Rogues in Paradise, the Real Story of Barbados, celebrates the Afro-British Caribbean Culture and Barbados People—and all the quirky, fun-loving ordinary, and extraordinary Barbados characters who call it home.
In this thoughtful, funny, and provocative true real story of Barbados, readers find themselves thrust into an evolving world: One that begs exploration of its history, people, and culture.
Barbadians, also called Bajans, come to life in vivid colour through a series of character vignettes—from their electrifying personalities to their mischievous mechanisms for survival to their quiet intensity. Each Character jumps off the page in images as striking as the pictures painted by Woolly Hewitt or Darla Trotman. It is The Real Story of the People of Barbados featuring Bajan characters, ordinary folk, knights and heroes. All are delightful characters, polished and unpolished, rogues, rascals, unsung heroes, and true Bajans.
With warmth and humour the stories explore humanity, heritage, people, and cultural responsibility. It speaks to a larger psychological question of Character: how can Afro-Barbadian people be so resilient after 300 years of slavery? Interwoven history and lucid storytelling move the narrative outward from personal observation, providing a rich backstory on navigating contemporary life against a complicated past. At its core, Rogues in Paradise redefines what it means to rise for one and as one in pursuit of the common good. It celebrates cultural identity, friendship, and adventure but, more than that, it celebrates the human spirit in us all.
Naturally, one must understand “Who and What is a Rogue” to appreciate this book. The word rogue has many meanings, and to some extent, it depends on the circumstance. The First Rogues in Paradise are the early colonials who discovered and settled the island. Many were mobsters who do not deserve the title of rogue. Rogues in this book are empathetic and charming independent-minded people. Discover more at the link below >>>
The readers who will like Rogues in Paradise will be far-reaching due to the book’s timely messaging and strong, carefully constructed storylines. The stories range from fun encounters with street people to conversations with real heroes, acclaimed characters, and everyday rogues. See who it appeals to and why.
Compared to other Books about Barbados, Rogues is unique in that its primary focus is the local people, the unsung heroes of tourism. Barbados has the highest rate of repeat visitors in the Caribbean and if you ask a visitor why they return year after year, they will tell you it is about the real local Barbados people. The people of Barbados are a joy. Bajan are great hosts and love to meet and greet visitors. That extends from hotel managers to beach vendors and all the folk you are likely to meet wherever you are on the island. But Rogues is far more than this. It dives into history to unravel the complex heritage that makes Barbados and Barbadians unique. There are many books on the history of Barbados, but, none weaves it into contemporary culture with comments from real locals and their narrative on roots. For more on Barbados books see our blog on local and international comparative literature.
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Long before being published, rogues attracted a lot of media attention. The book has been reviewed and is still being reviewed by leading publications and publisher sites like Reedsy.
Rogues Tours of Barbados
The interactive map shows where rogues events/chapters take place. It is a rogues tour of the book’s stories and chapters. As you click on point the map zooms to the area and a summary pops up. Click here
Two Weeks to Judgement Day
The Barbados People are a mixture of all types of characters, rogues, and heroes: Each character adds spice and context to the lifestyle of the island. Ace is a charming rogue who lives by his wits on the edge of the law. He is a tall, strong, and impressive man with a contagious, positive, and fun attitude. He walks and talks with a swagger, with music in his mind and at his pace. ‘Flip, flap, slide, and slap.’ Moving forward and never back, Ace is happy running off the track! Aces abundant charisma and personality make one wonder how people born with such natural charm and ability can end up living on the edge by choice or providence. Chapter Videos
Ace flows with the punches and rises above them. He sees the positive in misfortune and makes the most of it. He is thoughtful and caring and always walks with a smile, even as he sizes you up for a steal or decides to let it go. See his crazy encounters and trouble with the law in ‘Banana Bust.’ It is all about the choices we make.
Bubbling with passion and anger at the unfairness in the world, Woolly grabs the bull by its horns and gets international fame for his iconic folk arts and character. Articulate and determined, he hijacks the media with a bold PR stunt that is a statement of the Bajan character. It is a lesson in self-confidence and determination. You can do anything if you put your mind to it.
Anthony demonstrates the warmth and care of the Bajans. He will give away his semi-precious gems to children that are dazzled by them. He believes what goes around, comes around, and lives with grace and compassion. Be uplifted by his charm and care in Rain Man. Kindness beats kindness. Be generous and you will receive ample rewards.
Diamonds in the Rough
David’s quiet disposition flares up with humanity and empathy when he helps his clients choose the right gem for any occasion. He erupts with fun and plays the part of a movie man directing people on a shoot and reacting to the scene with a Caribbean flair. A genuine diamond in the rough! Aim to exceed expectations, and you will succeed beyond your expectations. Be bold and be you!
