Usually as summer holidays come to an end parents and children start to feel the pressure of getting ready for the new school year, thinking less of why vacation was given in the first place. No time to relax or have some fun, running here and there to purchase the last book or school uniform in time for school. So to bring back the feeling of the scintillating summer sunshine the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) saw it fit to organize an event dubbed “Summer in the Park”. The aim of the event which was held on Sunday, August 28th was to encourage parents to spend quality time with their children in a relaxed atmosphere for one last time before the school bell rings.
Staff from the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) and Forestry Department along with representatives from Fauna & Flora International and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust mounted an exhibition at the Blue Coral Mall, Castries on July 15, 2016 as part of activities to commemorate World Snake Day celebrated every year on July 16th. Saint Lucia has four living species of snakes, all of them found nowhere else in the world. Only one of the four species is venomous. There was a fifth species too, but that was driven to extinction around the turn of the 20th Century.
Twenty-two (22) Signatory Countries and over 40 representatives of the public made significant progress at the 4th Meeting of the Negotiating Committee for a Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The negotiation meeting which was held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic from August 9-12, 2016, was geared at raising the standards for environmental governance in the LAC region.
On September 1, 2016 the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) opened the World Conservation Congress entitled “Planet at the Crossroads” in Honolulu, Hawai’i. The Congress convened with thousands of government and non-governmental organizations representatives debating and acting on critical issues such as biodiversity, the conservation of oceans, climate change, wildlife trafficking, women and nature, culture and nature, and the role that private sector investments can make in the conservation of nature, among other topics.
As part of an ongoing project being undertaken by the Saint Lucia National Trust on promoting public awareness of the Saint Lucia White Breasted Thrasher, SLNT’s Programme Assistant/Conservation Murlina Murray together with Saphira Hunt - Programme Assistant/South, Matt Morton of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Stephen Lesmond, Jeannette Victor, Aloysius Charles and Rosemond Justin of the Forestry Department, administered the first set of questionnaires in the Praslin community. The purpose of the survey is to assess person’s knowledge of, and attitudes towards the species, and the practices that can positively or negatively impact the White Breasted Thrasher.
In 2014 the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) underwent a rapid assessment of 250 buildings of architectural and historic merit island wide in Saint Lucia. Some of the Chattel houses, military buildings and churches that were visited were dilapidated (figure 1), abandoned or underused. These buildings represented a very important period in Saint Lucia in terms of both the types of construction techniques and use of materials of this period.
The Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) held a summer programme at the Vieux Fort Post- Secondary School from August 8 to 10, 2016 for youth between the ages of 9 to 17. This is one in a series of activities under a Junior Conservation Programme (JCP). This programme is intended to get young people deeper involved in environmental conservation by providing relevant but enjoyable learning experiences that factor in their way of life and the importance of the natural resources within their immediate environment.
The Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) continued its efforts to bring about a greater awareness of conservation issues by hosting two open sessions on May 14th and 21st respectively with professionals from various media houses and sectors (print and telecommunications). The sessions, which included presentations, discussions and field trips, provided opportunities for media personnel and agencies involved in natural resources conservation and management to have open and frank dialogue on issues related to natural resources regulations; associated opportunities, challenges and threats.
The Saint Lucia National Trust is seeking to recruit a suitably qualified person to fill the post of Programme Assistant: Communications and Advocacy. Job Summary: Provide support to implement the Trust’s Communications, Advocacy
and Membership Programmes in fulfillment of the Trust’s mandate to protect Saint Lucia’s heritage.
His Royal Highness Prince Harry will be paying an official visit to Saint Lucia in late November 2016. His varied interests include matters related to the environment, climate change, youths, persons with disabilities, health and the elderly.
The Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) is celebrating 41 years of conserving Saint Lucia’s natural and built heritage. This membership based organization established in 1975, endeavours to fulfill its mandate through site maintenance and management, promoting the sustainable use of our natural resources and through education and advocacy.
Some of our accomplishments to date include inter alia: (i) the successful management of the Pigeon Island National Landmark; (ii) successful lobbying of government to undertake the Limits of Acceptable Change Study and to keep the Pitons Management Area off the list of World Heritage in Danger; (iii) prevention of the sale of the beach close to Petit Piton through an appeal to the court;
The Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) wrapped up two consultations with various stakeholders in an effort to ascertain information and encourage dialogue on the proposed Desert Star Holdings (DSH) Limited Pearl of the Caribbean project which has been earmarked for Vieux Fort. The aim of the ongoing dialogues is to collate the views on this project from a wide cross section of stakeholders.
