On the banks of Roseau River Dominica

Market Day

Not even Roseau, with a new shopping mall and supermarkets can escape the impact of the island’s hinterland, the essentially agricultural base of Dominican society. For every Saturday, from before early until mid-morning, the capital (population 8000) hosts market day. There, beside the moth of the Roseau River with its backdrop of mountain and forest, laid out the bounty of the land. From armfuls of ginger lilies, to sacks of yam, from coffee beans to avocados, watercress to coconuts, all are gathered into this place of plenty, and endlessly festive endorsement of Dominica’s national motto – “Apres Bondie Cest La Ter (After God it is the land)”.


Roseau is a bustling little town with a small 18th century French quarter, surrounded by 19th century streets, their wood and stone houses support over-hanging verandahs and ginger-bread fretwork. A newly built Bay Front, with an imaginative museum housed in the old Post Office, has extended the once narrow waterfront. But now the middle-class Dominicans prefer to live in the cooler suburbs, many of the old town houses and their gardens have been pulled down and replaced by somewhat charmless concrete buildings.

Botanical Gardens

There are, though the still splendid Botanical Gardens, despite the destruction wrought by Hurricane David, in 1979, which reduced the 40-acre site to a “junkyard of tree limbs” – remains of a school bus can still be seen beneath the large baobab tree that crushed it. Successfully restored, the gardens, on the northeastern edge of the town, make the perfect setting for a cricket ground and there is an aviary for Dominica’s endangered Sisserou and Jaco parrots.

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