By Steve Thomas Observer Nevis Editor
(Basseterre, St. Kitts) ” An overhaul of Independence Square in Basseterre has been announced by the St. Kitts and Nevis Hotel and Tourism Association. Plans call for repair of the square’s fountains and a number of other enhancements in time for the September Silver Jubilee Anniversary Celebration, according to a press release from the group. “To help the restoration elements of the Enhancement Project, the HTA has obtained six historic black and white photographs of the square which will be used as the basis for the improvements,” the release said. The work will be paid for by “HTA members and other prominent local businesses and institutions,” according to the release. The announcement outlines two phases of work. The tasks for Phase One are: ” Repairs to the plumbing for the square’s two fountains, which currently are not functioning. These will be carried out by David Rollinson, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Public Works. ” Restoration of the garden around the central fountain. This area will have two layers of shrubbery, utilizing plants that are unpalatable to grazing animals and require little water. Approximately 165 plants will be required for each layer. ” Restoration of the walkways immediately around the fountain. Sections of the walkways will have to be removed and replaced to facilitate the restoration and repairs to the fountain’s plumbing. ” Installation of seating. The area around the fountain is divided into eight sections, and a bench will be placed in each. ” Lights and plumbing. Adequate lighting and wiring will be installed and it is hoped that enough money will be available to put in a sprinkler system. Phase Two will be carried out over a period of years, according to the release. This will involve: ” Labeling of trees. The HTA has consulted with the Department of Agriculture to establish the names of all the trees currently in the square and to acquire a good understanding of the care that each tree needs. ” Landscaping. A timetable will be put in place to schedule the pruning of the large trees and shrubbery. This timetable will take into consideration the flowering season of the flamboyant and the other plants. ” Painting the perimeter wall. ” Repairing the current concrete benches. This work will be carried out by the Department of Public Works. ” Sanitation. Signs will be discreetly placed to discourage littering, and new garbage containers will be placed at appropriate locations around the square. ” Installation of wrought iron lamp posts. ” General maintenance. This will be ongoing by the Parks and Beaches Department. The park was created in the late 1700s, the release states. At first, it was the administrative centre of the island, as well as the place where slaves were bought and sold. Some of the buildings where slaves were kept in grim cellars – notably the Georgian House, on the south side of the square – are still standing. Originally known as Pall Mall Square, it was renamed as Independence Square in 1983 to mark the island’s independence from British colonial rule.