Launching St. Kitts National Capitol Park, PM Douglas calls for protection of water asset, greater awareness of conservation

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister and Minister of Sustainable Development, Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas delivering remarks at the ceremony on the Kim Collins Highway.

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JUNE 28TH 2011 (CUOPM) – A call for the protection of the water asset and promotion of greater awareness of water conservation has come from St. Kits and Nevis’ Prime Minister and Minister of Sustainable Development, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas.

Delivering remarks at a ceremony on the Kim to close the GEF-IWCAM (Global Environment Facility-Integrating Watershed and Coastal Area Management) Project and officially declare the Saint Kitts National Capitol Park as a protected area, Prime Minister Douglas stressed that the attitude that water is abundant and infinite has to be dispelled, on the basis that climate change is a real factor, as is evident by periods of low rainfall in the Caribbean and it must be understood it will have a significant impact.

“We must also look at the issue of our water resources in the context of our overall development. Commercial enterprises, residential buildings, recreational facilities and other infrastructure, require water, and as demand increases, there is complementary pressure on our available resources,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who pointed out that within the contest of the present financial and economic challenges, the promotion of agriculture as a growth sector for the benefit of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, especially given the challenges in terms of food security is paramount.

Assistant Water Engineer, Dr. Halla Sahaley; Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas; Mr. Vincent Sweeney, Project Co-ordinator for the GEF-IWCAM Project and Chief Water Engineer, Mr. Cromwell Williams.

“We have to be careful about what we do with our resources, and we must know how to ensure sustainability in our water supplies. We must not think about the now, only, but we have to look to the future and plan ahead to ensure that we can deliver the precious resource,” said Dr. Douglas, who disclosed that he was encouraged by the extensive work done under the GEF-IWCAM Project on the rehabilitation and management of the Basseterre Valley Aquifer, which is a critical national asset.

“As such, I must thank the Committee for their diligent work. From the perspective of the government, there is much support for an appropriate and effective management structure that would govern the use and protection of the area. I am also pleased that we have moved forward to the point that today we mark the adoption or designation of the area as the Saint Kitts National Capitol Park, as a means of protecting the aquifer area,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

Site of the Saint Kitts National Capitol Park

“It is all about appropriately utilizing this critical space, and I am told that plans include a botanical plaza, a walkway for touring parts of the area, a visitor center and a hillside amphitheatre. Such features provide recreational usage while securing the water asset below for sustainable use. I believe that the Saint Kitts National Capitol Park would provide an excellent demonstration over time of how man’s imprint on the environment can be sustained in a positive manner, and how we can take necessary and appropriate decisions, policies and strategies to ensure that generations to come can and would benefit from the resource we have here today,” said Dr. Douglas.

He said that the Saint Kitts National Capitol Park is going to be developed into another important development and tourism infrastructure that must be preserved for generations yet unborn.

“We should all feel confident that this event today marks a new beginning, a new and exciting journey in the protection and use of the Basseterre Valley Aquifer. Again, I thank all the person, institutions and agencies, especially the Global Environmental Facility, which made such projects possible throughout the Caribbean,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

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