My book ‘Rogues in Paradise‘ features a variety of characters from a wide range of backgrounds. The first 30% of the book covers the everyday people who are, in many cases, unsung heroes. Next are tales of acclaimed heroes, legends, and even Knights. The book then explores places and history and the untold story of the black experience.
The history of Barbados has its share of extraordinary characters, from the early colonial settlers and African slaves to a post-colonial democratic republic. There are fascinating stories of outstanding Africans, like Mrs. Pringle, who defied all odds to become a legendary businesswoman. Mrs. Pringle took the future King of England to task and would stand no nonsense from anyone. She makes a couple of appearances in the history and the African experience.
In the section about the black experience, many outstanding personalities take to the stage. Following that is a contemporary look at the culture and people who have created a unique tourism destination with visitors who return again and again. The book concludes with an analysis of heritage and culture with insights into how and why Barbados people are exceptional.
Places Also Have Character
The Rum Shops and Chattle Houses are cultural icons of Barbados. They are featured along with their personalities. For instance, the story of Chalky Mount features daredevil Rex Wotton. Rex is also featured in Pebbles, the Caves, and a terrifying, nearly fatal ordeal with his Dad on the cliffs at Animal Flower Cave, North Point.
Adventures With Rex Wotton
Rex Wotton was among the most enchanting Rogues of Barbados. He had an amazing sense of fun and used it to win over every situation.
Once, when someone threw a drink at him, he promptly dumped the contents of a wine cooler over their head. When ridiculed by a well-known comedian who made a cheeky remark about him from the stage, Rex returned the insult by stealing away the comics’ iconic green bowler hat. Straight past security and the doorman, he walked with a defiant air and his beguiling chuckle and smile.
He would not let much pass him and always returned insults with a double measure of the same, but it was wrapped in charm and style.
Sailing to St. Vincent with a friend at age 11 testifies to his spirit of adventure. It was a marathon undertaking for a young sailor; 100 miles of open water without a compass in a tiny boat. An extreme adventure for anyone and especially for a pre-teen with no open-water sailing experience. Even as a boy, he managed to encourage others to join him in pranks and outrageous adventures, making it all seem safe, easy, and a joy. Often reckless, he took extreme but calculated risks.
A Fearless Independent
Rex was independent at an early age and often took off for days at a time to camp along the banks of Joe’s river, catching crayfish to survive. He built campfires from coconut husk and twigs and cooked his catch with breadfruit, wild okras, plantain, and edible vines. He ate mangoes and local berries like fat pork and sea grapes that grew along the beach.
Leaving home with just the bare essentials, pants, shirt, shoes, Swiss army knife, a Panama hat, and little else, he lived off the land: He sheltered among trees, caves, and rocks, which he covered with bush and debris, creating a roof with palms and banana leaves. Banana leaves have many uses. Wrapped around food, they serve as a container for cooking over a fire. They make an excellent surface to serve up a meal and can be used as a shade, a roof, and a cover on which to lie down.
Uncannily aware and ready for action, Rex had an air of supreme confidence and was a fearless leader who inspired others to live fully. He was a proficient seaman trained with the British merchant navy, a deep-sea diver, an explosives expert, and a jack of all trades.
Trained by the British Merchant Navy
He was a commanding high-energy figure at 5 feet 8 inches, well built, with untidy, light-brown hair and piercing blue eyes. He had no need for formal exercise; he did not run, jog, push weights, or do any prescribed gym. Hard work, active play, and running the West Coast water sports was his exercise. He sailed, taught scuba diving, and was always busy fixing boats, engines, and gear. He ferried people, food, drinks, and scuba gear, from hotels to oceans, and had a full schedule of on-the-job workouts. The scuba tanks were heavy, and it was a high-impact sport to pile 20 tanks into the old VW van. They had to be unpacked and stacked in the dive shop and later strapped onto guests for the deep dives and shallow water instructions. He was seldom still.
A Bold Bond Character
Coming out of the ocean at Settlers Beach Villa Beach Hotel, in full scuba gear, wetsuit, and tank, he looked like a James Bond character on a mission. On one mission to clear a swimming area for guests at Settlers Beach Hotels, he had a six-inch dagger strapped to his calf with sticks of dynamite around his waist. It was a government-approved project. The explosion shook the buildings just moments after he was on land. “Oh!” he chuckled, slightly perturbed, “Maybe a stick too much dynamite on that one.”
Trafalgar Falls Dominica
Rex died tragically climbing the rocks behind Trafalgar falls in Dominica. Torrential rains had caused the lake above to overflow and burst its banks. A torrent of water, rocks, trees, and debris tumbled down, sweeping away everything in its path.
It was not something a visitor would suspect, but locals know the mighty rivers’ roar and run out of the way. We lost a great friend and an inspiration on that fateful day. His wonderful sense of fun and adventure is forever captured in the book Rogues in Paradise, where he appears in several chapters.
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Links to featured Rogues
Rex – St. Vincent Memories: https://roguesinparadise.com/caribbean-memories-st-vincent/
Rex Chalky Mount Caper: https://roguesinparadise.com/about-the-book/#chalkymount
Rex- Caves & Cliffs: https://roguesinparadise.com/about-the-book/#caves
Rex- Pebbles – Rex’s Flintstones Mix: https://roguesinparadise.com/about-the-book/#pebbles
Mrs. Pringle: https://roguesinparadise.com/about-the-book/#pringle
Knight & Dames: https://roguesinparadise.com/about-the-book/#knights
The Black Experience: https://roguesinparadise.com/history-of-barbados-people-the-black-experience/
The Visitors: https://roguesinparadise.com/about-the-book/#visitors
Leo the Cosmic Bajan: – https://roguesinparadise.com/about-the-book/#faraway