw less of each other.  However, we did occasionally chat on the phone or meet in Roseau for lunch.

Before I left Dominica to return to Canada this past June, I made a point of visiting with Mona at her home for an afternoon.Although she did seem more tired and frail than earlier times, her spirit was ever strong. We reminisced about many of my experiences that were connected to her during my almost 20 years in Dominica.  I expressed my appreciation to her in our conversation,and also gave her a card in which I had noted my extreme gratitude for all that she had done for me.  When I left her that day, the last thing I said was, “I love you,” to which she replied in kind.

Then, on my recent birthday in August,  Mona wrote on my Face Book timeline:”It’s hard to accept you are no longer on island. I miss knowing you are here. Enjoy your birthday, Virgoan. Hope it is the best.”

 

mona-at-springfield-march-1999

Mona and Gwendominica ‘ham it up’ at Springfield in March 1999. Photo taken by my brother Edwin, who was visiting at the time.

Ironically, it is hard to accept that Mona is ‘no longer on island’.  And I do miss knowing that she is ‘there’. However, I rest assured knowing that we shall meet again in the heavenly paradise where she now resides with her Maker.

 

Mona, I hope you get this message – and yes I am repeating myself – but I will always love you and I thank you for being an important part of my life in Dominica. I do think you will be a spectacular angel. I can almost hear you modestly chuckling about that!

 

To Mona’s children Connie, Bobby, Randy and Richie, their families and everyone else who loved her, please accept my sincere condolences.

R.I.P. Mona George-Dill, September 3, 1942 – October 30, 2016.

springfield-plaque

This plaque was erected by Mona while she lived and worked at Springfield.  It is also currently the banner on the Facebook page for the Archbold Tropical Research and Education Center at Springfield as a tribute to Mona.

 

The Ghosts of Springfield

Voices in the night.

A light mist falls

and caresses the old plantation

like a lover in the night.

Stifling hot stillness is relieved

by soothing breezes.

The spirits speak kindly

to those who stay

and seek refuge

in a tranquility

rarely found elsewhere.

The garden of Springfield

blooms eternally

with a love

that will never die.

To Mona,

Love, Gwen

October 14, 1997

springfield-antrim-valley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

`Lest We Forget`: A Canadian Honours Remembrance Day 2014 in Dominica*

The lovely wreath was one of a large number that was laid at the base of the war memorial in Roseau Dominica on Sunday November 9, 2014.

The lovely wreath was one of a large number that was laid at the base of the War Memorial in Roseau Dominica on Sunday November 9, 2014.

In recent years, the Remembrance Day ceremony in Dominica has been a very important part of post-Independence celebrations for me.  As DSCF3645one of a small number of Canadians on island, I have in recent times found myself in the public area facing the Cenotaph at 8 a.m. on the Sunday closest to November 11th (which in 2014 falls on a Tuesday).

This year, I felt particularly strong about making a quiet presence at this special  annual service.  Although I am far away from my `home and native land,“ I was deeply affected by the recent terrorist attacks there in which two Canadian soldiers were killed in two separate incidents.  At the same time, I was (am) tremendously proud of my countrymen and women, who collectively took a firm stand against such horrific acts in a society with an international reputation for peace. While the deaths of these servicemen is truly tragic, Canadians will not now or ever be intimidated by those with a propensity for violence and hatred. My attendance at this important function seems to strengthen my personal resolve for a peaceful and loving way of life, not just for myself, but for everyone on the planet.

With a `poppy“ on one lapel and a Canadian flag pin attached to the other, I drove in to Roseau at about 7:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. I parked a short distance away from the site of the service, and as I approached I could see  formally attired police officers standing in strict and straight alignment while the Music Lovers` Government Band warmed up their instruments nearby.  Along with a few  other members of the public, I positioned myself in Peebles Park, directly opposite the Cenotaph.  From there, I had a good view of the proceedings and could observe the dignitaries and the laying of the wreaths.

Memebers of the Dominica Police Service assembled by the Cenotaph before the start of the 8 a.m. service.

Members of the Dominica Police Service assembled by the Cenotaph before the start of the 8 a.m. service.

The Dominica Government Band always performs at official functions, Remembrance Day being one of them. The young lady in the centre who is smiling at me is Amanda Lawrence, a former student of mine at Orion Academy who recently graduated form Princeton University. She is a also a talented musician!

The Dominica Government Band  performs at official functions, including Remembrance Day. The smiling  young lady (centre)is Amanda Lawrence, a former student of mine at Orion Academy.  She is a recent graduate  of Princeton University and is also a talented musician. I am very proud of her accomplishments, to date!

As soon as Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and President Charles Savarin and Mrs. Savarin were in their places, two minutes of silence was immediately observed  with a  single rifle shot. and  then another to signal the end of that special time period.  Immediately afterwards, a beautiful rendition of `The Last Post“ was sweetly played by a trumpeter in the Government Band.  I really thought that I would get through this service without shedding  a tear, but that was not to be the case.  As I fondly thought of my father and paternal grandfather, both Canadian servicemen, I had to lower my eyes and hold a tissue close to my face.  Remembrance Day is an occasion that has always moved me deeply.

Right away, numerous wreaths were laid, commencing with the President and  then followed by the Prime Minister.  Other members of the House of Assembly, the Chief of Police,  Official Dignitaries, Relatives of the Fallen, the Red Cross and  various youth organizations each took their turn in paying respects to the sons of Dominica`s soil who had fallen in World Wars 1 and 2. I was thankful to have carried a portable radio with ear buds so that I could listen to the live commentary on DBS Radio by notable Dominican historian Dr. Lennox Honychurch.  I really

Dr. Lennox Honychurch, PhD provided listeners of DBS Radio with a complete commentary of the Remembrance Day Program.

