(L-r) Lillith Richards, Project Coordinator from the Project Management Unit; Ms. Annmarie Goulbourne, Senior Environmental Analyst of Environmental Solutions in Jamaica; Mr. Timothy Thwaites of Smith Warner International a Jamaican based engineering firm; Hon. Spencer Brand, Minister of Physical Planning and Environment; Dr. Ernie Stapleton, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Physical Planning and Environment; and Denzil Stanley, Principal Assistant Secretary and Lillith Richards, Project Coordinator from the Project Management Unit; at a meeting at the Nevis Island Administration’s conference room in Charlestown Tuesday.

A two-member team from Jamaica is on Nevis to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to begin the Fort Charles Reclamation and Protection Project at Bath Village Hon. Spencer Brand, Minister of Physical Planning and Environment, disclosed at a meeting at the ministry’s conference room in Charlestown Tuesday.

A representative from Smith Warner International, a Jamaican based engineering firm which won the bid to provide technical support for the project, and a representative from their associates Environmental Solutions are spending three days on their data finding mission.

“As a part of the initial phase of the process, my role is to collect physical data, measurements of the current situation on the ground, upon which all the engineering solutions will be based, and so it’s a fundamental beginning, initial step to get a grasp visually and measurement wise of what we have on the ground so that appropriate, well-guided solutions can be formulated thereafter and  so that’s my main purpose here this week and we thank you for the welcome and we look forward to a successful data collection exercise on my part,”  Mr. Timothy Thwaites, of Smith Warner International, said.

Fort Charles, a historic site on Nevis, and its environs have been severely eroded over time by the rise in sea level, a likely consequence of Global Climate Change.

“Our role is to collect environmental data from the site as well as through stakeholder consultations, both with the relevant government bodies here in Nevis, as well as the local stakeholders on the ground here in Nevis — the people living nearby, the fisher folk and all who are users of the site — so that everything can be integrated into the environmental impact assessment, and we ensure that we cover all the elements of the environment, social, ecological and physical,” Ms. Annmarie Goulbourne, Senior Environmental Analyst of Environmental Solutions, said.

Mr. Brand noted that the objective is to protect a piece of the island’s history, and the coastline, with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

“The aim is to try and protect this very valuable piece of our Nevisian history and the fact that the fort is in the sea, it is falling in the sea, and if we don’t do something quickly we are going to lose it, and I feel that it was of critical importance to the island of Nevis and to the history of Nevis that we engage in this project,” he said.“I am very happy that we are making this kind of step today in ensuring that we get to the goal where we want to protect this valuable piece of our treasure.” 

The Minister said the NIA had procured material from the Four Seasons renovation project in 2019 for use in the long-term goal of restoring and protecting Fort Charles.The Project Management Unit, headed by Ms. Lillith Richards, was engaged in the process to prepare the necessary documents. The UNDP responded positively to the request.

Also taking part at the meeting were Dr. Ernie Stapleton, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Physical Planning and Environment; Mr. Denzil Stanley, Principal Assistant Secretary; and Ms. Lillith Richards, Project Coordinator from the Project Management Unit.