Finally, a place where toddlers and pre-teens can recreate
Since the good old days of the Merry-Go-Round located where the Public Service is presently built, we have not seen public swings, slides, merry-go-rounds, or horse rides. Through the innovation of some enterprising young men (Tilly, Stinky, Burgers and crew from Goodwill) two decade ago we saw Coney Island pay its last visit to Dominica at the Lindo Park.
This provided an opportunity for children and families to be entertained daily with horseback riding , Ferris wheels, a variety of games , bingo, darts and a host of other stimulating activity for the entire family supplemented with drinks and eats galore.
Teenagers in Dominica today do not know of such events because from the cradle they are exposed to parties, block-o-ramas and hence grow up too fast and never really indulge in fun activities suitableto their age. Already they know nothing of dolls, hop scotch, nuts, playing jacks, catapult, big stone, ring games, cowboy 'maychastay', mamie and daddy, marble hole and a host of others so they had to get involved in things that adults would - the real Mamie and Daddy business. No time for play acting- sex, cigarette smoking, partying became the vices that they and adults indulged in.
In a time when movie houses struggle to compete with television and Carib Cinema is no more, it has been difficult for mature person to find places to socialize just as it is for those pre- teens. For this reason the playground recently built at Goodwill by some Canadian volunteers and the People's Pentecostal Church must be given thumbs up.
Now when I passed through the community I can see there was a need, a thirst, as everyday scores of young people converge, entertain and recreate. Similar activities were made available to patrons at Brizee Mart for a number of years before the company closed down. But when such a facility is erected in a public space where the community has full access, it elevates the enjoyment, participation and pleasure to a next level.
Every community, I dare say, needs such a space where families can 'chill' or discuss with their peers while supervising their young ones. I always wonder why not the Botanic Gardens? It the biggest piece of green space within a city, compounds within any capital in the region. Presently, one is limited to occasions like an evening stroll, for driving lessons, for exercise or watch a game of cricket but there is nothing else in the day or night to keep one's interest or occupy the very young. What's more the Gardens is closed by 7pm!
Furthermore, the positioning of the few benches at the Gardens are questionable as they are not placed under the cool and shelter of trees; hence studying, reading or just relaxing can prove to be a challenge. What about designating an area for a once-a-month activity for literary expression or games for youths? It would require limited lighting for the purpose or probably moonlight nights could be targeted.
This reminds me that there is a facility at Goodwill which is very under-utilized; there is a pavilion of sorts where nothing is being held. It is even more mind-boggling why an affluent community of such long standing do not have lighting facilities at Lindo Park.
I witness daily a number of youths having to leave the Park having just played for about an hour because they compete with the sunlight. One may want to blame these young people and question why did they begin so late? But many do work and are engaged otherwise and really after returning from a days' work it is difficult to get into any meaningful activity before 5pm.
Residents of Goodwill must put the suggestions above to persons who seek political representation.
Nonetheless, one hopes that the facility established adjacent to Charles Avenue, outside the People's Pentecostal Church, is just the first of a number to engage youth and families around the island.