Dr. Lennox Honychurch, PhD provided listeners of DBS Radio with a complete running commentary of the Remembrance Day Program.

appreciated his description of the ceremony and the steady stream of anecdotes about the impact of World War 1 and 2 on Dominica. (You can read about these events in his book, The Dominica Story: A History of the Island (MacMillan:1995)).  None of the  few surviving veterans was able to attend the ceremony, but it was heartwarming to see that they were in fact represented by family members.

Family members of the veterans represented them with great honour.

Veterans were represented by family members with great honour.

It was also a pleasure to listen to the clergy from different faiths speaking at this ecumenical service.  I enjoyed the familiar, such as `They shall not grow old…`as well as the unfamiliar:  Revelations 21: 1-7.  I really liked hearing Joel St. Rose, representative of the Anglican Church recite `The Collects`: …for those who gave their lives in war;…for peace…; …and for the nation.

His Worship, Bishop Gabriel Malzaire read a lesson from John 11: 20 -27, delivered a thoughtful Reflection and then lead the assembly in the recitation of The Lord`s Prayer.

Roman Catholic Bishop Gabriel Malzaire read a lesson from John 11: 20 -27, delivered a thoughtful Reflection and then lead the assembly in the recitation of The Lord`s Prayer.

As always, I sang along with the small gathering to  the well-known hymns `The Lord is my Shepherd,“and “O God Our Help in Ages Past,“ which were accompanied by the St. Alphonsus Folk Choir.

Prime Minister Skerrit, President Savarin and Mrs. Savarin somberly regard the March Past.

Prime Minister Skerrit, President Savarin and Mrs. Savarin solemnly regard the March Past.

The Police Service on parade at the Remembrance Day Service.

The Police Service on parade at the Remembrance Day Service.

By the time the trumpet Reveille rang out and a verse of the Dominica National Anthem was played by the Government Band, I was ready for what I consider to be the most enjoyable part of the program: the March Past.  I positioned myself at street level, directly opposite the Prime Minister and President.  I really did smile broadly as I admired the various participants of all ages, who represented police and fire officers, the legionnaires, and a number of youth clubs, including Boy Scouts and Girl Guides.

Cub Scouts pay their respects to Dominica`s leaders during the March Past.

Cub Scouts pay their respects to Dominican officials during the March Past.

The Government Band marches past the President and the Prime Minister and other dignitaries.

The Government Band marches past the President and the Prime Minister and other dignitaries.

When the assembly had departed, I walked over to the cenotaph and took a few more photos of the lovely wreaths.  Then I bowed my head in solitary prayer, giving thanks for all the men and women who gave their lives during previous conflicts, who selflessly served their countries for want of a better world,  for those who continue to serve and protect, and most of all, asking for PEACE, everywhere on the planet, please.

This small monument acknowledges the French Resistance which was present on Dominica during WWII.

This small monument acknowledges the French Resistance which was present on Dominica during part of  WWII.

Girl Guides enthusiastically participated in the Remembrance Day parade.

Girl Guides enthusiastically participated in the Remembrance Day parade.

The wreath-adorned Cenotaph is a solemn reminder about those  Dominicans who gave their lives in military service during WWI and WWII.

The wreath-adorned Cenotaph is a solemn reminder of those Dominicans who gave their lives in military service during WWI and WWII.

*In memory of my family members who unhesitatingly served in the name of peace:  my father, RCAF Flying Officer William E. Whitford (1926 – 1991) and my grandfather, Frederick W. Whitford, (1899-1980), British Army (WWI), RCEME (WWII).  I miss you and I love you forever. R.I.P.

‘On de Road’ in Roseau for Dominica’s Carnival 2014*

It had been a few years since I ‘jumped in a band’ (put on a costume and played masquerade with an organized group) during

Gwendominica was set to 'Glow' with the Old Time Sake Band on Carnival Monday night in Roseau Dominica.

Gwendominica was set to ‘Glow’ with the Old Time Sake Band on Carnival Monday night in Roseau Dominica.

Dominica’s Carnival celebrations.  Most of the time, I had  remained on the sidelines, contenting myself with plentiful photo opportunities and bountiful smiles from enthusiastic parade participants.  But this year, I felt I was overdue for a little spontaneous merrymaking ‘on de road’,  which, for two days forms part of   the traditional pre-Lenten festival’s claim-to-fame on the Nature Island.

It all started for me on Carnival Monday night.  As the sun set, I parked the car well away from the parade route and ran through the streets of Roseau to rendez-vous with the Old Time Sake band.

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The organizers had arranged a ‘Glow Band’ for our evening warm up before Tuesday morning’s Hawaiian ‘chip’ (shuffle to the music’s beat) around town.  By 7 p.m., we glowed as we moved along the parade route in Roseau to beat of the rhythms emanating from the huge speakers on the hi-fi truck.

I stayed at the front of the `band`so that I could turn around, run back and forth beside the group and take plenty of pictures.  As we moved through the streets, others joined us with their glow gear. Soon we were about 100 strong.  A lovely cooling breeze blew down to town from the mountains and tempered our exertions.  I was quite comfortable in my black attire and I kept moving to the momentum of the music.  By now, other big bands ( I mean real ones with instruments and singers) were now on the road.  Sidewalks filled with keen observers and children ran to and fro in great excitement.  Now I was sure that   I felt the  presence of `Spirits` from carnivals past: shadows and silhouettes of uncertain shapes and sizes seemed to grace darkened door ways and unlit alleys.  As I was only drinking spring water, I knew that it must have been my imagination…  In my mind, it`s all part of the fun!

