More Amerindian Remains Discovered at Cas en Bas Site

In January, the Saint Lucia Archaeological & Historical Society (A&H) and the Saint Lucia National Trust (The Trust) were made aware of the exposure of skeletal remains at the Amerindian Site at the north end of Cas en Bas Beach and bordering the Cabot development site. The Trust recalls the recent commitment of the government to ensuring this area and others like it would be appropriately preserved and developed as important heritage of the nation and has called on the DCA to lead the action in this urgent situation.

Concerned citizens who noticed the remains – believed to be exposed by runoff from recent heavy rains- did their best to protect the area from further damage and called upon government authorities and relevant agencies to take immediate action to secure the site. This group made a report to the police and accompanied them to the site. The group also called upon authorities to follow up with immediate action to secure the site which has been recognised as a “Site of Memory” by the current administration.

The Trust and the A&H have been calling on the DCA and related agencies to improve access to monitoring reports on development in the area, to provide the assurance that appropriate measures are instituted to mitigate any potential damage to natural and historical national assets.

The call has also been made for increased collaboration between the DCA and its referral agencies to ensure that developers conserve our national assets in accordance with international heritage conventions and sustainable development and climate change resilient practices and policies.

Based on this recent hard evidence of further archaeological remains, the Trust and A&H have now called for:

1. Access to the reports of the Check Consultant; 2. Access to the entire site to ascertain the extent of the damage to natural and historical national assets; 3. Increased collaboration between the DCA and the referral agencies to ensure that the developer is implementing the necessary mitigative measures (against runoff and coastal erosion); and 4. Convening of a meeting, including all the referral agencies, with the DCA to discuss the ongoing issues and to develop a plan of action.

The two agencies are further concerned that there are imminent developments in areas recognised as being of archaeological importance that have not been fully investigated, if at all. Best practice requires that investigations and identification of acceptable mitigative measures are completed and incorporated into an approved management plan before ground-breaking.

Additionally, The Trust notes that as the travel world is rapidly moving towards recognition of the rights of a nation to ownership and responsibility for preservation of its heritage, destruction of local remains, historical and cultural identity in the development of touristic and other industrial sites is likely to negatively impact Saint Lucia’s promotion of heritage tourism.

The Saint Lucia government confirmed its support for the rights of a nation to its heritage – natural and historic – in the signing and ratification of:

UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage;

UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage;

Sustainable Development Goals; and

the ESCAZU Agreement which enshrine the right of every person of present and future generations to live in a healthy environment and to sustainable development; the ESCAZU Agreement in particular promotes “public access to information, public participation, access to justice in environmental matters, and the creation and strengthening of capacities and cooperation”.

The Trust and the A&H encourage others to join their institutions and become engaged in learning about the value of heritage in our lives and how, through effective conservation and sustainable development, these assets can contribute to livelihoods, national pride and opportunities for improved quality of life.

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