Giant leap in advancement of the preservation of heritage sites

The St Kitts/Nevis National Commission for UNESCO in collaboration with the UNESCO Regional Cluster Office in Jamaica has made a giant leap in its advancement of the preservation of heritage sites in the Federation as it culminated a two-day capacity building workshop at the Ocean Terrace Inn on Wednesday, November 09.

Deputy Prime Minster and Chairperson of the National Commission for UNESCO, Hon Shawn Richards, applauded UNESCO for its assistance. “I acknowledge with interest the high caliber of World Heritage experts who will not only participate in this workshop but also assist us in the monitoring and implementation of proposed conservation measures for Brimstone Hill and other historic sites in St. Kitts and Nevis in order to prevent further structural damage to and the gradual process of decay of our local heritage properties.”

The Minister added that he anticipated the recognition of other sites of outstanding international value in the Federation and noted specifically the intention to inscribe additional properties including the City of Charlestown (Nevis) and Charles Fort (Sandy Point, St. Kitts) on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

“The entire population of St. Kitts and Nevis has a sacred responsibility to protect them (heritage sites) at all costs.” The Deputy Prime Minister, who is also the Minister responsible for Education, Youth and Culture stated the seriousness of his entire cabinet in heritage preservation with a recent decision to, “expand the Citizenship by Investment Programme to provide an option for persons willing to invest in cultural and heritage initiatives.”

He stated additionally that the work by UNESCO extends across its cultural mandate; cutting deep through its various cultural Conventions within its member states and countries in the Caribbean where the virtues of these Conventions are not yet fully recognized or operational. He stated categorically that the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has long since recognized UNESCO’s comparative advantage in the field of Culture as it ratified the 1972 World Heritage and the 2001 Underwater Heritage Conventions. He noted additionally the recent ratification of the 2003 and 2005 Cultural Conventions.

President of the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Society, Sir Probyn Inniss, who delivered the featured address’ chose to focus on how the Heritage Site can be more relevant in the process of nation building. The president emphasized the importance of educating youth about their history. “We need to eradicate some of the negatives that have been sown in our minds…because unless we do that we will never be empowered to develop our fullest potential as human beings.” He added that in order for the sites to have meaning youths must be made aware of the work, skills, spirituality and strength of their ancestors as evidenced in their contribution to the building of sites such as Brimstone Hill.