When the nation’s banana business was prospering, bananas were shipped along the Roseau River on rafts. Today, visitors and residents exploring their own backyards as cargo being transported by rafts. Thanks to St Lucia Bamboo Rafting, the activity is possible.
The island’s first river rafting firm is owned and operated by Dominic Fedee, a former tourist minister and local MP with huge aspirations for Roseau and the surrounding areas. “I used to be the Member of Parliament for the area and I brought many private investors to have a look at the facility to create jobs, I was fired up about creating opportunities but I couldn’t get anyone to invest. When we lost the election, I thought that now I am in private life I have a lot of time and it wouldn’t be a bad thing to occupy my time for this,” he told the media.
“The creation of jobs for Roseau was my inspiration. There is severe poverty in the neighborhood. I detest the poor. There are government programs and subsidies, but they won’t help people become more independent; instead, they must learn the dignity of effort, discipline, and tenacity. Job experience teaches you that.
Since the World Trade Organization declared the United Kingdom’s special tariffs for Caribbean bananas illegal and abolished them in the 1990s, the industry has sputtered.
The country that produced the most bananas, Saint Lucia, suffered the most. Although the nation still cultivates and sells bananas, primarily to other Caribbean nations, the business is nothing like what it once was.
The rural communities have experienced great disruption. Since the islands no longer received favorable treatment and we were unable to compete with bananas, we saw a major fallout. Roseau, the Canaries, and Anse La Raye were left behind when we made the shift to tourism. “There are no opportunities for young people,” Fedee stated.
Over the course of the previous eight months of operations, he has employed and trained numerous young people, including Stephan Charlie, the captain of the raft that Loop News was carried on with the assistance of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority.
Charlie, who attended the best secondary school in the area, was knowledgable and proud to share the history of the many sites we saw, such as the old plantation house where snakes were first imported to the island to prevent slaves from emancipating themselves.
A cooler with water and other drinks was provided as part of the trip to keep us hydrated in the midday heat. If needed, an umbrella was also available.
Fedee claimed that areas like Roseau and others had a lot to offer, despite the fact that excursions on the island largely take visitors to Soufriere and the renowned Pitons.
In addition to bamboo rafting, Fedee intends to launch a culinary program to highlight the finest herbs, foods, and beverages Roseau has to offer, revitalizing the local economy in the process.
In order to make the experience more complete, he also wants to enhance the Roseau beach, which feeds into the river. In order to create additional connections to the tourism product he is creating, he also hopes that locals will be inspired to use their skills to create small companies.
The work done by Fedee is timely.
The Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination award went to Saint Lucia Tourism for the 14th time, the Caribbean’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination award went to Saint Lucia Tourism for the second time, and the coveted Caribbean’s Leading Nature Destination award went to Saint Lucia Tourism for the first time at the recently held World Travel Awards.
With the cruise season fast approaching, Fedee is hopeful for large numbers of visitors and plans to expand its services into wellness with massages on the water and weddings.
He said they are talking to a leading wedding company in the Caribbean to provide those services.