The Old Time Sake Hi-Fi Truck rolled along behind the band as we glowed in the dark!

The Old Time Sake Hi-Fi Truck rolled along behind the band as we glowed in the dark!

After about an hour, I stepped out of the band, citing this little trip around as my warm-up for the next day to those who expected me to keep going until 10 p.m.

Gwendominica is ready to fete (party) with the Old Time Sake Band and their Hawaiian theme on Carnival Tuesday in Roseau.

Gwendominica was ready to fete (party) with the Old Time Sake Band with their Hawaiian theme on Carnival Tuesday in Roseau.

On Carnival Tuesday morning, I felt refreshed and ready for a bigger and hotter endurance test ‘on de road’.  The brilliant sunshine bouncing off  the steamy streets of Roseau  would definitely enhance my daytime ‘glow’.  Just after 10 a.m., the truck started to roll, and within minutes, over 200 happy and colorfully costumed revellers set out to show the gigantic crowd how the Old Time Sake Band’s Hawaiian theme  complemented the collective cheery mood of  participants and spectators.

Again, I took a place in the front line of the band.  I liked being able to move in and out, on and off the road  as I pleased to take photos and see what was happening in the other bands.    The only challenge in my starter position was my urge to ‘chip’ too quickly.  As an habitual walker and hiker, I am used to picking up the pace.  But the skill attached to chipping is the discipline of the  rhythmic slow shuffle: no long strides.  Occasionally, I found myself pacing too far ahead and then I was caught between the music of the band in front of me and the Old Time Sake tune behind me.  It was a challenge for this musician to try to move to two different beats simultaneously.  But what can I say – you just had to be there – to take part in all this fun!

This is what a 'chip' ( slow shuffle to the beat of the music) looks like. But you really have to be there!

This is what a ‘chip’ ( slow shuffle to the beat of the music) looks like. But you really do have to be here to try it out!

We hadn’t been on the road for an hour yet when I stepped out to find  the pageant winners who were at the head of the street parade.  They were decked out in traditional costumes, and I wanted to capture their fresh faces  and gorgeous creative attire before the day got too hot.  I was definitely not disappointed.  The day was  relatively young, and there was still space on the street for me to boldly move among the winners and contestants to get good shots of them.  Here is a sample of what I saw that enhanced my growing smile as I admired them all.

Miss Dominica 2014 Francine Baron has a wonderful smile and a cheerful demeanor.

Miss Dominica 2014 Francine Baron has a wonderful smile and a cheerful demeanor.

Queen Francine and King Dice graciously obliged for thousands of photos during the Carnival Tuesday parade.

Queen Francine and King Dice graciously obliged for thousands of photos during the Carnival Tuesday parade.

King Dice 9Dennision Joseph) has the right to 'ham it up' in the Carnival parade.  he's now won the Calypso Monarch crown 7 times!

King Dice (Dennison Joseph) has the right to ‘ham it up’ in the Carnival parade. He’s now won the Calypso Monarch crown 7 times!

Miss Teen Dominica 2014 Shari Peter is undisputedly a lovely young lady.

Miss Teen Dominica 2014 Shari Peter is certainly a lovely young lady.

The Old Time Sake Band members all seemed to have a great time.

The Old Time Sake Band members all seemed to have a great time.

Then I ran around the parade route and jumped back into the front of the band again.  As we chipped along to the calypso and sometimes soca beats, I fixed that permanent smile

Gwendominica was revelling in the Tuesday Costume Parade with the Old Time Sake Band when Georgie caught her on camera. revelling

Gwendominica was  blissfully revelling in the Tuesday Costume Parade with the Old Time Sake Band when Georgie caught her on camera.

on my face as I greeted familiar faces and strangers too.  All of a sudden, I realized that I  was absolutely and completely without a care in the world!  For me, this highly unusual state-of-mind was  trance-like.  If I was thirsty, I drank my water. If I was hungry, I ate a snack provided by the band and looked forward to a big lunch.  When I needed relief from the scorching sun, I stepped into  a shaded side street for a while.  I did wear ear plugs and a big hat, along with strong sun screen, so I really was completely carefree.  Ah…this is what Carnival is all about!  If you want a glimpse of why this is so true, take a look at the piece that I wrote a few years ago about the history of Mas Domnik. You will find it here.

I was really impressed with the endurance of the leaders of Old Time Sake band.  Despite hot Sensay costumes, the never took a break!

I was really impressed with the endurance of the young leaders of Old Time Sake band. Despite heavy Sensay costumes, they never took a break!

The littlest member of the Old Time Sake Band was a real trouper!

The littlest member of the Old Time Sake Band was a real trooper!

I also had fun watching the crowd have fun!

Some of the costumes had to be admired from the back as well as teh front.

Some of the costumes had to be admired from the back as well as the front.

Now there is a spectator who really has the spirit of Carnival.  Giselle is the Editor of Domnitjen Magazine, a great review of many things Domincan.

Now there is a spectator who really has the spirit of Carnival. Giselle is the Editor of Domnitjen Magazine, a great review of many things Dominican.

Tana has a laugh while her son takes in all the action on de road.

Tana had a laugh while her son took in all the action on de road.

