LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Protect the Roseau Public Library

The following letter was written to the Physical Planning division dated 30th August 2020 and has since been shared with DNO. The full letter is below:


To: Physical Planning division, 3 Charles Avenue, Goodwill, Commonwealth of Dominica

30th August 2020
Dear Sir / Madam,

I am writing to you as a matter of concern as it relates to the current state and future of the Roseau public library.

I am sure that you are well versed in the history of the library, from its construction in 1906 funded by renowned industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie who also built New York’s Carnegie Hall, Scotland and Pennsylvania’s Carnegie libraries among many other historic sites.

The Roseau library has great significance to Dominica’s history and culture.

The library has survived many hurricanes and storms including but not limited to Hurricane David in 1979 and was swiftly and craft fully restored to its former glory.

Since then it has been diligently providing well needed services to Dominicans including myself as a young student. As well as its historical and cultural significance, the Roseau library provides many important services such as:

– Literary and academic resources to students young and old like; books, magazines, videos and internet access
– Quiet study areas
– Job opportunities through employment of staff
– Collection and access to Dominican materials published both in and out of Dominica

It is heart-breaking to see the current state of such an important building, due to the damage of hurricane Maria in 2017 and since then the neglect of the premises. Recently the building has sustained what appears to be two arson attacks and I fear that there may be more attempts on the building and therefore suggest that the building be secured, boarded up and covered in the meantime in order to protect it until repairs of the building commence.

Due to the historic and cultural value of the library, I would like to propose that the building also be classified as a Grade A listed/protected building within the Environmental Protection Area under the Physical Planning Act no.5, 2002 as well as considered for application as a world heritage site. This would prevent and ward off any attempts to utilise the land for personal and commercial gain. I hereby formally request as per section 47 (1) of the physical planning Act of 2002 that an interim preservation order be put in place to protect the interests of the building and by extension Dominica’s history.

Section 47 (1) reads:
Where it appears to the authority made on its own initiative or on the representation made to the authority or to the minister by a PERSON or body of persons that it is desirable having regard to the importance of preserving the landscape, architectural, cultural or historical heritage of Dominica to make provision for the preservation of any building or group or buildings of special architectural or historic interest in Dominica, the Authority may for that purpose make an interim building preservation order restricting the demolition, alteration or extension of the building or group of buildings. I trust and expect that you will agree and that this will be actioned accordingly and await your response on the matter.

Darren Louis

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  1. Gabriel Christian
    September 5, 2020

    I endorse this message. Let us rebuild the public library. Our contribution is certain.


    God bless you Darren for this stance.

  2. Let's Go higher
    September 5, 2020

    The library should be treated as the gift that it was. Someone, at the time, was very thoughtful and generous with his money and found Dominica and Dominicans deserving of a public library where the people could EDUCATE themselves and EMPOWER themselves through knowledge available ONLY through tangible books and documents at the time. What a gift that must have been in 1906, more than 100 years ago. What value that must have brought to generations of Dominicans and even visitors to our shores. And how horrified Mr Carnegie would be to see how we are treating his gift.

    Other individuals, organizations and Countries have given gifts to Dominica over the last 100 years. What have we done with these gifts? what have we done with the gifts we received from the UK, Canada, the USA, and Taiwan? How have we shown our gratitude to the gift givers, in spite of the dollar value of their gifts?

    And what will we do 10 years from now with the gifts that the Chinese are giving now?

  3. September 5, 2020

    Yes. I Fully Support Darren Louis On This Very Important Plight For Restoration And Preservation On This Historical Library Building In Dominica Capital City.

  4. Bring back the kidnapped parrots
    September 5, 2020

    There should be a constant police patrol while they are out on their beat they should go by there often at the library to prevent arson and other damage till the building is restored, if not the police members of the population who have a solid interest in preserving the building as a historic site.

  5. A voice
    September 5, 2020

    Thanks for keeping it hot on their lips Darren, because we all know who wants it and will use their front row speed-dial influence to turn it into their parking lot. I suspect a conspiracy since wifey is looking for things to do in Roseau she would have easily done this to stay relevant in the public’s eyes.

