In Norris Mitchell’s article of January 2023, the Camerhogne Park and Kirani James Boulevard were highlighted as significant “social infrastructure” which enhances communal life and provides green and open spaces — so necessary, as part of a healthy physical and spiritual environment, not only for our citizens but also for the enjoyment and relaxation of our visitors, as an integral part of our tourism product.
The receipt, however, of a 5-page copy of a research paper produced by Sandra Ferguson dated April 2007, titled “National Parks and Protected Areas,” brought to the fore the assistance requested by the Grenada Government in 1986 from the Organisation of American States (OAS), for the preservation and upgrading of our natural and cultural assets (heritage), as part of a Development plan for Grenada, which was identified and recorded in 1986 as follows. Recreational opportunities, Zoning Maps and Land Use Policy, Water supply and soil erosion; National Landmarks, e.g., Waterfalls, Cave systems, Lake Antoine, Levera National Park and Hog Island; Cultural Landmarks, e.g., Sugar Mills, Rum distillery, Forts, Great houses and Amerindian sites; Protected Seascapes, e.g., Calivigny harbour, Telescope rocks to Bathway beach and the white saline islands; Southern Seascapes, e.g., Chemin Bay, Egmont harbour, Calivgny Island, Canoe and Devil’s Bay, Fort Jeudy Point and Mt Hartman Point — and the list goes on.
On an island with such beautiful associations and a diverse and rich natural and cultural heritage, Grenada is blessed to inhabit a unique location in the Caribbean and by extension, in the global environment. The question is, “Can our decision-makers appreciate and convert those assets into a healthy, productive and prosperous island nation”?
It would appear, however, according to Ferguson, that this plan, although copiously conceived on paper, was, as per usual, never implemented, that is to say, although Cap. 206 was enacted in 1990, the Act was amended in 2007 to give the Governor-General the authority to amend it, contrary to the original purpose of “protection in perpetuity” (echoes of a narrow political expediency).
What, however, is of particular interest to the Foundation is Item 6.3 of the 2007 research document, captioned “St George’s Proposed World Heritage Site.” Anyone who has the slightest knowledge of how World Heritage status from UNESCO is obtained must regard this proposal for St George’s in this present-day condition with disdain, especially as the recommendation to the OAS was made in 1986.
In 1988, the Organisation of American States (OAS) — in assessing the status of Capital Cities in Latin America and the Caribbean 500 years after the arrival of Columbus — commissioned the University of Florida’s faculty of Architecture to undertake and provide a report as requested. The report concluded then that “St George’s is a monument of the Wider Caribbean.” Thirty-five years later in 2023, although our Capital City is a constituency and has a representative in parliament, the city has become a sorrowful sight from benign neglect and unregulated development over the years by successive governments.
Obtaining UNESCO status for St George’s can now be regarded as a pipe dream unless a concerted and deliberate political policy and implementation strategy are put in place and designed to reverse the prevailing conditions. After almost half a century as an independent nation, the prognosis is not encouraging. Only time will tell.
A Willie Redhead Foundation Presentation
I love your island nation. My visits over the past have been a delight…beautiful country and people.