26 lime October - December 2008 LIMELITE The months of October and November see a host of colourful celebrations across the Caribbean as a number of islands commemorate their independence. Barbados achieved independence from Britain on 30 November 1966, after over 300 years of life as a colony. Every year Barbados Independence Day features an elaborate parade and ceremony at Bridgetown's Garrison Savannah, and festivities throughout the month. The inaugural Independence Day was celebrated with the raising of the Barbados National Flag and the first airing of the National Anthem. Sports competitions, fairs, community events and religious services now take over the island on the public holiday every year. After a long and turbulent history, St Vincent & The Grenadines finally became an independent nation in 1979. Today this event is celebrated with a parade through Independence day the streets of Kingstown on October 27. The day before Antigua's Independence Day on 1st November is traditionally the country's National Dress Day, marking the culmination of two weeks of preparations. On 3rd November 2008 Dominica celebrates 30 years as an independent nation. Throughout 2008 a series of events have been taking place on the island under the banner of ' Reunion 2008' and these will culminate in the island's biggest celebrations on Independence Day itself. Dominica's cultural heritage will be proudly displayed through music and dance performances, markets, national food and the wearing of national dress. Top for the flocks The whole of the West Indies is rich in birdlife, but nowhere more so than The Dominican Republic, where more than 300 bird species have been recorded, including more endemic species than any other Caribbean island – an amazing 27. The southwestern part of the island has the best birding, especially the Sierra de Bahoruco, which contains one of the highest bird densities in the Caribbean. A visit to the botanical gardens in Santo Domingo provides a chance to see many of the low land endemics such as the Hispaniolan woodpecker, Palm chats, Broad- billed todies, Stolid flycatchers, Black- whiskered vireo, Palm swifts and some aquatic specialties including limpkin, West Indian whistling duck and Least grebe. West of the capital are the wetlands of Las Salinas de Bani, a great place for waders and shorebirds. Salinas region has salt mines, mangroves, sand dunes, and thorn scrub, a good place for winter migrants. Parque del Este is the place to see Antillean piculets, parrots, Flat-billed vireos, Black- whiskered vireos, pelicans, gulls and terns. LiMEnews did you know? William Thornton, architect of the United States Capitol building, and John C. Lettsome, founder of the Royal Society of Medicine, both hail from Jost Van Dyke, the smallest of the four main islands of the British Virgin Islands. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ll Broad- billed tody doug wechsler/ VIREO R UM AT THE TOP Martinique's Neisson Rhum, one of the island's few remaining family- owned distilleries, has been recognised for producing one of the world's finest leisure spirits. The influential Robb Report listed the Reserve Special in its 20th annual " Best of the Best" special issue. The Reserve Special is the only rum featured on the prestigious list, joining the likes of Johnnie Walker Blue Label King George V Edition Malt Whisky, Clase Azul Tequila Ultra and Le Voyage de Delamain Cognac. The Special Reserve is a blend of rums aged up to ten years. The Robb Report described it as " a deep, gorgeous reserve… medium amber in colour, it shows glorious spice on the nose, and long, complex flavours with sweet treacle notes." Martinique is home to 12 distilleries, each of which employs an exclusive rhum agricole technique to produce the island's distinctive blends.