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Purely Dominica

Purely Dominica

I’ve just finished reading “The Dominica Story: A History of the Island
” by Dominica’s own outstanding multi-faceted Lennox Honychurch. It was given to me by my wife Ruth as a 70th birthday gift, and is a gift that I’ll treasure and re-use.

We are retiree settlers here in the Nature Island, and did not have the experience of learning about Dominica in school or while growing up.

Although I believe that this fine book makes a perfect addition to anyone’s library, it is, in my opinion, a “must have” for those like ourselves.

The Dominica Story kept me fascinated with its complete (and I mean complete) history of the island including its very formation, geology, anthropology, natural and societal histories. Of course, I learned lots that I hadn’t known, and I also found myself well-grounded in familiar place names and even with names of persons I knew, know, and may have heard of.

In a manner that kept me glued to the book, I learned about the complex, often interlaced, issues that Dominica has faced, overcome, and still faces as challenges (or opportunities).

To write that that this book is well-researched would be serious understatement, as the extensive bibliography and numerous illustrations attest to well. But then, knowing the author, one would expect nothing less. Also admirable is his delicate, fully professional, treatment of historical events intertwined with his or his family’s own history.

This book is available in local bookstores or order your copy at

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Editor’s note:This post was guest blogged by Dan Tanner of

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 but the site is tied to 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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Photo by:alicepopkorn

My post today touches a bit on forgiveness, and how do we show compassion to those who have hurt others. Over the just concluded African liberation weekend, the Rastafarian community made yet another plea for the release of Eric ‘Zeye’ Joseph who is serving time at the Dominica State Prison.

Joseph has served twenty-seven years in prison for the murder of Ted Honychurch in 1981. Ted Honychurch was the father of noted local Historian Dr. Lennox Honychurch who was press secretary to the Dominica Freedom Party government at the time of his father’s death.

Speaking recently on State radio, Dr.Honychurch said his family has come to reality of the lost his father and are not opposing the release of Mr. Joseph.

That’s a great level of forgiveness and compassion instilled by the Honychurch family. This is the kind of compassion I’m sorry to say lacks greatly in our Dominican society today. To many times have I seen feud between families carry-on for years.

So how do you show compassion to those who have hurt others? I’d no clue where to begin 😕 . I decided to search the internet for what I believe is the best suitable answer or explanation. After hours of browsing through many different websites, I came across this answer by his holiness The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet – who at the time was addressing a crowd of 65,000 college students from the different colleges around Washington D.C. The Dalai Lama was posed this question:

Q: How do you show compassion to those who have hurt others?

A: With understanding. Understanding the relationship between all living things allows unbiased compassion to all others. People who have hurt others particularly need compassion for two reasons. One, they work against your goal for overarching peace. Secondly, they are probably hurt themselves as they hurt others, so they need more compassion to heal their hurt within.Read it again.

How do you show you compassion to others? Or are you incapable of showing compassion to those who have hurt you in one way or the other. Let’s hear your say.

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