Known as ‘the Nature Island’, Dominica is the sixth Caribbean island to be visited by the Queen’s Baton Relay. Dense rainforest covers the island, which is home to the second largest hot spring in the world – the Boiling Lake.
A musical welcome greeted the baton as it arrived in Dominica, with the Karina Cultural Group – adorned in traditional dress – giving a traditional Kalinago performance made up of wooden drums, shakers and pipes.
Dominica remains in touch with its heritage to the ‘Kalinago' or ‘Carib’ peoples of its history. These were the indigenous peoples of the Lesser Antilles, and to whom the Caribbean Sea owes its name.
Later in the day, the baton visited the ‘Kalinago Barana Autê’ – or the Carib Model Village – for an authentic demonstration of the make-up of a historical Kalinago village.
Like many Caribbean islands, cricket is the largest participated sport in Dominica, with representatives from the country making up some of the West Indies Cricket Team.
Dominica first attended the Commonwealth Games in 1958, and has competed in every Games since 1994. The country has high hopes for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, and the island’s athletes were keen to meet the baton.
At a secondary school athletics meet in Portsmouth, the baton was held by two national record holders – Gihon Defoe (Long Jump) and Shanee Angola (Javelin), who both spoke about their desire to travel to Glasgow and represent their country at the XX Commonwealth Games this summer.
The baton was then taken up to Fort Shirley, on the north-west coast of the island. Set up by the British in the 18th century as a strategic site for its location and the availability of fresh water and provisions, Fort Shirley has been recently restored and is a well preserved example of one of the British garrisons of that time. From the top of the ramparts, adorned with a battery of guns, the baton enjoyed spectacular views over Rupert’s Bay.
The Queen’s Baton was taken to the hot sulphur baths. These naturally occurring springs are a large attraction on the island, drawing hundreds of visitors and locals every year. The hot, sulphur-rich water that pours into the baths is said to have dermatological benefits. This fascinating geographical phenomena was the perfect backdrop for the baton’s send-off from Dominica.
Antigua and Barbuda is the next destination on the momentous journey of the Queen’s Baton Relay. This twin island nation is home to 365 beaches – one for every day of the year!