 Carnival Princess 2014 Kitana Joseph, had poise and posed well for the photographers.

Carnival Princess 2014 Kitana Joseph, had poise and posed well for the photographers.

Simon is always 'there' turning out fabulous photos of every event in Dominica.  You can see some of his wonderful work on his site, Images Dominica

Simon is always ‘there’ turning out fabulous photos of every event in Dominica. You can see some of his wonderful work on  Images Dominica.

His Excellency, President Charles Savarin enjoyed greeting parade participants.

His Excellency, President Charles Savarin enjoyed greeting parade participants.

By the time 2 o’clock rolled around, over 200 of this brightly adorned band, consisting of mainly (but not entirely) members of the 50+ club had been around the expansive parade route a few times.  The hi-fi truck stopped for a break, so I headed up to the Public Service Union building, where a substantial Dominican lunch was being served.  I devoured a big bowl of pelau, which is made up of rice, chicken and lentils.

Kathleen Trotter, one of the main organizers of the Old Time Sake Band surveys the proximity of our group to the band ahead of us.

Kathleen Trotter, one of the main organizers of the Old Time Sake Band surveyed the close proximity of our group to the one ahead of us as we approached a tight corner.

The Old Time Sake Band members lined up in orderly fashion in order to refuel with a big Dominican lunch.

The Old Time Sake Band members lined up in orderly fashion to refuel with a big Dominican lunch.

Others were planning to go back for a ‘last lap’ before sundown.  As it was after 3 p.m., I was content to return to the parade

I always admire the Queen of the Carnival Corner Band.

I always admire the Queen of the Carnival Corner Band.

route area in search of an ice cream cone.  I cooled down with a refreshing scoop of the coconut variety from Island Ice Cream  and chatted with a returning Dominican, who was accompanying his  resident granddaughter to watch the  remnants of the parade.

As I walked through the sizzling streets, I could see that the real Bacchanal was about to begin.  With only a few hours of Carnival 2014 remaining, the action on the road was set to get even “hotter.”  I chuckled to myself and admired the risqué ( but hopefully harmless) antics of some of the revellers.

Some costumes were simply awesome!

Some costumes were simply awesome!

As Carnival Tuesday wore on, the streets were certainly getting very 'hot'!

As Carnival Tuesday wore on, the streets of Roseau were certainly getting very ‘hot’!

(It was very peaceful, by all official reports).  I headed home to put up my sore feet, review fun-filled photos and remind myself that playing ‘Mas’ in Dominica’s Carnival is definitely great, for old time’s sake!

* With special thanks to the organizers of the Old Time Sake Carnival Band for their efficient management, colourful costumes  and delicious lunch.  I had loads of fun and certainly recommend that others take a `jump`with this notable Carnival band.

For more information about Dominica’s Carnival activities, refer to:  http://www.dominica.dm; http://www.avirtualdominica.com; www.facebook.com/DominicaFests

Ti Domnik Tales 2013 in review

Happy New Year everyone!  I wish to thank my family, friends, followers and people who ‘like’ me for their ongoing support.  It was an incredible year for the Ti Domnik Tales blog and I am delighted that the current 86 posts received about 19,000 visits.  I extend special gratitude to Liz, who often comments on the posts . I  always enjoy replying to her positive contributions.  And to others who have commented, I am extremely grateful.  To Miss Dominica 2013, Leslassa Armour-Shillingford, thank you for sharing the post that I wrote about you.  It certainly generated tremendous interest at year-end.  Also, congratulations to my neighbour, Antony Agar, whose biographical post received the most visits over the year.

Stay tuned for more of my musings on Ti Domnik Tales in 2014.  I am now 14 posts shy of the 100 mark – which has always been my goal.

All the best in 2014!

Gwendominica

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Beyond Beauty: the Exemplary Miss Dominica 2013, Leslassa Armour-Shillingford

Naturally lovely Leslassa personifies beauty inside and out. Her name actually means 'harmony' in an Ethiopian language.

Naturally lovely Leslassa personifies beauty inside and out. Her name actually means ‘harmony’ in an Ethiopian language.

When I caught up with Miss Dominica 2013, Leslassa Armour-Shillingford, she was in the midst of organizing a Dance Showcase, the first fundraising event for the

charity that she created,  called DREAM (Dominica Realistic Education Arts Movement) Foundation,        to aid  young students with benefiting from holistic education.

As well as having a deep desire to help others, she admitted that she has always been “obsessed with dance,” as a way of expressing herself.  Although she had

Leslassa organized a Dance Showcase as one of her DREAM Foundation initiatives to help children realize their holistic education goals.

Leslassa organized a Dance Showcase as one of her DREAM Foundation initiatives to help children realize their holistic education goals.

 scoliosis, which is a curvature of the spine, she never allowed that health challenge to prevent her from dancing.  When she began her dance studies in Barbados at The Dance Place at the age of nine, she focused on classical ballet training and went en pointe  ( as in the poster) at the age of sixteen.  Amazingly, she was able to further work on technique after she left Barbados by watching YouTube videos and receiving some coaching from renowned American/Dominican diaspora dance instructor Watmora Casey when he was visiting the Nature Island.

 In classical dance style, she had prepared a routine as a poetry/ dance segment about a character  who sheds pain as she becomes free from child abuse for the Ms Jaycees International competition in July 2013, where she won the crown. One of the poses is seen in the poster above. 

Then in September,r this unique ballet presentation (without the spoken word part) enabled her to go on to the  Talent Finals as one of the top twelve out of 130 contestants in the Miss World Pageant in Indonesia in September 2013. 

