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bayou-of-pigs

Editor’s note:This post was guest blogged by Dan Tanner of dan-ruth-tanner.com

I’ve just finished reading Bayou of Pigs, by Stewart Bell, 2008 published by John Wiley & Sons. It is a true story and has been well-researched and is well-written. It is an account of the plot by the worst elements in society, in the US, Canada, and Dominica to overthrow the then-fledgling nation and make it a paradise for criminals.

You can find the book on-line. The cheapest is by HotBookSale.com but the site is tied to SmartSavingCenter.com that obligates the buyer to other purchase unless one is careful to immediately opt-out of the latter.

I knew that Dominica’s 30th independence anniversary was coming on November 3. I did not realize that independence came on the 385th anniversary of when Columbus first saw, and named, Dominica. The book deals sensitively with Dominica’s history, its original native populations of Arawaks and Caribs, the colonial era, slavery, etc. but principally deals with the invasion and coup plot. I saw only one error in the book – apparently someone thinks that there are boa constrictors in Dominica. And the book mentions Dominica being the location for two “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies and the CBS-TV production of “Pirate Master”. The timing of the book’s publication evidently did not permit the author to know that the flawed TV show was mercifully quickly cancelled by the network. It mentions that Massacre takes its name from what British soldiers did to native peoples at that place.

Small black and white photos head every chapter, and many things look as they do now, even in older photos (except that Roseau was clear of traffic). People around today in Dominica are mentioned; for example Lennox Honychurch. It’s mentioned that his father was kidnapped, but not that he was murdered.

Things turn out all right, probably because the evil people were stupid – especially the would-be racist invaders. If they had not been infiltrated by both US and Canadian law enforcement they may have, with surprise and superior firepower and with the Dominica Defense Force disbanded, been successful in overthrowing the government of Prime Minister Eugenia Charles. Oddly, as avowed anti-communists, they were about to overthrow a pro-US government and on behalf of left-wing coup plotters. But then, they were stupid. The book also points out that there could not have ever been any lasting trust or arrangement between such diametrically opposite groups as Marxists, anti-communists, Dreads and neo-nazi KKK racist types.

In the end Fredrick Newton is hanged, and the principal foreign plotters get what they deserve: Mike Perdue is discovered to be a closet homosexual and dies of AIDS, and Wolfgang Droege is shot dead while dealing drugs. And a minor plotter, Steve Hammond, has a sex change operation, which to my mind is a loss I’d rue! He (or she) now lives in Blackpool, Lancashire UK as “Andrea”.

I could hardly put the book down, and finished it two evening reading sessions.

In about seven weeks my wife Ruth and I will arrive in Dominica to live in retirement, a dream we’ve had since we first came to Dominica in 1987. We “discovered” Dominica for ourselves in a 1970s National Geographic feature. The Nature Island remains one of the few prime eco-tourism locations. We have met and become friends with people in Dominica who are simply wonderful. While the book is scary, one must be realistic: bad things can happen to good people and in good places; Bayou of Pigs was an aberration.

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