There was general consensus that a project of this magnitude could result in a boost in the economy. A major issue raised at both meetings was the proposed development of a marina in the mangroves. Many were of the view that the mangroves which are designated sites under the Ramsar Convention1 should not be developed in any way as they are home to a large variety of fish, crab and many other marine species coupled with the fact that mangroves protect shorelines from destructive storm and hurricane winds, waves and floods.
The Saint Lucia National Trust notes the agreement between the Government of Saint Lucia and Desert Star Holdings (DSH) for a major integrated development called The Pearl of the Caribbean, in Vieux Fort. Since the press release on July 29th, 2016 the Trust has received several enquiries from diverse interests, including from our members, on its views on the project, given both its scope and location, which encompass one of the most diverse, and archeologically and resource –rich areas of Saint Lucia.
Mrs. Joanna Octave-Rosemond received a scholarship from Coady Interna-tional Institute to pursue a certificate in Livelihoods and Markets at St. Francis Xavier University located in Antigonish, Canada from 31st May to 17th June 2016. Mrs. Rosemond was the only female among the five students from the Caribbean who were accepted into the course for 2016. Coady International Institute is well known for its delivery of community-based development and leadership education programmes and has a track record for inspiring and contributing to the empowerment of individuals to positively influence their own communities.
The Saint Lucia National Trust has been collaborating with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in the implementation of two projects aimed at contributing to the restoration of the Ma Kôté Mangrove in particular, and mangroves in Saint Lucia in general. The activities were undertaken with funding provided by USAID through the OECS under an Environmental Mitigation Programme and TNC under a broader Mangrove Management Project for Saint Lucia. The SLNT was able to synergise activities under both projects in order to gain maximum benefit and avoid duplication.
“The long-term sustainability of cultural heritage depends on ensuring its use and developing local support. Without heritage being valued and protected, it will become irrelevant and disappear.” taboroff, 2002.
Our global heritage is under threat. I recently asked the 66 INTO member organisations that constitute the worldwide National Trust movement what they saw as the greatest threat to heritage. I expected climate change, war and conflict, bad planning or even tourism to be their response. But there was one resounding and clear answer from them - apathy on behalf of both governments and people.
The Second Caribbean Conference of National Trust and Preservation Societies was hosted by the Citizens for Conservation, Trinidad and Tobago, The National Trusts of Trinidad and Tobago and ICOMOS Trinidad and Tobago from 19th – 22nd May 2016 in Trinidad and Tobago.
The conference opened with a passionate Maria Nunes’ presentation on Port of Spain, entitled Crossroads of Worlds - A Visual essay. In her presentation Maria took participants on a journey through the Architecture of Port of Spain juxtaposed against the rivalry of carnival, as a voyeur.
The Saint Lucia National Trust Northern Youth Chapter embarked on a Turtle Watching expedition at Grande Anse on Saturday 18th to Sunday 19th June, 2016. Though the group did not get the opportunity to witness the turtles laying their eggs, the guides identified several nesting areas as they walked along the mile-long beach. The Youth Chapter’s members joined the guides in patrolling the beach during the first shift with half the party treading up to the northern end and the other half going to the southern end. Unfortunately, during the wee hours of the morning, Grande Anse beach experienced some considerably high tides. This resulted in our patrols becoming quite limited.
Mrs. Joanna Octave-Rosemond received a scholarship from Coady International Institute to pursue a certificate in Livelihoods and Markets at St. Francis Xavier University located in Antigonish, Canada from 31st May to 17th June 2016. Mrs. Rosemond was the only female among the five students from the Caribbean who were accepted into the course for 2016. Coady International Institute is well known for its delivery of community-based development and leadership education programmes and has a track record for inspiring and contributing to the empowerment of individuals to positively influence their own communities.
Seamoss farmers from the Au Picon-Cacoa region in Vieux Fort North were the recipients of a newly refurbished fiberglass Reinforced Pirogue (FRP) fitted with a brand new Yamaha 85hp engine to assist in their sustainable seamoss production efforts. The handing over ceremony took place on Monday, May 30, 2016 at the 9:30 a.m. at the recently opened Savannes Bay Jetty in Vieux Fort.
Saturday, 23rd April marked the Saint Lucia National Trust Northern Youth Chapter’s visit to Walcott House; the culturally significant reimagined childhood home of distinguished twin brothers Derek and Roderick Walcott. The Youth Chapter’s expedition was the culmination of members learning and gaining a respect for the artistically fervent brothers’ history, influence on the arts regionally and internationally, and the legacy they have since created.
