University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science Previous Contents Next

12.6 Sense of community

Many of the districts of Roseau are under a state of change. People are moving out and in. In Potter's Ville, for instance, those who have become wealthier are moving to Goodwill and substituted by originally rural people moving to Roseau. Those in Goodwill start moving higher up (
Didier 1999). Didier finds changes that are happening in Potter's Ville mainly negative. New concrete houses are built and old wooden ones demolished. Green space is becoming more sparse. Didier points a breadfruit tree near his home (Fig. 55) and says that before they used to be more numerous. He also remembers seeing more animals--birds and lizards, for instance--when he was child. One of the most significant changes is that nowadays people construct fences around their lots, and it is therefore impossible for childs to run from one yard to another inside the blocks. According to him, it is a sympton of the loss of community.

Didier compares Potter's Ville to Newtown, and says that in the past times--the 1970s and before--these two communities used to be very competitive. Especially it was so during the carnival in February. According to Didier, Newtown has kept its somewhat clanish identity in tact more than Potter's Ville. This is exemplified, for instance, when the football teams of these communities have a match. On Newtown side there are still many fans and supporters on the side of the playing field but not on Potter's Ville side. Grant (1999), however, sees that the role of football and other sports should be emphasised even more to keep the young of Newtown occupied and off the streets.

Also Lower Goodwill is changing its inhabitants. According to Philip (1999), apart from Potter's Ville, Lower Goodwill receives new habitants also from Riverside and the countryside. Due to rising real estate prices in the outskirts of Central Roseau, people living at Riverside can sell their real estate with good price and move out. As originally when Lower Goodwill was built in 1950s and 60s, the people who lived there were mainly professionals of various fields, nowadays it is inhabited mainly by working people and their children.

Loss of green space matters Philip, too. Where there used to be 'just an open area with canes and guava trees' is now the site of Gutter Village which Philip says that it is 'a society in a society'. Vigo (1999) confirms Philip's idea by stressing the community sense of his neighbourhood. Gutter people do not have money to buy work force so they have to provide for themselves. Vigo mentions the bridge that crosses Gutter--the ditch after which the community got its name--as an example. The Government supplied material for the construction but the work was done by the villagers. However, Vigo is not content with the manner how people treat their environment and says that the whole village would need some cleaning up.

If some older districts of Roseau are losing their sense of community, in the newer districts such as Gutter Village and Bath Estate the sense is just arousing. Didier has noted growing concern for one's community at Bath Estate. There is a new community group which has been active, for instance, towards the Dominican government in issues concerning their district. On the other hand, Bellot and Gabriel (1999) see that the sense of community is not developing primarily on the level of whole district but more locally, street by street. The wide feeder lanes which characterise the older part of the district, Upper Bath Estate, provide kinds of common yards for people living on the side of those lanes (Fig. 56). Children use them to play cricket, for instance. The micro-community is even enhanced by the fact that, according to Bellot and Gabriel, many inhabitants have come to Bath Estate originally by families in a manner that people living on same lane are often related to each other.

It thus seems that Roseau is full of problems, and except for few exceptions becoming a hostile city that is losing its sense of community. However, as Lynch (1981: 69) says when speaking about utopian and dystopian thinking, people tend to be much more detailed and imaginative when the negative issues are concerned, as opposed to positive ones. That was also the general tendence in the interviews of this study. People expressed mostly positive values towards different districts of Roseau and their people. They said that Potter's Ville is 'fine' and Goodwill people are 'nice', and so on. But when asked if there were some issues that needed to be changed, they gave a detailed and versatile account of the subjects which they had in their mind.

Incidence of drug abuse, for instance, was one of the problems mentionned by several interviewees. St. Rose Williams (1999), for instance, that one should have more policemen in the streets of Roseau, and as far as the drugs were concerned, several other interviewees called for better order and acts to reduce criminality, too. The drug problem is certainly real but, nevertheless, Roseau is still basically seen as a good place to live.

University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science Previous Contents Next