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12.7 Places in Roseau

The new Bay Front is praised by Roseauans. None of the interviewees had anything bad to say about it. Before 1993, when the constructions were finished, the Bay Front was just a narrow stretch between the buildings and the sea. Now it is a spatious boulevard named after Dominica's former Prime Minister Mary Eugenia Charles with parking for cars and wide sidewalks for pedestrians.

Alexander (1999), for instance, says that the new buildings which have been constructed to the Bay Front have improved old traditional setting and brought a 'more advanced way of life' there. Didier (1999) finds it as a 'ready-kind of place which could be good for a lot of different things'. According to him, it is easy to find an audience there if one has a new band to introduce, or something else. During the study period, for instance, a protest against the intentions of France and Japan to ship radioactive waste through the Caribbean basin was held at Bay Front (Fig. 57).

Grant (1999), who works at the Bay Front, says that it is busy especially at the Tuesdays when Fascination, a large cruise ship, is on port, but is otherwise, often relaxing in the afternoons and evenings. If there is a cruise ship, the street is full of taxi drivers and tour operators, and the sidewalks are filled with souvenir vendors. Cruise ships use the berth which allows passengers a direct access to the city. Vigo (1999) recalls the times when the cargo ships had to anchor in front of the sea front, and smaller vessels brought their cargo to the jetty. Cargo shippings were relocated already in the 1970s when Woodbridge Bay deepwater harbour was constructed (1995a: 190). Vigo says, however, that even before the Bay Front was not so busy as it is now.

Nevertheless, Philip (1999) finds that the Bay Front is currently underutilized. Due to the existence of Post Office, Court House, fish market, ferry terminal and other social and commercial activities, many local people visit the Bay Front also day-time. Philip would bring more commercial activity to the site, and develop it as a meeting point for people.

Close to the Bay Front and the Cruise Ship Berth is the Old Market Square (Fig. 58). As Vigo says, '[y]oung is present and old is past'. The New Market in the Western corner of Central Roseau has now its former functions. Currently, the Old Market is primarily a craft and souvenir market for cruise ship tourists. However, as Alexander reminds, history is repeating itself. Before they where black people who came by ships and were subsequently sold there by white people. Nowadays, they are whites that come by ships, and the blacks are selling products for them. Not mentioned by Alexander is the business of tour operators who compete with each other for the white tourists. This idea reminds one of a stronger association with slave trade.

City Clerk of Roseau (at the time of interview) Oliver St. John (1999), on the other hand, does not conceal his discontent. He, too, sees a historical continuum in the present use of the Old Market Square. Rural people come into market to sell their products, just like it has always been. He argues that the square should be more user-friendly also for local people, and have more cultural aspect on it. Henry Shillingford (1999) of Dominica Conservation Association proposes that the vendors should be removed from the Old Market square, and it should be developed as a café plaza which would give some breathing space both for the cruise ship tourists arriving into the city and for local inhabitants.

Dominica Museum, however, is situated in the old Post Office building between Old Market and the Bay Front. Alexander finds its location to be ideal since by its presence it reminds of the historical significance of that place. Other old buildings around the square support this historical ambiance.

The Botanical Gardens, on the other hand, illicits very different connotations in the minds of Roseauans. Some, like Warner (1999), find it beautiful and keep visiting it where others do not visit often, like Anonymous (1999), but still find it as a relaxing place. Others, like Philip and Vigo, find several needs of improvement there, and Didier says that he is very upset of its current condition.

In his childhood in the 1960s, Didier spent often whole afternoons after schooldays in the Gardens. The agricultural station--still situated in the Gardens--had various fruit trees that did not exist in Potter's Ville, and the children were able to eat the fruit. Now the fruit trees are gone, and the gardens are used as a shortcut by drivers heading from Valley Road to Bath Road. According to Didier, even large trucks use the route. For him and his childrens the Gardens are no longer a resting place that it should be. Vigo alsoused to spend time in the Gardens as a child. Now, what he thinks that the Gardens need, are more trees and flowers, and improvevements should be made to the cricket facilities. Philip, on the other hand, calls for more activities. As most people are working at daytime, there should be concerts and other kinds of cultural activity arranged at nights. For night activities, electronic lightning should be installed to the Gardens.

Didier tells that sometime in the 1970s there were concerts arranged at Newtown Savannah. Primarily it is a sports fields, used mainly for football (Fig. 59). Its current condition does not, however, correspond with its purpose. Warner and Vigo both identify needs for proper draining and new grass for the field.

The interviewees are dissatisfied with several places in Roseau. The Dominican Government, Roseau City Council and some non-governmental organisations have several development plans for Roseau. Some outlines of these plans are discussed in next chapter.



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