By John Denny Observer Reporter
johndenny@thestkittsnevisobserver.com (Charlestown, Nevis) ” Staff members from the Ministry of Tourism have been working along side a UNESCO youth group to clear sections of the Nevis Heritage Trail that leads to the New River Spring and Devils Copper. Work started on July 19, when the young people cleared over 200 yards of the overgrown trail. The UNESCO youth group, Youth Poverty Alleviation through Tourism and Heritage (Youth PATH) is a UNESCO initiative that aims to enable young people in eight Caribbean countries to utilize innovation skills for sustainable employment in the area of heritage tourism, environmental conservation and preservation of heritage sites. Prior to clearing the trail, the members of Youth PATH visited the site and were taken on a tour of the trail by an experienced tour guide, Mr. Lemuel Pemberton, to determine the extent of the work that needed to be done.” The New River trail was selected because of its rich historical significance. The New River Spring was once the main source of water for residents in the Zion community, who frequented the area to wash in the water that flowed in the ghaut and to bring water from the nearby trough. Lynnell Liburd of Sunrise Tours has conducted tours for tourists on the trail in the past. Youth Path Coordinator for Nevis, Vanessa Webbe is grateful to Liburd for allowing the youths to use it as their training site. Historically, people came from as far as Hanley’s Road, Butlers and Brick Kiln to wash in the river.” Water was also taken from the nearby trough for home use.” Located in the same area is French Man’s Care, where it is said that a French man once lived during the sugar and slavery period.” It is believed that he survived only on fruit from the surrounding fruit trees and water from the river. The Youth Path project, which is carried out in 14 developing countries is geared at Poverty Alleviation through Tourism and Heritage Development. Participants are trained in a wide range of subject areas to gear them for work in the tourism sector and more specifically heritage tourism. Participants come from underprivileged areas and are between the ages of 15-25. Participants are also involved in heritage site preservation and development towards the economic empowerment and mobilization of their communities. Young persons in poor communities of the Caribbean are trained in the development and documentation of natural and cultural heritage sites in order for these sites to become centers of internal or international tourism, and in so doing, develop entrepreneurial skills for income generation. The two-year long initiative was officially launched in February 2008 at the Ocean Terrace, St. Kitts by Kwame Boafo Director of UNESCO, Caribbean Cluster office located in Jamaica.” In St. Kitts and Nevis the Youth PATH Project Manager is Antonio Maynard, who is also the Secretary General for the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for UNESCO. Over 15 young people in Nevis are currently being trained to learn new skills and enhance their personal development through this program.” The training which includes tour guiding; interpretation of historical sites and identifying flora and fauna will equip young people to be tour guides and find related jobs in heritage tourism.” Ms. Webbe explained that other courses, such as computer training, communication skills, art and craft and personal development sessions are offered to the participants.