Coconut Marathon Man
Keith Cumberbatch has won many international marathons, and he still keeps running. He credits his success to climbing coconut trees, drinking coconut water, and his passionate Bajan drive. Keith shares his secrets on climbing, running, and keeping fit in body and mind with the help of coconuts.
Mrs. Cartwell Landlord
Mrs. Carter does not mince words. She gives her respective tenants the once over and sums them up in an instance. If she likes you, you will see the twinkle in her eye as she asks prying questions to approve your stay. Luckily, I passed, but it was touch and go. Be cagy when you need to and check out the credential of who you deal with. Listen to your own inner voice an
Debro, Dodo Darling
With their exuberant and loving character, local food vendors are a big part of Barbados charm. Debro is outspoken. She elaborates on how it is best to pluck produce from the tree when it is ripe, rather than when it is green and force-ripened like fruits shipped overseas. Debro dispenses warmth and empathy with good advice. Big brands are seductive, but they rarely have the value of a local product.
Dina & Donna
Ingenuity and hard work keep these ladies making garments and selling them on the beach. Dina’s defiant attitude is a hallmark of some of the more assertive characters you will find in Barbados. Body posture and gestures are a big part of communication here. Body language speaks louder than words sometimes.
Mr. Pompasettin assumed his fancy attire gave him priority in the line-up for coconut water on the highway. He was not expecting a tongue-lashing from a lady who got his number and let him know exactly what she thought. Here, social etiquette is translated into philosophical but playful insights. There is humour even in these alterations. A vital part of the Barbados psyche. Know your place and don’t step on others’ toes, or you may just get called out when you least expect it. Chapter videos
The Queen Bee
The Queen Bee, always at ease with people of all classes, has joy in small things. Her resilient cheer and love of people are traits she shares with many Bajan women. In this fun story, the Queen Bee breezes into the doctor’s office on a fancy new stretcher. She wins hearts with her engaging smile and warm personality. Be happy and smile even when you are miserable. People will respond in kind, and you will feel better.
Arriving from England at the end of World War II, Muriel played a substantial role in building strong, resourceful women as the Phys Ed teacher at a leading school for girls. She brought an attitude of determination and resourcefulness with a keen eye for girl power, which she instilled in her students. Her legacy lives on today. Put your energy into what you do, and you will achieve more than you imagine.
Knights of the Realm
Meet Sir Charles William (businessman), Sir Garfield Sobers (world-famous cricketer)., and Sir Paul Altman. All gentlemen of distinction were knighted by the Queen. Their high-spirited, positive nature is a role model and inspiration for all Bajans. Hard work and dedication reap rewards.
A. Sir Charles Williams is remembered for outstanding achievement. A man of simple beginnings who became a top entrepreneur. His motto “C.O. Williams Construction Company: we move the Earth to please,” is one of my favourite advertising jingles. the story of Sir Charles Williams, a man who owns much of Barbados is an inspiration to all.
B. Worlds Top cricketer Sir Garry was a champion in his sport of choice. Records fell like cricket bails as new standards were set for life. He is the only player to have scored 300 runs and taken 20 wickets in a Test series three times. At 21, he scored 365 runs in a Test inning, setting a record unbroken for 35 years.
C. Sir Paul is a leading real-estate developer and a champion of heritage preservation. His work in restoring the Nidhe Israel Synagogue and museum was hailed by the United Nations’ Designating it as part of the Barbados World Heritage site (Bridgetown and its Garrison). The Museum traces Barbados’ Jewish history, which begins with the arrival of Sephardic Jews from Brazil, who were credited with introducing sugar and establishing the processing, refining, and shipping this commodity.
Matriarch, Dames & Heroes
Mia Motley, Barbados’ Prime Minister, is the Matriarch. She is a groundbreaking leader rated as one of the most influential people by Time Magazine.
The latest Barbados hero to be honoured is Rihanna, a trend-setting pop star who engineered a cosmetic brand that made her the youngest self-made female billionaire.
Before them were many women of distinction: Like Elsie Payn, a Barbados national hero recognized for her advocacy role in supporting human rights. Meet Olga Lopes Sealy, knighted for her charitable work as a leading broadcaster. Exceptional people who will inspire you with their courage, drive, and empathy. Follow in the footsteps of the courageous and live fully with kindness and compassion, and you will accomplish the extraordinary.
Stories of pebbles in the sand, naturally, have flintstones in the mix. One is Cuz Beach Shack, which The New York Times lists as the best place for fish cutters. The swimming racehorses ran afoul of dumping laws. There was a big powwow ending with a twist that showed the warmth and humour of Bajans, even under stress. When dealing with serious matters under stress, always leave room for humour – it lightens the load and spreads joy.