The Saint Lucia National Trust is working together with the Department of Fisheries, the Marine Police Unit and the Crime Scene Investigation Unit of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force in response to the slaughter of a nesting hawksbill sea turtle. The incident occurred early Tuesday morning and comes during the closed season for turtle hunting. It was reported by beach security staff to the National Trust’s sea turtle monitoring team which regularly patrols the beaches of Pointe Sable Environmental Protection Area along the south-east coast.
For the past two years there was no sighting of the Saint Lucia Racer. After many searches not a single individual was found. The Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT), Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Forests and Lands Resources Department (Forestry Department) and Fauna & Flora International contin-ued their relentless efforts in searching for the elusive Racer, never giving up hope. On January 5, 2016 a team consisting of Saphira Hunt - SLNT’s Programme Assistant-Conservation, Vincent “Jeg” Clarke -Volunteer and SLNT member, Stephen Lesmond - Wildlife Field Guide of the Forestry Department and Webster Albert - Police Officer attached to the Laborie Police Station ventured out to Maria Islands to conduct routine monitoring. On this trip the team was extremely fortunate in capturing a healthy young Saint Lucia Racer. According to Ms. Hunt, “This was quite a joyous moment for the team and hope for the survival of the species
The Third Meeting of Negotiating Committee held from April 5-8, 2016 in Montevideo, Uruguay is an important step towards achieving a Regional Agreement on Access Rights to Information, Participation and Justice Regarding Environmental Matters. The following link provides a thorough report on the outcome of the negotiations.
A Round Table consultation scheduled for 21 – 22 April 2016 at the Folk Research Centre will kick-start planning for a national museum. In November 2015, the Government of Saint Lucia vested the property known as the Married Women’s Quarters, at Vigie in the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) for the purposes of establishing a national museum and other ancillary purposes.
Next week, officers from the Departments of Forestry and Fisheries, staff of the Saint Lucia National Trust, and community members from Vieux Fort and Praslin will join regional experts to establish mangrove nurseries that will help replenish the island’s critically threatened wetlands.
The project is an initiative of the Eastern Caribbean Marine Managed Areas Network (ECMMAN), and will result in the establishment of two temporary nurseries, as well as the training of community representatives and over ten Forestry and Fisheries officers.
The Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) joins the rest of the world to celebrate International Day of Monuments and Sites or World Heritage Day, observed annually on April 18th. This day offers an opportunity to raise the public’s awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve it, as well as draw attention to its vulnerability.
As part of this observance, the SLNT has planned a students’ tour of the Morne Fortune Historic Area. With its strategic view of Castries Harbour, Morne Fortune became the focal point for fortification and battles between the two colonial powers, the British and French in the 18th and 19th centuries. Following the tour, which will be led by notable Saint Lucian Historian, Dr. Gregor Williams, students will visit Walcott Place. Walcott Place, which was opened in January 2016, has created a physical space to celebrate Roderick and Derek Walcott’s achievements and their contribution to the arts.
The Trust hopes that this initiative would engender within our youth a greater sense of pride and appreciation for our heritage and encourage greater use of our sites not only for recreational activities but as a tool for educational and research purposes.
The 3rd Negotiating Committee Meeting of the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Participation and Justice Regarding Environmental Matters took place in Montevideo, Uruguay from April 5-8. 2016. Members of the public played an integral role in the negotiations which are critical to transforming how environmental decisions are taken in the region. Below are a few engaging articles by the public on how the negotiations unfolded.
1. Grenada Signs on
2. No Equal Rights for ‘Outsiders’
3. General Statement from the Public at the Closing
4. A Call for More Political Will to Protect our Environment &Health\
Happy reading and do share with others!
Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development seeks to ensure that every person has access to information, can participate in the decision-making process and has access to justice in environmental matters. A regional agreement to implement this principle fully and effectively with the significant participation of the public is being negotiated in Latin America and the Caribbean. To this aim, the Declaration on the application of Principle 10 in Latin America and the Caribbean was adopted. In the Plan of Action of Guadalajara, Mexico, the signatory countries of the Declaration agreed to establish a Regional Public Mechanism for those interested who could subscribe by completing a short form available on the ECLAC website. The main objectives of this Mechanism are to keep all those interested in the process informed and facilitate their involvement; to coordinate public participation in international meetings; and to contribute to the transparency of the process. The Mechanism may also serve as a complement for participation actions carried out at the national level.
