Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Saint Lucia National Trust speaks about the threat to the world's rarest snake

Choice TV Interviews Bishnu Tulsie of the Saint Lucia National Trust about the impending developments proposed for Pigeon Island which will destroy historical assets and natural assets to create a captive cetacean tourism experience against strong opposition from Trust members and local and international public and about the devastation on the world's rarest snake and the very rare Saint Lucia whiptail lizard which both live on the isolated Maria Islands nature reserve.

The Maria Islands Reserve is now being included in the Desert Star Holdings (DSH) development Pearl of the Caribbean - this development had already been greeted with dismay and protest when it was contained to a smaller site and included destroying a protected mangrove: the Government then agreed to take the mangrove off the project only to return with a massively expanded project that has multiple environmental impacts and will completely obliterate the nature reserves by linking them to the mainland with a 150-acre reclamation project that will also harshly impact reefs and sea-grass beds in the area and cause silting and other damage in a wider region.  Impact assessments have not been done - these impacts are what local environmental experts believe will be the outcome. The Trust has been shut out of discussions despite pleas to both the government and developers and rumours abound now that the subvention to the Trust is being cut by the government and the entire statutory body may end up in the garbage.

The DSH project apparently involves the sale of hundreds of thousands of Saint Lucian passports under the Citizenship by Investment programme - this is in itself unbelievable since the population of Saint Lucia is itself only 180,000 - the citizenships come with voting rights and the question must therefore be raised, would this not put the human rights of Saint Lucians under threat? Would it not compromise the sovereignty of the people effectively reducing them to an adult minority?

Many Saint Lucians are expressing feelings of helplessness and deep distress and depression over what they see as the high-handed way in which their national assets are being removed from their control without consent or any regard to their opinions - to the contrary, the message they are receiving is that they are out of line to speak out against these projects. My personal feelings run along the lines of the Saint Lucians I have described - I can't believe we are finding ourselves in this position and feel pretty powerless to make a difference - so at least I can write about it briefly here.

I am currently spending my days studying a Master in World Heritage & Cultural Projects for Development in Italy, learning about sustainable development, cultural and natural tourism, Man and Biosphere programmes for development in hand with environmental protection, while I watch from afar as my home country turns it's back on it's own heritage, environment and natural assets and it's people's sovereignty - the irony is not lost!

Well, if you have suggestions, please help by sharing expertise or thoughts with us - we will need all the help we can get - international focus/press coverage, funds for the Trust (, signatories on the two petitions

As we lay Sir Derek Walcott to rest this weekend - Nobel Laureate for Literature, we do not forget how he fought to save Saint Lucia's natural and historical assets and we hope that the lines of our National anthem remain true:

"Land of beaches, hills and valleys,Fairest isle of all the earth."
Saint Lucia National Anthem