St. Mary’s Residents updated at UNESCO Mab town hall meeting

Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS) — Residents of Keys, Cayon, Hermitage, Canada and Ottley’s and nearby areas were updated on the activities of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) National Committee at a Town Hall Meeting held in the Cayon Community Centre last Wednesday (February 26).

Telca Wallace, member of the MAB Bureau Committee and resident of the mentioned area which is termed the St. Mary’s Biosphere Reserve, set the ball rolling when she explained why it was necessary to have community involvement.

“We also want to look at some of the work that has been going on in the community and see how we can best serve the biosphere area,” Ms. Wallace outlined.  “That is in terms of getting all stakeholders on board and that is to have the community on board every step of the way, so that the community can continue to benefit.”

Antonio Maynard, Secretary General of the UNESCO National Commission and Chair of the MAB Committee explained some of the current activities.

“Presently we are in the process of conceptualizing and writing up a project proposal entitled Marketing and Citizen Awareness Campaign Project for the Man and the Biosphere, here in St. Mary’s,” Mr. Maynard revealed.  “Some of the activities that will be executed during the period of this project, is the production and printing of promotional material (brochures, leaflets, stickers etc.), the production of video documentaries that will be shown on local television, infomercials that will help to sensitize the general public about this particular programme, construction and erection of entry point road signs.”

Mr. Maynard also revealed that there will be training workshops and regular town hall meetings in the future.

The Town Hall Meeting also saw presentations by Dr. David Doyle, Permanent Representative for St. Kitts and Nevis to UNESCO and Dr. Kimberly Stewart, President of the St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network.  There was also an impromptu presentation by Percival Hanley and Sneidman Warner, members of the St. Christopher National Trust who informed of the progress of the restoration work currently taking place at the Spooner’s Ginnery, one of the possible sites for entrepreneurial ventures in the St. Mary’s Reserve.

Members of the audience, which was chiefly made up of the residents of the Reserve, were also given an opportunity to air their views.

Issues such as why is it was necessary to protect the sea turtle population, possible entrepreneurial undertakings and activities pertaining to the Spooner’s Ginnery were matters of concern.

The St. Mary’s Biosphere Reserve was officially designated as part of the UNESCO World-Wide Network in November 2011, at the 36th Session of the UNESCO General Conference.

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