In less than 24 hours negotiators from 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) will gather in Montevideo, Uruguay for the 3rd Meeting of the Negotiating Committee of the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in the LAC Region. This process seeks to set higher standards in the region regarding environmental governance by including everyone, especially those who are most affected, in the environmental decision making process and can in so doing alleviate conflicts.
A one day consultation aimed at determining where and how the resources within the Pointe Sable Environmental Protection Area (PSEPA) are being utilized was held on Friday March 18, 2016 at the Department of Fisheries Conference Room in Vieux Fort. The consultation brought together various stakeholders from both the public and private sectors who have a vested interest in the protection area and who are familiar with its unique resources. Through interaction with the major resource users, conservation management agencies were able to identify and evaluate resource use patterns at various locations within the PSEPA. Such information is crucial for the effective management of all the resources, including those which are under special protection by law. In addition, the discussions provided participants with the opportunity to dialogue on issues related to access to resources; clarifying legislative obligations; identifying potential conflict areas and making recommendations which could reduce user conflict.
The Vieux Fort Town Square buzzed with excitement as hundreds of people gathered for “Sé Maria Nou Ka Alé” a popular theatre production by the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) in collaboration with Coaks Production. The objective of the production on Sunday, March 13, 2016 was to sensitize the public of the rare and endemic species found on Maria Islands, two offshore islands located in the south and the negative consequences that could result if permission is not sought from the SLNT prior to visiting the island.
The official certification ceremony of seamoss farmers was held 19th February 2016 at the Vieux Fort Square on Clarke Street in Vieux Fort. This certification of the seamoss farmers was another important milestone under the CARIBSAVE Caribbean Fish Sanctuary Partnership Initiative (C-FISH) sponsored project implemented by the SLNT.
The training and certification of seamoss farmers is a component of a larger project aimed at strengthening community-based marine protected areas management (marine reserves or no-take-zones) by providing resources, training and alternative livelihood opportunities in 5 countries across the Caribbean. This project comes under the Caribbean Fish Sanctuary Partnership Initiative (C-FISH). CFISH is funded by UKaid from the Department for International Development (DFID) through the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC). The CARIBSAVE Partnership is implementing the project on behalf of DFID and the CCCCC.
In January 2015, the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) and the Forestry and Land Resources Department (FLRD) received funding from the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP) to implement a project entitled “Conservation and Management of the Endemic Fer-de- Lance (Bothrops caribbaeus) on the small island developing state of Saint Lucia”. The project seeks to commence the implementation of some of the actions recommended by the fiveyear Management Plan for the Saint Lucia Fer-de-Lance. One of the recommendations of the Plan is to “implement actions to ensure that people at risk of snake bite because of their work or where they live get safety training”.
While the “Walcott House” would be the most strategically fitting title for the recently restored boyhood home of Derek and Roderick Walcott, “The Trusted House”, the poetic title given by the 1992 Nobel Laureate for Literature, may actually be the spiritual name needed to ensure the survival of the institution. Here, I am joining Walcott to harness all of my faith in the magic and inspiration of poetry.
Although they are mostly out of sight for those who spend most of their time on land, coral reefs play an essential role as they provide shelter and protection for many species of fish, which feed millions of people annually. Additionally, without coral the amount of carbon dioxide in the ocean would increase significantly and have a negative effect on all living things. Notably, coral reefs protect coastal areas from strong currents and waves by reducing the wave energy before it gets to the shore.
On November 28, 2015 the Southern Chapter of the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) undertook a tour to Maria Islands Nature Reserve. Fifty persons signed up for this educational tour, all eagerly ready to invade Maria Major. Ready and waiting, armed with binoculars, walking poles and cameras with long range lens, these folks were set on a mission to capture the many wonders which the Maria Islands (Maria Major & Minor) have to offer and of course the bragging rights, with the many photographs to prove it.
For the past two years there was no sighting of the Saint Lucia Racer. After many searches not a single individual was found. The Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT), Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Forests and Lands Resources Department (Forestry Department) and Fauna & Flora International continued their relentless efforts in searching for the elusive Racer never giving up hope.
The Saint Lucia National Trust celebrates, with the rest of the world, the adoption of the Paris Agreement where 195 countries committed to bold actions to tackle the issues of climate change. Congratulations to the Alliance of Small Island Developing States, the Caribbean Youth Environment Network, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean Organization, PANOS Caribbean and all other agencies who have advocated for the need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to no more than 1.50C.
One would think that the location or even the inclement weather the day before would have kept members away but this was not the case as close to 100 members and 23 staff attended the 39th Annual General Meeting of the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT). The meeting was held on December 5th at the Belle Vue Human Resource Development Centre in Vieux Fort.