With all of this information about Leslassa’s background, I was still amazed when I saw her performances at her Dance Showcase, where she crossed over into folkloric, contemporary and Latin genres!  There is no doubt – among her many exceptional traits is a superbly gifted dancer! You can read more about this initiative and  my review here.    Her non-profit organization is receiving sponsorship from some private and corporate sponsors, but there is much more to be done and she is spearheading this noble endeavor with great enthusiasm.

Leslassa presents a vibrant dance pose at Fort Shirley in teh Cabrits National Park for one of her sponsorship posters.

Leslassa presented  a powerful dance pose sequence at Fort Shirley in the Cabrits National Park for one of her sponsorship posters.

As well, she is the regional spokesperson for the Innocence Project and she told me that she had a number of presentations to make  around Dominica where she intended to  unhesitatingly speak out against child abuse.  And according to all the media reports that I’ve read late in November 2013, she did just that, in clear and concise words! Among other things, this young woman is an articulate speaker and she  presents the facts and her feelings about unfortunate social issues that demand change with conviction.”But there is a lot more to be done,” she asserted. 

When Leslassa looks back over the past several months of her reign as Miss Dominica 2013, she feels proud of what she has accomplished. She did realize her intention of bringing a strong social message to every pageant, whether about endangered animals, child abuse or holistic education. Her platforms were well received ,as she became the winner of three  challenging regional competitions in 2013: Miss Carival, Ms. Jaycees Queen, Miss Caribbean Culture Queen,  as well as first runner-up in Miss Caribbean World. She even represented the Nature Island for the first time in 35 years at Miss World 2013 in Indonesia  in September.  There is definitely something extraordinary about this young lady!

Gwendominica and Leslassa pose for a photo by the pool of one of her sponsors, The Nachorage Hotel.

Leslassa and Gwendominica pose for a photo by the pool of one of her sponsors, The Anchorage Hotel.

DSCF1293

Leslassa posed beside a Sperm Whale skeleton, which forms part of the Research and Education area at the Anchorage Whale Watch and Dive Center.

As an award-winning  2012 graduate of the International Baccalaureate programme at the   Rothesay Netherwood School in New Brunswick, Canada, she smiled as she reminisced about it: “I enjoyed my time there,”   she said. She mentioned that although the school was small, students were strongly encouraged to try new things.  She won the ‘Paddy MacAvity Award’ for Fine Character, Sportsmanship and Scholarship‘ as an all-around student. Apart from a heavy academic course load, she found time to choreograph a musical, participate on a rugby team, go camping and partake of other outdoor adventures in Canada’s wilderness.  Her classmates certainly respected this exceptional young woman as she was also voted ‘Head of House’ in her second and last year there.  She still believes that was a special honour bestowed upon her by them.  She was very appreciative, but preferred to share the  extensive  responsibilities with another colleague that included monitoring the  overall morale, discipline, comfort, room cleanliness and  compatibilities of 50 girls.

Leslassa really sparkled in the evening wear segment of the Miss Dominica 2013 pageant.

Leslassa really sparkled in the evening wear segment of the Miss Dominica 2013 pageant.

Although she subsequently received scholarships from Boston University   and Rider University, as well as acceptance offers from the American University, University of Toronto and Ryerson University  in Toronto, she decided to come back to Dominica for a year to try different things.  She had originally planned to take a massage course here, but friends Jeanne Royer (also a Miss Dominica 2013 contestant) and Chad Astaphan ( a ‘rising star’ in the music industry) persuaded her to enter the Miss Dominica 2013 pageant.  With the scholarship that she won from it, she intends to “do good things for Dominica.”   She is particularly interested in agricultural economics  and development, which she believes need more attention on the Nature Island.  She  hopes to apply her new-found knowledge in the organic sector after she completes her studies. 

I am convinced  that Leslassa is definitely her own person and is comfortable in her own skin.  She is a life-long vegetarian (as are her parents, Yvonne Armour and Henry Shillingford) and she is a naturalist in the truest sense: “ Nature is our connection to everything. It’s our purest form.  We all come from the earth – that is our foundation,” she emphasized.

When asked about how she has managed such intense pressure both on and off the stage for the past several months, her response was straightforward and genuine: “It’s all about how you handle it.“  She refuses to allow negativity or negative emotions to influence her.  As well, she was determined to go out and have fun and not dwell on her performances when they were over. ‘This is my life’s philosophy,’ she admitted, “ We have one life to live and I won’t change my beliefs to fit into any specific role.”  Now there’s wisdom in abundance for all of us from this young soul!

Leslassa`s traditional costume was designed by her aunt, Carla Armour and friend Amala Sorhaindo.  She is seen here during  Costume Parade of Dominica`s Carnival 2013.

Leslassa`s traditional costume  for the Miss Dominica pageant was designed by her aunt, Carla Armour and Rothesay Netherwood classmate and  friend Amala Sorhaindo. She is seen here during Costume Parade of Dominica`s Carnival 2013.

She credits her family , the essential members of ‘Team Lassa’ as being her strongest supporters and advisors. She is especially grateful to her aunt, the very talented and creative Carla Armour who was her chaperone and coach for Miss Dominica 2013 and at the various regional pageants. In addition, she is extremely appreciative of  friends, neighbours and  the many Dominicans who offered her assistance and encouragement so that she could realize these incredible accomplishments over the past year.  She is tremendously proud to act as an ambassador for the Nature Island.

Leslass took time for everyone to have a photo op with her, during Dominica`s Carnival 2013 costume parade, including me!

