By: St. Clair Sazam Hull
(CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS) –On the morning of May 15 2013, a number of persons assembled in the conference room of the Mount Nevis Hotel, for the second meeting on the environment, convened in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis organized by United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The meeting, with its theme, ‘Environmental Policy Formulation and Planning for the Caribbean’, was organized by UNESCO in a collaborative effort with the Nevis Island Administration.
The opening remarks came from Chairman of the Steering Committee, Dr. Leighton Narine. He said he was pleased with the determination made by the organizers in order to make the event a reality. He noted that a function of such magnitude had to go through a lot of planning and thought process in order to be a success. He indicated that he was proud of those who worked strenuously to make it successful. The Chairman thanked Mount Nevis Hotel for its gracious hospitality.
Hon. Troy Liburd, Junior Minister responsible for Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Environment gave the welcoming remarks. He said that it was delightful to see so many persons at the gathering especially those who had to journey to Nevis. Mr. Liburd said it was an honor that the Federation, but more specifically Nevis, was able to collaborate with UNESCO, regional institutions and experts in hosting the meeting.
Liburd indicated that the two day conference was to discuss and find ways to combat existing obstacles which are perilous to the environment. He indicated that he hoped that solutions are found to solve those ongoing problems.
President and Managing Director of Douglas and Associates located in Jamaica, Dr. Conrad Douglas gave a brief overview. He said he was delighted; to be at the conference but more importantly he was happy that so many persons took time out of their schedule to be there as well. He was of the view that our planet is under threat of destruction, and that the attendees must decide how to save God’s creation from a changing climate that threatens to destroy it. Douglas pointed out that our very survival has never required greater cooperation and understanding among all people, from all places, than at this moment in history.
In closing, Dr. Douglas wished everyone a most productive and purposeful meeting and hoped at the end of it everyone would be instrumental in preserving and protecting the environment.
A dramatic presentation was given by Mr. Tafari Ayinde in the form of poetry. The audience erupted with laughter, when he announced that he was pleased to see his name among those with doctorates and other noteworthy credentials. The attentive gathering hanged on his every word, as the local poet recited his witty poem. At the end of it he was given an exceptional round of applause by everyone in attendance.
UNESCO’S Representative Dr. John Crowley of Paris also gave some remarks. He stated that planning for environmental issues demand new methods of analysis and new approaches in order to tackle emerging problems. According to Crowley an important responsibility lies with policy makers, and those who inform and advise them, to devise and implement policies which anticipate, and act to alleviate potential problems before they reach crisis level.
Premier of Nevis, Hon. Vance Amory also gave brief remarks. He noted that the NIA has demonstrated its commitment to clean energy by investing in Geothermal and Wind power with the intention of also getting into Solar Energy.
Premier Amory also said we have to keep protecting our wetlands and coastlines claiming that if we show disregard to them it will be of no help to us. The Premier added that his government conducted a conference a few weeks ago in regards to sand mining and the perilous effects it could have on the island noting that all of these acts contribute in more ways than one to harm the environment.
Ms. Claudia Walwyn, co-chairperson of the steering committee gave the vote of thanks. She thanked everyone who made conference a reality.