BASSETERRE, St. Kitts –- “Although the Ministry of Environment and Cooperatives is small in size, it carries a great deal of responsibility as it works to build sustainable pillars for our survival,” according to Permanent Secretary Ms. Sharon Rattan.
“It is a small ministry but we ‘tallawah’ as we would say in our local parlance. The Department of Environment consists of just 18 persons and about eight Cooperatives, but we carry lots of responsibility,” said Ms. Rattan. “Our new minister, the Honourable Eric Evelyn, is also very well-positioned and well-placed to lead this ministry.
“Minister Evelyn has many years of experience in agriculture, and that is one of our key stakeholders and a key critical partner because of our relationship with the land,” said Ms. Rattan. “We need food and we have to know how we are going to use the land to get food to feed ourselves.”
Ms. Rattan said environmental sustainability plays an integral role in the ministry. The ministry interacts with the environment in numerous ways to minimize depletion or degradation of natural resources, thereby fostering long-term environmental quality.
“Within this little ministry, Environment and Cooperatives, we see sustainability. We are playing our part to build sustainable pillars for our survival, and, of course, we interact with the environment every day and we are happy.
“Some of the ways the ministry interacts with the environment include, but are not limited to beach clean-ups; maintenance of Central Forest Reserve (CFR) Trails, and other trails; nearshore water quality testing, and coral reef monitoring.”
Conservation Officer in the Ministry of Environment and Cooperatives, Cheryl Jeffers, said the responsibility of officers at the Department of Environment is to “ensure that the work that is being executed within our office falls in line in terms of what is expected, as it relates to sustainable development.”
She reflected on the department’s motto: “Conserve, Preserve and Protect.”
“That motto was generated recognizing the mandate of the Department of Environment,” said Ms. Jeffers. “It is primarily to conserve the environment to preserve what we have left of our resources, taking into consideration sustainability and, if necessary, to protect the environment for lives ahead to come.”