An excellent name for an ice cream boutique where all ages indulge in fancy designer ice cream in waffle cones. The aviation kids will charm you with their sense of mischief that might get a spank anywhere but Barbados. Getting up to mischief in an ice-cream shop is fun, especially if you know its wicked. But it’s best to fess up and not hide the facts.
Hastings Farmers Market
A very multi-ethnic gathering of eccentric people and personalities. Meet the French baker surrounded by artists. Learn the secrets of slicing your mangoes in the art of Caribbean Cuisine. Meet Billy, the Irishman who started it all. He offers sound advice on doing your own thing. Try it – it’s the only way you will know if it is a good idea, and never fear failure. It is the way you learn.
One of the characters here is Roger Barker, the Reggie Man. He makes several cameo appearances in the book with sharp insights and commentary.
Caves and Gullies
Barbados is a unique coral structure of two separate lands pushed out of the ocean by volcanic activity long ago. The islands merged and buckled, creating fascinating formations with deep gullies and caves. A previous character returns with an underground adventure that went wrong and nearly ended in disaster. If you take people on a dangerous adventure, be prepared for the worst and make sure you know the way.
Animal flowers and the rogue wave is a story of survival in extreme circumstances. The rogue wave flooded the cave, which could have been fatal except for Bajan ingenuity, quick thinking, and perseverance. The moral of the story is to tread carefully in dangerous times and never give up when you are treading water. Chapter Videos
Chalky Mount Caper
Chalky Mount is a jagged rock of rubble that breaks away and can send a climber tumbling—the kind of daring adventure that Rex Wottonloved. On this occasion, the climb in the middle of the night got a lot of attention for reasons you will never guess! High-spirited high jinks should not be tried at home.
Rex was a natural adventurer. At 11 he sailed to S.Vincent in a tiny open sailboat.
It is a rugged and windswept landscape facing the full force of the Atlantic Ocean. Life moves at a different pace. People come here to escape and commune with nature. There is nowhere quite like it in the world. A bare-bones rustic nature experience will lift your spirit and open your soul. Commune with nature in a quiet space where the ocean waves bring messages of time. Chapter Videos
Barbados is the birthplace of rum, and the rum shop is a vital institution. Bajan life would not be the same without rum shops. They are community centers, village shops, and a Bajan pub. Learn about liming and gossip, playing cards, and dominoes in the iconic rum shops of Barbados. The village is a community, and locals are its lifeline. Build up your community by supporting local enterprises.
The Chattel House is a symbol of freedom and ownership in the days of emancipation. This chapter looks at the unique style and construction of the Chattel House and the people who lived in and owend them. It explains how Barbados slaves owned these houses and why they were the wealthiest enslaved people in the colonies. It’s the age of small and tiny homes that are big business today. We can all benefit from downsizing and doing with less.
The British Take Barbados
It sat like a coral rock, thick with woods, sticking out of the sea and miles away from anywhere; lost, forgotten, and unwanted. The English settled it by fate, luck, and bad advice, and no one dared to take it. Discover the errors and accidents that made Barbados what it is with a unique perspective on what it meant. Sometimes the gems you seek are things you stumble upon. Take time to notice where you step. Chapter Videos- History
Civil War & The Charter
It was a very civil war. Cromwell’s parliamentarians faced off against the Royalists on either side of Oistins Bay. Luckily, the torrential rains stopped play. Two forces adjourned in the tavern and signed the Barbados Charter over a pint or a tickle or two. The Charter gave Barbados freedoms that no other colony had and altered the course of the island. Standing up for what you believe in can lead to excellent outcomes.
St. Nicholas Abbey – The Yeamans & Berringer Saga
A tale of intrigue and murder amongst the gentry. Yeamans & Berringer were business partners and doing rather well until Yeamans fell in love with Berringer’s wife. In this tale, the two men meet in a duel with pistols at dawn. It is a stunning affair that ended very badly for both men in the end. be blessed with what you have, and do not take what is not yours.
Daughter of a slave and herself born into slavery. Mrs. Pringle defied all odds to become a pillar of society and inspired all enslaved men and women. She had a famous altercation with the prince, the man who would be king of England. But she will tell you more about that fantastic story of character, respect, and justice. Rachael shows that no matter who, you can be self-assured and fair as you demand respect from people of rank and power above your own.
It took 300 years to see that slavery was wrong and end it. Even then, they did it wrongly. The chapter reveals the tragedy of justice that rewarded the slave owners and offered nothing to the slaves. Resentment is still felt to this day. But the Bajan spirit shines through with fellowship built on a shared heritage.
Against all odds, the Bajan Spirit was not broken by slavery and colonial indulgence at their expense. A strong spirit rises above all.