Leslassa took time for everyone to have a photo-op with her during Dominica`s Carnival 2013 Costume Parade, including me!

As a true Dominican, Leslassa `played mas`during Carnival in a colourful sensay outfit.

As a true Dominican, Leslassa `played mas`during Carnival 2013 in a colourful Sensay outfit.

Leslassa is intent on living out her dreams  as she so desires.  There is no doubt in my mind – if anyone can realize a truly authentic life, it is this remarkable young Dominican woman named Leslassa.  You go, girl!

You can follow Leslassa on Facebook here.

 

Observing Remembrance Day in Dominica

Many wreaths of flowers are placed at the base of Dominica's cenotaph every Remembrance Day.

Many wreaths of flowers are placed at the base of Dominica’s cenotaph every Remembrance Day. Photo taken in 2012.

For the past several years, I have made a point of getting up early on the Sunday morning closest to November 11th, which is DSCF1289when people in Dominica observe Remembrance Day. I always make my way to the War Memorial (Cenotaph) which is located on Victoria Street,  just north of the round-about by the Fort Young Hotel. I take a place, along with other members of the public under a shady tree in Peebles Park, directly opposite the site of the ceremony.  Before me, government officials, consular dignitaries, religious leaders and various military and youth bands assemble near the Cenotaph to honour Dominica’s servicemen and women of the First and Second World Wars.

His Excellency the President and Mrs. Savarin regard the March Pat with their Aide-de-campe.

His Excellency the President and Mrs. Savarin and other dignitaries regard the March Past.

When H.E.  the President and Mrs. Savarin  and a representative of the Dominica Legion arrived at 8 a.m., this special service began with observance of two minutes of silence, as noted by the firing of a rifle by a member of the Special Services Unit at the start and end of that time period.

Religious leaders officiated at the Remembrance Day Ceremony.  In the foreground, with the purplle sash is His Lordship Bishop Gabriel Malzaire.

Religious leaders officiated at the Remembrance Day Ceremony. In the foreground, with the purple sash is His Lordship Bishop Gabriel Malzaire.

When the ‘Last Post’ was touchingly played by a trumpeter in the Government Band, I could not hold back my tears. While I did not have a poppy at that time (a legion official came around with some later), I did have a Canadian flag pin on the collar of my blouse.  My thoughts always turn to my paternal grandfather, who was a veteran of WWI and WWII and my father, who was a veteran of WWII.  I know how much serving their countries (my grandfather –  Britain in WWI and then Canada in WWII after he emigrated from Wales) meant to them in that era.  I am actually delighted to honour my family members and all servicemen and women in Dominica who served their country, some of whom made the

Names of the fallen during WWI are contained on this scroll on the Cenotaph.

Names of the fallen during WWI are contained on this scroll on the Cenotaph.

Names of the Fallen during WWII are contained on this scroll on the Cenotaph.

Names of the Fallen during WWII are found on this scroll on the Cenotaph.

ultimate sacrifice in the name of peace.

I understand that Dominica is the only country to have two war memorials.  This one honours those of the French Resistance.  During the Vichy Regime in WWII, about 5,000 French people sought safety in Dominica.

I understand that Dominica is the only country to have two war memorials. This one honours those of the French Resistance. During the Vichy Regime in WWII, about 5,000 French people from the neighbouring islands sought safety in Dominica.

H.E. President Savarin lays a wreath at the Monument that honours the efforts of the French Resistance.

H.E. President Savarin lays a wreath at the Monument that honours the efforts of the French Resistance. Police Officers in ceremonial dress are in the foreground.

Dr. Lennox Honychurch provides timely commentary as he broadcasts the ceremony live on DBS Radio to the world. He has to face into the rising sun to observe it, which I imagine could be a bit of a challenge!

Dr. Lennox Honychurch provides timely commentary as he broadcasts the ceremony live on DBS Radio to the world. He has to face into the rising sun to observe it, which I imagine could be a bit of a challenge!

Plentiful wreaths are laid by government officials, followed by representatives of various embassies and consular offices on-island, and finally various organizations and individuals.  This year, I carried a small radio with earphones so that I could follow the proceedings more easily thanks to commentary provided by notable Dominican historian  Dr. Lennox Honychurch.  His remarks were being broadcast on DBS radio and I found they aided me tremendously.  I only wish I could have written it all down, as he did provide some fascinating details about Dominicans and their roles in these two World Wars.  Fortunately, I can always refer to his book, The Dominica Story and other references. (See below).

Then the Service commenced with readings from various church leaders, which were interspersed with two of my favourite hymns: The Lord is my Shepherd and O God, Our Help in Ages Past. Once the wonderful trumpet rendition of  Reveille resounded all around, President Savarin inspected the ex-servicemen who were present: Mr. Simbert Angol and Mr. Cuthbert Julien.  I could only feel tremendous respect and admiration for these two gentlemen, as they attended the service despite health challenges and their remarkably advanced ages.

I did not cross the street this year so I could not see the band leaders saluting President Savarin.  However, I have included some photos from 2012, when I was in close proximity to then-President, H.E. Eluid Williams.  I really enjoy watching the March Past- with members of Legion, Police Service, Fire and Ambulance Service in their finest regalia.  It is also reassuring to see various youth groups participating in this event year after year, including: The Dominica Cadet Corps; Youth Corps; Scouts; Girl Guides; Girls’ Brigade and the Red Cross.  It makes for a very colourful parade!

