The “International Commission of Monuments and Sites” (ICOMOS) completed a visit to the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis from January 28th to February 2nd, 2018. This visit specifically involved evaluating and giving serious consideration to whether or not a solid case might be made for the nomination of the City of Charlestown to be inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And if so, provide advice on the identification and programming of work that would need to be undertaken before the drafting of a nomination dossier. The preparation of this nomination dossier is being led by the Nevis World Heritage Committee in collaboration with the St. Kitts & Nevis National Commission for UNESCO.
The ICOMOS Team visit to assess the historic sites started on January 29, 2018, with courtesy calls to the Governor General, His Excellency Sir S.W. Tapley Seaton and Minister of Culture, the Honourable Shawn Richards. Mr. Anthony Maynard, Secretary General for the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for UNESCO and Dr. Everson Hull, OAS Ambassador for St. Kitts & Nevis were also present during the courtesy calls in St. Kitts & Nevis and took part in most of the week’s activities.
While on Nevis, the ICOMOS experts (Mr. Herman van Hooff of Netherlands/Cuba, and Mr. Daniel Young Torquemada of Panama) held a meeting with the Deputy Premier, Hon. Alexis Jeffers, Hon. Spencer Brand, Minister of Labour, Public Works, Physical Planning, Environment, Communications and Works, and Hon. Minister Eric Evelyn, Minister of Culture, Youth, Sports, Community Development, Telecommunications and Information under whose Ministry this project falls.
The ICOMOS Experts informed the NIA’s Ministers that the basic criteria to achieve inscription is that the state party must be very committed on a long-term basis, and they commended the cabinet for taking the bid for inscription so seriously and showing their commitment at the highest level. They further noted that to achieve inscription the City of Charlestown must be of outstanding universal value and must comply with the regulations of the World Heritage Convention and preserve the properties the way it is defined at the international level. With much enthusiasm, the Experts have expressed that Nevis obviously have that universal value and a great story to tell the rest of the world.
We are very pleased with the way the visit evolved and we are reminding our fellow citizens that there is lots of work to be done and we thank the general public for how well they received our visitors. We will forever need the general public’s participation and commitment to the preservation of the City of Charlestown, because it is a one of a kind city that will benefit all.
On November 14th, 2017, the States’ Parties to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention elected St. Kitts and Nevis to serve on the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee. This is an appointment for the next four years and places St. Kitts and Nevis in a unique position on this prestigious 21-member decision making body for making the case for the full inscription of the City of Charlestown as a World Heritage Site.
While we now wait for a full report from UNESCO regarding the findings of the experts which is anticipated at the end of April, we continue our research to develop a management plan for Charlestown and examine our existing legislations in order to meet the international standards of protection for the City of Charlestown. Each one of us has a role to play, to do what is possible to achieve a successful path to the inscription of the City of Charlestown.