  6. Gary
    September 4, 2020

    It would be nice to have the Library building designated a Historical site. What about relocating the Library to a new location at the old Dominica Club property on High Street, make the existing site of the Library a museum and some sort of cultural center.

    Let’s not deceive ourselves, the present Library location is too small for a modern Library. The PM spoke about building a modern Library including a center for performing artists and a recording studio, can this be done on the present site of The Library.

    • Toto
      September 7, 2020

      ThePM spoke about many things, many things did have not materialise. Don’t pin your hope on that.

  7. Joseph John
    September 4, 2020

    I think instead of demonstrations a fund raiser would be more reasonable. Also the Government may want to seek financial and technical assistance from the UN and other international organizations, regional organization and and governments.

  8. de Observer
    September 4, 2020

    Neglect, then arson. Typical of a mafia type hit by developer(s) looking to replace a historical site with commercial interests.

    Anytime one begins to burn books, this represents a direct attack on democracy. Just imagine what the absence of the library would do to the potential BLESSINGS in Dominica.

    Mr. Darren Louis’ request should be a demand by the people of Roseau in particular, and by Dominicans in general. But with everything else that has happened in Dominica, including a public road becoming Skeritt’s personal private track, the library is the next to go.

    “The burning of books under the Nazi regime on May 10, 1933, is perhaps the most famous book burning in history.”

  9. history
    September 4, 2020

    Don’t count on that sir. This Government is bent on tearing down historical sites. They care nothing about the preservation of history and culture of the Country. Our Parrots are no longer indigenous to us. They were secretly exported to Germany more than one year ago, and not one day have to provided an update to the public. Do you really think they care? They recently tore down the former (Venus Guest House). This could have been made a cultural centre for youth in Roseau. But what do they really care. The Mango tree which is a landmark in the city of Roseau, which bore the sweetest juiciest mangoes ever was marched down with a backhoe without a care!!! So vexing. This tree withstood hurricanes, and storms for more than 70 years. Do they really care!!! They visit Dubai and want to live like the Princes who were born wealthy. But they choose to be the fake princes of the Caribbean. They take pride in tearing down history while the people watch!!! SHAME!!!

  10. preserve the public library
    September 4, 2020

    I fully support this recommendation and would like to add: The public library is not only a building of historical significance, it is part of a broader physical plan for the town of Roseau. If a modern library is desired, a suitable alternative location must be found. I beg those in authority not to take Roseau apart in a piecemeal fashion to satisfy immediate needs, but rather, develop a holistic plan that supports the culture and sustainability goals of Dominica alongside its historical roots. While the ideas of others can be entered into a Think Tank for consideration, such an endeavour must be led by a team of individuals who have been trained in urban planning for small cities and towns.

  11. click here
    September 4, 2020

    How can petitions be signed and submitted to CABINET and or PARLIAMENT to have this done ASAP? They people who pay these fools who run Dominica have demands. And they shall be listened to and delivered. I call on every able bodied and sound thinking Dominican to stand behind the protection and renovation of this site. Too many of us have benefited from its existance to simply let these people who have probably never even step foot inside it to allow it to fade away like it was nothing. Melissa Skerrit, what is your stance on this? You represent Roseau.

    • click here
      September 4, 2020

      All the left over materials from Maria, and elections. lets use them to fix the place man.

    • Gary
      September 4, 2020

      Do you need to make such silly statement, “let these people who have probably never even step foot inside it to allow it to fade away like it was nothing,” Wow. You seem to have the same attitude using the modus operandi of the UWP, I’m referring to the opening statements of your comments. Don’t you think there are protocols and procedures as to how things are done, why such bludgeon attitude.

  12. DR Clayton Shillingford
    September 4, 2020

    I support Darren Louis in his proposal for restoration and preservation of the Roseau Public Library

  13. Roger Burnett
    September 4, 2020

    I fully support this letter.

    May I suggest that it is copied to the Parliamentary Representative for Roseau Central, in whose constituency I understand the library stands, and also to the gentleman that lives just across the road from the building.

  14. Pipo
    September 4, 2020

    I very much support this.

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