Dr Irving Andre
Dr Irving Andre

Imagine performing surgeries with the dim fluttering light of a hurricane lamp; imagine you're a black doctor and all the other physicians in the country are white and Anglo-Saxton; imagine you're a doctor in Marigot in 1926 and having to ford rivers, climb hills , ride to work on horse-back and still believe you have found paradise.

That, according to author Dr. Irving Andre, was the reality in which Dr Reginald Fitzroy Armour flourished and became one of Dominica's great medical professionals.

In his latest book entitled: The Life and Legacy of Dr Reginald Fitzroy Armour, Dr. Andre, according to Gabriel Christian, "allows us to share the lives of another of our nation's builders".

Andre has written biographies of Franklin Baron (who died two weeks ago), Edward Oliver LeBlanc, R.B. Douglas, Dr. Desmond McIntyre, Charles Maynard, Elias Nassief and Albert Cavendish Shillingford.

Andre launched the 116-page book about Dr Armour's life and accomplishments at the Anchorage Hotel on April 19, 2016.

At the launch, Dr Edouard Armour, the fifth son of Dr Reginald Fitzroy Armour, said the idea of a book about his father arose out of a discussion with friends "about books, about people who have contributed to Dominica."

Dr Armour said upon arriving in Canada he received a call from Dr Irving Andre who offered to write a book about his father.

"Over the last year and a half we had exchanged phone calls and he has done research," said Dr Armour.

He said the book should be written about his father because of his contribution to the Dominican society during his lifetime.

According to Dr Armour his father "was a thinking man, an intelligent man, a man who gave us that comfort, who gave us that self-confidence, and always believed in us and

He added that his father believed in education and instilled in his children the idea that anything is possible once they have the ability and worked hard enough.

Meanwhile, Dr Irving Andre said Dr Reginald Fitzroy Armour was born in 1893 in humble circumstances in Trinidad.

"He was the proud product of an absent father…Unfortunately and historically we are natured to believe that disadvantage is an impediment to success and Dr Armour and others have shown that on the contrary that disadvantage is access to success", he said.

He noted that Dr Armour was born in a time when Trinidad was described as an inflexible society where young black males faced a dire future.

Dr Andre said at the early age of 11 0r 12 Dr Armour embarked on a journey to the United States with only a few pennies with the sole intention of becoming a medical doctor.

"How ridiculous did that seem at the time, he lacked the social pedigree to succeed but there was a man who believed that there were no barriers too strong to prevent him from achieving that success," Andre said.

Dr Armour made his was his way to Chicago where he was enrolled in the Jenner Medical College and worked numerous jobs whilst he attended school. Dr Armour graduated in 1917 with an award in Anatomy.

Dr Andre noted that Dr Armour moved back to Trinidad in 1924 where he established his practice in Princess Town. However, he left after two years when he responded to colonial ad for a position in Marigot, Dominica.

"Marigot was almost like a promise land for this man," said Dr Andre.

Dr. Armour married Margery Bryant, who he met in 1928, and together they had nine children. The Portsmouth hospital was renamed in honour of Dr Reginald Fitzroy Armour.