Here are some photos from the 2012 and 2013 Marches Past:

Members of the Dominica Police Force march past President Williams in 2012.

Members of the Dominica Police Force march past President Williams in 2012.

It was wonderful to see the Cadet Corps participate in the Remembrance Day ceremony. (2013)

It was wonderful to see the Cadet Corps take part in the Remembrance Day ceremony. (2013)

The Girl Guides were a wonderful sight to see on parade too!

The Red Cross and Girl Guides were a wonderful sight to see on parade too!

Government Band Mistress  Valena Letang salutes then-President Eluid Williams in 2012. She recently was bestowed the Sisserou Award of Honour by President Savarin  during Independence 2013.

Government Band Mistress Valena Letang salutes then-President Eluid Williams in 2012. She recently was bestowed the Sisserou Award of Honour by President Savarin during Independence 2013.

These accomplished singes in the St. Alphonsus Folk Choir make an invaluable contribution to the Remembrance Day Service every year.

These accomplished singers in the St. Alphonsus Folk Choir make an invaluable contribution to the Remembrance Day Service every year.

After the service (which is never more than an hour), I tend to linger near the cenotaph and greet people  that I know, such as members of the St. Alphonsus Folk Choir, who always accompany the crowd with their strong voices during the hymns.  Then I take photos of the memorials and do so for others who pose there and invariably someone takes mine  so that I have a  personal souvenir.

Gwendominica poses by the Cenotaph with teary eyes and gratitude for those who have stood up and sacrificed for peace.

Gwendominica poses by the Cenotaph with teary eyes and gratitude for those who have stood up and sacrificed for peace.

It is my fervent wish that  for always, “At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them, we will remember them.” (taken from: For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon (1914)).

References:

The Dominica Story: A History of the Island by Lennox Honychurch (1995).

For King & Country: The Service and Sacrifice of the Dominican Soldier by Irving W. André  & Gabriel J. Christian (2008). Information about the e-book version (November 2013) can be found here.

*A detailed report with photos is found on the news website Da Vibes here.

Three Saturdays in May: Dominica’s Hike Fest 2013 – Part 3

Gwendominica hams it up for the camera on one of several crossings of the Layou River during Hike Fest's 3rd and final Saturday adventure in 2013.  Photo taken by Simon Walsh, professional photographer at Images Dominica.

Gwendominica hams it up for the camera on one of several crossings of the Layou River during Hike Fest’s 3rd and final Saturday adventure in 2013. Photo taken by Simon Walsh, professional photographer at Images Dominica.

When I arrived at the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association office to register Hike Fest participants at 7 a.m. on Saturday May 18th, I had no idea that all 77 of us would be spending more of this trek in the water than on land!  The “Maroon Heritage River Hike” would be the last of a number of outdoor adventures that were offered this year as part of  the annual Tourism Awareness Month   activities on the Nature Island.

The trail is well maintained and signs do point the way on land  - but the river is another matter!

The trail is well maintained and signs do point the way on land – but the river is another matter!

At about 9:30 a.m. on that dry day in paradise, we disembarked from four buses at the village of Bells, which is located in the  island’s interior, north of the Pond Cassé round-about.  Anticipation and expectations were high.  We listened to long-time Hike Fest organizer and professional photographer Simon Walsh , who outlined the details of this adventure and introduced our guides.

At the start of the hike, about 80 enthusiasts strolled down to the Layou River en route to Jacko Steps and Jacko Flats.

At the start of the hike, about 80 enthusiasts strolled down to the Layou River crossing en route to Jacko Steps and Jacko Flats.

We were in for a few surprises and a load of fun – but I won’t give it all away at the top of this post!  The main objective was to experience and observe a very significant, historic place deep in the forest and high above the Layou River.  Our foray would take us to  two nearby locales called Jacko Steps and Jacko Flats, which are named after a famous negre maron (maroon or escaped slave) chief named Jacko. He  hid there in an encampment with his supporters  in the late 1700’s, raided and plundered many plantations and avoided capture by the British for about 40 years!

What is quite ingenious about this maroon and his followers is that they cut over 100 steps into the stone so that they had a stairway down the 300 foot cliff to the river.  However, these cuttings are far from ordinary.  They are very narrow, extremely steep and excessively high, which would have made it very difficult for British troops to quickly and easily attack them. The maroons would have seen them first from their  high hiding places in the dense forest.  Furthermore, the remote location of Jacko’s camp  on a plateau (flat land) was far from accessible.  As we quickly found out, getting to and from this area involved crossing the powerful Layou River, not once, but several times, depending on the direction of one’s approach.   They were well protected on three sides, because of the winding river with its forceful current and the steep, heavily treed cliffs.  Jacko was  a brilliant strategist, in my humble opinion!

We soon found out how clever Jacko was as we forded the  river for the first (!) time

The first crossing of the Layou River was only knee-deep.  The worst (best?!?) was yet to come - for us, but my camera had already begun to fade out before it succumbed to the river...

The first crossing of the Layou River was only knee-deep. The worst (best?!?) was yet to come – for us, but my camera had already begun to fade out before it succumbed to the river…

Trudging through the plateau hig above the rive rwas relatively easy - until we met the  Jacko steps!

Trudging through the plateau high above the river was relatively easy – until we met the Jacko Steps!

We walked up a path which met the challenging steps. Then we cautiously climbed down them to meet the river again! It was increasingly easy to understand why Jacko’s band of maroons were relatively safe from capture for so long.  One would have had to have been very familiar with the terrain, accustomed to the climate and in top physical condition to safely and successfully negotiate those steps!

