Press Release:– On 26th August 2020, the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) held a press conference to reassert its stance and clarify the facts behind the issues they have been advocating for.
The speakers included Chairperson, Alison King, Sean Compton, elected councilor Laurent Jn. Pierre, Saint Lucia Archeological and Historical Society (A&H) representative on the SLNT council, and Bishnu Tulsie, the SLNT’s Director.
Members of the media were invited to record the positions being shared for the benefit of the public, and their questions were addressed by the SLNT councilors and Director.
Ms. King made a moving presentation and quoted the Saint Lucia National Trust Act to remind the audience of the Organisation’s mandate.
She mentioned the Pigeon Island National Landmark (PINL) bylaw of 1982, which provides for a charge to enter the park. Revenue from this charge supports the SLNT’s operations as well as maintenance and conservation of the PINL and other sites for the benefit and enjoyment of the State and all Saint Lucians.
Additionally, the SLNT’s position is that the Queen’s Chain is public property and ownership of land adjoining the Queen’s Chain does not automatically give the right to lease the Queen’s Chain to the adjoining landowners.
The beaches surrounded by the Cabot Saint Lucia property are used for recreation, livelihood support and educational field trips.
The Cabot master plan, which has not yet received full approval though lots are already being sold, shows that they intend to occupy all of the land up to the waters’ edge, displacing traditional users of the area.
Mr. Tulsie stated in his remarks that unfortunately the protection of heritage and the environment is seen as a political act and opposing development.
The SLNT had been on the board of the Development Control Authority (DCA), which gave them the opportunity to get involved in the process of approving developments, however, when the DCA stopped inviting the SLNT to meetings from 2017, they had to wait to hear of the developments through the grapevine. T
his has made it difficult for the SLNT to share its views during the approval process. A comparison between the Le Paradis development and the Dolphinarium project proposed development was used to show that when dialogue with the developers is no longer facilitated, it leaves the SLNT to react instead of being actively involved.
Mr. Jn. Pierre delivered passionate remarks about the archaeological significance of the site. The history of the country can be found by excavating and doing archeological studies by professionals, which is not being done in the north-east corridor of the country.
Two reconnaissance investigations were done in the 1900s, and in 2009 the Leiden University engaged in a rescue mission at the site currently owned by Cabot Saint Lucia.
Funds have not been provided by the State to engage professionals for archaeological digs, nor to take proper care of the archeological items in the possession of the A&H.
Mr. Compton provided an engaging presentation with visual evidence of his assertions that the Cas en Bas Beach, Donkey Beach and Secret Beach will be surrounded by developments, including the golf course and villas.
He presented a proposal for coastal trails to be maintained so that persons may access the beaches from further inland, since the proposed master plan does not outline this.
Mr. Compton asserted that all Saint Lucians should call on the government to defend their heritage and implement best practice to ensure local access to beaches adjacent to developments, as it is not contingent on the developer to provide these accesses, but the duty of the government to require them.
The SLNT intends to put these proposals forward for public discussion and official endorsement.