On the 26th September 2021, the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) celebrated its forty-sixth anniversary, forty-six years of preserving Saint Lucia’s rich heritage! Its creation stemmed from the concern of members of the Saint Lucia Archaeological and Historical Society (A&H) and other Saint Lucian citizens, for the conservation of our rich historical heritage. Notable persons such as Sir Julian Hunte and Robert Deveaux, successfully lobbied the John Compton lead administration and on 26th September 1975, the Saint Lucia National Trust was formed through an act of Parliament.
In these last 46 years since its creation, the Council, Directors, Staff and members of the Trust have worked steadfastly to ensure that its mandate of conserving the natural and cultural heritage of Saint Lucia and promoting values which lead to national pride and love of country was achieved. During this time, the Trust was able to have Pigeon Island established as Saint Lucia’s first National Landmark and also to acquire, lease or obtain other historic or natural sites through vesting or donation, to ensure that they were conserved in perpetuity for the enjoyment of Saint Lucians. These included sites such as, the Maria Islands, home to the world’s rarest snake and the endemic Saint Lucia Whiptail lizard, colonial era fortifications and buildings like Half-moon Battery, Meadows Battery and Married Women’s Quarters and World War II sites such as Morne Pavillon.
Other notable accomplishments include the establishment of Saint Lucia’s first camping and heritage site at Anse La Liberté, the restoration of the Inniskilling Monument and the Apostles Battery through financial support by Cable and Wireless and the Getty Grant Foundation respectively and the vesting and restoration of the family home of Saint Lucia’s literary geniuses, Sir Derek and Rodrick Walcott through assistance from the Governments of Saint Lucia and the Peoples Republic of China on Taiwan.
In addition to this, the Trust planned and undertook a number of other ambitious project in keeping with its mandate. This included developing The Systems Plan for Protected Areas, the Plant Conservation Programme for Saint Lucia and the Caribbean Heritage Project. Although, the Systems Plan for Protected Areas has not yet been adopted, it has served as a useful guide for decision-makers over the years for the protection and effective management of protected areas throughout Saint Lucia.
In keeping with its mandate to preserve Saint Lucia’s natural heritage, the Trust has also been able to establish strategic alliances with external organizations, such as International National Trusts Organization (INTO), Flora Fauna International (FFI) and Durrell Wildlife Trust, all of whom provide assistance to the Trust through funding and technical expertise, to allow for the continual development and implementation of the Trust’s conservation work programme. With the support of those agencies, the Trust has been able to implement several species preservation initiatives including the development and implementation of an offshore island monitoring programme which includes the management of endemics such as the Saint Lucia Racer and Saint Lucia Whiptail lizards and the development of a Fer-de-Lance Management Plan for Saint Lucia.
The Trust has also been at the forefront of implementing regional and international projects, such as the Eastern Caribbean Marine Managed Areas Network (ECMMAN) project that established the Pointe Sable Environmental Protected Area (PSEPA) and more recently the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund’s Ecosystem Based Adaption (EbA) project, several BIOPAMA projects and two Karayib Klima projects, all focused on strengthening Saint Lucia‘s climate change resilience.
Over these last four decades the Trust continued to maintain a strong partnership with its mother organization, the A&H, in ensuring the protection of archeological and historic sites around Saint Lucia, most notably this year the archaeological site at Cas-en-bas.
In addition to the A &H, the Trust has and continues to partner with other national organizations who focus on the conservation, protection, preservation and promotion of Saint Lucia’s rich and unique natural and cultural heritage. These include the Soufriere Regional Development Foundation, the Cultural Development Foundation (CDF), the Folk Research Centre (FRC), Departments of Forestry, Fisheries, Infrastructure and Sustainable Development.
From inception, the Trust implemented an advocacy and education programme aimed at sensitizing its members and the general public to the importance of preserving and conserving our national patrimony. As well, the Trust has continued to lend its voice to the continual advocacy on environmental and heritage issues, the need for sustainable development and rights of access by Saint Lucians to our beaches and queen’s chain and more recently the ratification of the Escazu agreement.
In 2020, the world was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and Saint Lucia has not been spared its wrath. Like so many businesses, organisations and agencies, the Trust has also had to weather this storm. The impacts of the pandemic have impacted its finance and led to a downscaling in its staff complement and work programmes. Through this ongoing period of difficulty, the Trust has continued to focus on delivering its mandate.
The Trust would like to thank the Government of Saint Lucia for its commitment to reinstating the subvention. This will go a long way in assisting the Trust in the maintenance and conservation of its sites, including all its sites located at Morne Fortune, Morne Pavillion, Vigie, Pigeon Island National Landmark, Maria Islands, Anse la Liberte and Dennery Island among others and in the implementation of its work programme, all of which is aimed at continuing to provide sustainable heritage programmes for the benefit of Saint Lucians and visitors alike.
The Trust would like to take this opportunity to thank, all those who have gone before us in charting the way, to all those who have served on Council over the years, all persons who have supported the Trust as members, to all those who have worked and continue to work as staff at the Trust and to the general public for their continued supports over the past four and a half decades.
The Trust shall continue to work steadfastly to fulfill is mandate and in keeping with this forward thrust, shall ensure that the Government of Saint Lucia, Trust members, stakeholder organisations and agencies and the general public are engaged each step of the way, in the conservation of our rich and unique history and heritage.
Saint Lucia National Trust