These hooks were put in place over a couple of centuries ago to assist with a cable mechanism to pull goods up and down the steep steps.

These hooks were put in place over a couple of centuries ago to help with a cable mechanism to haul goods up and down the steep incline at the steps.

David (r) is an incredible guide who moved with swiftness and strength and saved a number of us from trips or topples over treacherous terrain.

A section of the Jacko Steps. David (r) is an incredible guide who moved with swiftness and strength and saved a number of us from trips or topples over treacherous terrain – both on land and in the river!

The start of the descent seemed easy - but of course Jacko would have planned it that way!  It was the  bottom up that was almost impassable - with good reason!

The start of the descent seemed easy – but of course Jacko would have planned it that way! It was  from the bottom up that was almost impassable – with good reason!

We definitely treaded with caution on the treacherous descent to the river.

From there, we realized that although the sun was shining, this was not a day for dry clothes.  As we traversed the rushing river, we  slid over slippery rocks and were often caught off-balance by the thrust of the current as its waters coursed towards the sea. Even along the shorelines, large boulders and uneven ground put my weak ankles to the test.   I had switched to plastic sandals and was thinking about putting on my hiking boots again.   I had carried them over my shoulder until that point.  But when I traversed a powerful cascade,  I tipped over with the force of the water and my  boots fell into the turbulent waters and started to drift away.  Simon immediately came to my aid and quickly retrieved the boots.  “So much for your dry boots,” he chortled.  I laughed out loud in response. If it hadn’t been for his sharp reflexes, I would have lost a  good pair of  outdoor footwear.  Thanks Simon!!!

When I reached the shoreline after about the third crossing, I realized that while my boots had been saved, I had potentially lost some other possessions, thanks to Mother Nature.  Although I had tucked my loosely plastic-wrapped   camera and my cellphone into my sports bra, I had not fully anticipated that the fearsome Layou would be so high on a dry day.  But I did have a few moments in waters up to my neck, so you know what happened next.  The camera was already fading, after several years of good service.  And as for the cell phone, it is drying out in a container of rice (!) as recommended to me by several people.  We’ll see what happens… Now there is a lesson learned – for me  – and for you!

As further photos on my part were out of the question, we were fortunate that Simon brought along a sophisticated camera and managed to keep it dry.    To see his excellent photo journal of the day’s events, look at his business face book page for Images Dominica, of which he is a partner.

At about the midway point of the several river crossings, a powerful current and fairly high waters presented a major obstacle for many of us.  I credit our guides, particularly David and Roberta, for getting us safely across to the opposite shore.  I had a moment or two during that exercise when I felt  as if the river  were about to carry me away.  I was trying with all my might to resist it and I tensed every muscle.  Strong hands pulled me safely to the other side.  I sat down and trembled for a few moments.  It occurred to me that the challenging Boiling Lake trail was perhaps a better option for my style of hiking.  But after a while I changed my mind.  Some African drummers had brought their instruments and were restoring our energy through their rhythmic sounds.

The joy of hiking in Dominica is that each trek offers something different about the Nature Island.That is what makes every outing a memorable adventure!

By the time we had slogged to the sixth crossing, some of us opted to go overland, thereby eliminating at least one traverse before the grand finale.  We were more than waterlogged, to put it mildly  While a few people started ahead, I and a few others insisted that we wait for a guide.  As I have observed and heard, it is very easy to get lost in Dominica’s dense jungle and I was not going to be party to that!

Roberta guided us through scrub,  farmlands and a cow pasture. Suddenly, we were back at the river’s edge, where we waited for the water enthusiasts to catch up to us for that very last crossing.  Amazingly, a small puppy, picked up at the trail-head, finished the  entire journey with us.  I watched people  carry him safely through all the rough waters.  I was also astonished that a nine-year old boy and ten-year old girl made the trip with relative ease.  I was so delighted for them, although they acted as if it were nothing.  Next time, I hope they will bring all their friends!

During the last traverse across the Laurent River, which flows into the Layou ,I actually began to feel more at ease with the flow of these  forceful bodies of water.  I seemed to be able to make moves that matched their unpredictable rhythms.   As we walked down the main road through the village of Bells to relax at the nearby RiverStone Bar ‘n Grill, I thought about Jacko with the greatest of  admiration and respect.

My day was not quite over, as it was time to eat and then  listen to some cool’ jazz and creole’ music from live bands.  I’ll tell you all about it in the next post!

*Special thanks to the Hike Fest Organizing Committee, particularly Maxine, David and Simon.  A big up to the tourism and hospitality interns (Victoria and the other young lady) from the Dominica State College  who helped me with registration and provided much needed support.  The guides with whom I associated were very good and added to the quality of the experiences.  I had a blast and I think most others did too!

**  I am also grateful to those in my hiking ‘pod’, especially Liz, Christabel, Wendy and the faculty ladies from Ross University Medical School for their congenial company.  Didn’t we have fun!!!

*** DO NOT attempt the Jaco Flats/Steps Hike without a knowledgeable guide. The Layou River is well-known for its flash floods, so it is inadvisable to go there on a rainy day.  The river crossings are not obvious and the current can be very strong. Local guidance is essential.

REFERENCES:

Caribbean Sunseekers Dominica by Don Philpott.Chicago: Passport Books, 1995.

Dominica: Isle of Adventure by Lennox Honychurch. Second Edition. London: Macmillan, 1995.

The Dominica Story: A History of the Island by Lennox Honychurch. London: Macmillan, 1995.