Dominica's stunning beauty continues to capture the attention of creative thinkers whilst challenging their imagination and testing their limits.

This holds for Colin Lees from England, who moved to Dominica in 1997 with his wife, Cecily, and two young boys, aged five and one and a half.

Colin first visited Dominica in 1996 while trying to find the ideal island to call home.

"We were exploring various islands in the Caribbean to resettle from the UK. On a trip to Guadeloupe, I read about Dominica in an in-flight magazine, then discovered the ferry service and rescheduled my final week in Dominica," he said.

On that first trip, Dominica left a lasting impression on Colin as he recalled the island being "beautiful, friendly, relaxed, close to nature and not over developed."

This factored heavily into the family's decision to relocate, as they wanted a lifestyle change and a warmer climate.

"Shortly after arriving in Dominica, I wrote an article for the Liat in-flight magazine," Lees shared. "In 2004, I wrote another one for them, Dominica: The Eco-Tourist Island ( Finally, in 2021 I shared my passion for Dominica by writing a poem called Dominica Sublime ("

The Lees family quickly adapted to life here. Colin explained, "There was no culture shock, [for me] having already spent fourteen years in Africa in the '70s and '80s."

Colin, who has a background in architecture, and Cecily, a UK-trained lawyer, decided to use their talents and expertise to start a small business in line with Dominica's development goals.

"Our initial idea was to build a cottage resort for eco-tourists, but soon discovered that most small hoteliers and guest house owners were complaining about low occupancy rates, so instead, I launched a website to promote Dominica as a tourist destination and provided a booking service for stay-over visitors."

Cecily, on the other hand, after working with two local attorneys, went into partnership with a local businessman to establish Safehaven Real Estate.

Being resident in Dominica for over 25 years, Lees' impression of the country has evolved, primarily in the positive, as he notes the addition of a stadium; upgrade of major roads; improved medical facilities; low-cost housing developments, with health and community centres; and growth in the eco-tourism sector.

There have also been some less positive changes, as with any country worldwide, such as "an increase in the number of motor vehicles, causing congestion in Roseau and many more road accidents." However, on the plus side, there is a "greater choice in consumer food and goods and an increase in stay-over visitors."

In their years on the island, the Lees family have played their role in giving back to the country they now call home. They were among the first parents to benefit from the then-newly launched Pioneer Preparatory School. When the school moved to its present location, Colin was on the building committee, whilst Cecily was chair of the Parent Teacher Association.

Furthermore, "For a while, I taught chess there after school hours. Later Cecily and another two parents formed a not-for-profit high school called Orion Academy. We engaged enthusiastically in the organization and participation of fundraising activities for both schools. We sourced several scholarships for students at Orion Academy. We also raised funds to send a child in our local community who had a hole in the heart overseas for treatment. He later represented Dominica in the Paralympics."

Their eldest son, Michael, is well known in Dominica's artistic domain as he is actively involved in WAA (Waitukubuli Artists Association), SHAPE (Society for Historical Architectural Preservation and Education), and is a filmmaker with the legendary film Uncivilized, chronicling his experience living in the rainforest before and during Hurricane Maria.

In their retirement, Colin and Cecily enjoy life in Dominica and have never regretted their decision to move here. Cecily volunteers in the running of a children's library in Mero and the organizing of occasional outings.