John Hanley, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism speaking to the Department of Information recently at Fort Charles.

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis — John Hanley, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism has appealed to the public to stop stealing stones from the heritage sites on Nevis.

Some of the walls at Fort Charles are falling down.

Hanley made the request during a recent visit to Fort Charles as the designated heritage site is undergoing upgrade work by the ministry’s Heritage Team, led by Sylvester Meade, Heritage Site Manager.

“Ideally, I would like us to have some expertise on the island to help us to rebuild the stone walls,” explained Hanley. “Speaking of the stone walls, I want to discourage persons from continuing the practice of stealing the heritage stones, the historical stones from the site. On some of our sites so many stones have been taken that the historic walls have been collapsing.

“The ministry has decided to fence some of these sites to add a measure of security,” he said. “If these sites are secured, we will be able to move forward and get relevant expertise. National and regional expertise will help us restore the walls, because restoring the walls is not simply about coming in and putting in Portland Cement in the walls. We have to restore it, so that it is historically correct using the lime and mortar that was used back in the day.”

Meantime, in relation to restoration work on the coastal side of Fort Charles, Hanley explained that it is being addressed in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication and Works.

“Anyone you who is familiar with the Fort Charles area knows that we have a severe coastal erosion problem,” he said. “At present, the cliffs have eroded until they are actually under the sea walls of the fort and some of them have collapsed into the sea.

“We have been working with the Ministry of Communications and Works and have plans afoot to do some reclamation and stabilization of the coast in this area,” said Hanley. “It will take a while, and it’s going to take a considerable amount of money. We have begun the process and have to discuss how to do this very important work,”

The Ministry of Tourism is in the process of upgrading the seven heritage sites. It is responsible for the upkeep of Cottle Church, Bath Hotel, New River Estate, Eden Brown, Fort Charles, Fothergills Heritage Village and Saddle Hill.