Sandra: So, what country decided to be “brave” and explore the Caribbean? Winsome: My teacher would be so proud of me for remembering all these dates! (Big laugh.) In 1627, the British Earl of Carlisle was given the rights to Dominica. Then in 1635, the French government claimed Dominica and sent missionaries to the island. This was a big mistake.
Donita: Why do you say that? Winsome: The Carib people put up a big fight. They did not want the soldiers or the missionaries telling them how to live. The Caribs made it very difficult for the French to get a “stronghold”; settlers did not want to stay. Sandra: How long did that last? Winsome: It was another 100 years before the French settled on Dominic. The population had dwindled because of fighting and disease. The French lost interest in living here. Donita: And no other country tried to take over? Winsome: The English came to the islands in 1761. Then the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783, giving the British control. It wasn’t until November 3, 1978 that there was full independence. By the 20th century, there was a plan to divide the Caribbean region among several nations. Donita: What did that mean? Winsome: In 1865, Dominica was a British Crown colony. By 1967 Dominica became semi-independent. We had a female prime minister in 1980. But the former prime minister did not like losing the election. So there was some trouble. Sandra: What happened? Winsome: There were two coup attempts and Patrick John the former minister was accused of starting them. He was acquitted, but a few years later was found guilty. Donita: Did he go to jail? Winsome: He was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Now ladies we have arrived at the Botanical Garden. Feel free to stroll around for as long as you like. I will look for you in an hour to find out if you want to stay longer or leave. Goodbye until then. Sandra: Goodbye. Donita, let’s get one of those flyers over there to find out about the park. (They pick one up and read.) Donita: It says here “The gardens cover nearly 1/3 of the land in the inner city. In the last few years, it has suffered damage due to severe tropical weather.” Sandra: What a shame! Donita: It seems to be a top priority to restore it. It says here, “The government has undertaken a serious effort to make the gardens a place of beauty once more for both the visitors and residents.” Sandra: It’s so beautiful now; can you imagine it looking better than this? Guide: Good morning, ladies. Both: Good morning. Guide: I am here to answer any questions you might have about the gardens. Donita: How big is this place and how long has it been here? Guide: There are 40 acres and was started in 1890 by the British Crown Government. The original purpose was to have a supply of seeds of various crops for the farmers. Sandra: Forty acres! I don’t think one hour will be long enough for us to see it all. Guide: You had only planned to see the garden for one hour? Donita: Our driver, Winsome said she would meet us in one hour. Guide: I know Winsome and I think she just wanted to give you some private time to look around; then she will probably join you and explain more about the plants, parrots and small animals. Donita: I’m very interested in seeing the parrots. I read that some of them are on the endangered species list. Guide: Yes, that is very true; I’ll show them to you as we get closer to the parrot research center.