Franklyn Georges
Franklyn Georges

The teaching of Black History being in Dominica's schools and a new library building were among the national issues which surfaced during the launching of Black History Week (February 10-14) by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit at the Public Library in Roseau on Monday February 10, 2014. Among the guests were former President His Excellency Dr Nicholas Liverpool and Mrs Liverpool.

Franklyn Georges who has been at the heart of black awareness and promotion since returning to Dominica from England in recent years has been partnering with the Public Library authorities in organising activities to commemorate Black History Month in February.

Georges presented 40 books on black people and history to the Library and to Wesley High School. He asked the Prime Minister to have Black History taught in the schools as happened in England before returning to Dominica.

He hinted that down the road there was something he would want to do, that is, to give something he has at his home to his country, and when we do, referring to his family, that something would make the Library have one of the best African culture sections in the Caribbean.

Franklyn Georges also made a case for "A Friend of the Library Association" to make the library a place of learning where people will get to know themselves, know their history and know where they are going.

Prime Minister Skerrit who declared Black History Week opened received the books from Georges on behalf of the Library. He thanked him on behalf of the government and the ministry of education for making us proud of our heritage… to have an appreciation of what black people have done in the development of Dominica, and in the world.

"On the issue of teaching of black history at the schools, the authority is in the hands of the teachers and parents, so they have the authority to introduce black history into the school system," Prime Minister Skerrit said. "So it does not have to take a directive from myself as Prime Minister or the Minister for Education to instruct this because there are a number of things those in charge of the schools, from time to time, do with no authority from myself or the Minister for Education. It has to be a call and a decision by the school system and to say that they have my full support to introduce black history at the secondary schools.

"I look forward to the day when we can have the most prestigious library in the Caribbean. I have received a design for the library but I am not satisfied with it. I want to better what you see at your back in respect to the State House when it comes to the library. So we are now redesigning the library and we will present it to the country in very short order. The people of Dominica would have to assist the Government in determining where do you place the library because, clearly, the space between this library and DBS Radio will not have sufficient space. It will require the demolition of one of the buildings. I understand that there is strong opposition to the demolition of this present library structure so we have to look at where we place this library; it has to be in close proximity to the population walking distance so it cannot be out of town, so to speak. Once we have designed the library we will be in a position to engage the general public as to where we place the library. Clearly, in this second decade of the 21st Century this cannot be our national library; we have to do better than that and we must do better than that and the Government is committed to doing better than that"

Chief Librarian Magdalene Robin noted that the contributions from Mr Georges had augmented their collection on Black History.