The photo is of Bussa, the revolutionary leader who organized a revolt against the plantation owners. He is an example of the seething anger of the enslaved African-Barbados people, who rose up against all odds to end slavery.
Real Barbados Pirates
Sam Lord gives an account of himself that even he does not believe. The imaginative narrative is peppered with insights into the lifestyles of planters and pirates at the time. See how a spoilt young Barbadian builds a lavish castle, locks his wife in the dungeon and reaps treasures from piracy. The spoils of piracy and abuse did not make Sam happy. Chapter Videos
The Age of Rail
The magnificent steam-powered steel engines carried passengers and cargo from Bridgetown to Bathsheba. The hairpin turns were the steepest of any track. They had a massive impact on sugar products and gave Bajans the chance to see parts of the island they could not even imagine. Read on for the romance of rail to its bitter end. Things change in time, and people and nations adapt. Rail served its time and now exists in nostalgia, maybe to return reinvented in another age. Chapter Videos
The story of Errol Barrow, the RAF war veteran who steered the island to independence. Called the Freedom Fighter, he was a courageous and brilliant man who cared deeply about the people of Barbados. His free school and lunch made children healthy and wise and produced the highest literacy rate in the region.
This section looks at the Black experience that is not told by the colonials. It is a complex subject as Barbados Black history did not exist in the archives, and only fragments are passed down in folklore and archives. The British wrote the history of Barbados, it is their story that led the education and folklore. The black slave experience, their lifestyles, hopes, fears, dreams, and passions, faded into a forgotten past, like the lost treasures of paradise.
Black Colonial History was written by the British or not at all. It is a complicated past that is fundamental to the character of the Afro-British Barbadian people. Some love their Britishness, while others rebel against it. This chapter revisits the past with lessons from Madam Rachel Pringle and Artist Woolly Hewitt.
Emancipation was, in some ways, freedom. It was not a bed of roses; plantation owners still controlled former slaves who worked and lived on the plantation. Chapter 33 Post Colonialism. Unlike the colonial past, Barbados Black people today hold management positions in all sectors of the economy. Slaves became the government, and Black people everywhere left a powerful legacy of excellence. In this section of the book, Rogues charts the DNA origins, activities and successes of outstanding achievements of Barbados ‘ African and Afro-British-Bajan population.
Unlike the colonial past, blacks today hold management positions in all sectors of the economy. Slaves became the government, and BLACK people everywhere have forged a powerful legacy of excellence.
Featured are; Selwin Hart – Fortuna, Benebah |Mentioned are; Montefiore, Thomas Cummings
Settlers – Long Stay Visitors
‘The hotel manager and the new settlers’ is the story of people in the frenzy of carnival. People make the difference.
This story is a hotel manager’s account of setting up and managing one of the first villa hotel resorts in the world. A touch of don’t stop the carnival can be found here.
Inspiring Communities Far Away – Stargazing
The story of one man’s difference. The life of a modest man from modest means who became an authority in tourism. Popular Astronomer Leo, will take you to up and far away to the stars, in magical moments, with his telescope.
Everything is possible.
Jamie Visitor with Roots- Windhunters
Story of the sun of an ex-pat who returns to his roots.
“You can take the boy out of the island. But you can’t take the island out of the boy.” US-born Jamie frequently returns to his father’s home and to De Action man, Brian Talma, a world star in windsurfing waves. Bajan Brian Talma made it to the top with determination and dedication. The message is; never give up your dream!
Travellers & Tourism
A brief portrait of visitors who returned to Barbados frequently, this chapter depicts some of their experiences, especially their encounters with Bajans. The kindness of strangers is the key to repeat visits to this unique island. It is a two-way street. Reach out, and you will find it.
The book has revealed charming rogues, knights, dames, everyday folk, places, climate, geography, and history. It all contributed to making Bajans who they are. This chapter analyses how and why they are different. Heritage, environment, and the choices we make – make us who we are.
Recognizing the excesses of the colonial past, the government has said, “We do not want an apology or a handout. We want investment.” The British are late to the table, and the Chinese have significant projects underway. The future of “Little England” is evolving. Choice and Character have made this country. It continues as the best is yet to come.
Where is Barbados Located?
It is the most easterly of the Caribbean islands. Barbados stands alone and is culturally and geologically unique! Here you will meet ordinary – extraordinary people, rogues, and heroes just like the true-life characters in Rogues in Paradise.
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Rogues in Paradise is a thoughtful, witty, and provocative story of the people of Barbados. Readers find themselves in an evolving world that explores and explains surprising truths about its history, heritage, and culture.
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This fascinating map showcases all the chapters with interactive points on the map. It’s the first-of-its-kind GEOCADDER application for a book.
The interactive map by GEOCADDER is the latest update of the content and structure of the book/ The book summary above will be updated later!
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