Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 12, 2016 (SKNIS): Antonio Maynard, Secretary General of the UNESCO National Commission said that turtle catching, the Keys bat cave, and sand mining are features of the St. Mary’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Reserve which are expected to come up for discussion at the upcoming Town Hall Meeting.
Scheduled for Thursday, February 18, participants are expected to include Parliamentary Representative for the area, Honourable Eugene Hamilton, along with representatives of the MAB Reserve Committee.
“Very soon the St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network will be constructing an interpretation centre for the turtle monitoring exercise that is happening in that area,” Mr. Maynard, said noting that this should commence in April, 2016. “That area is famous for turtle nesting, and so residents are keen to discuss further this particular activity – for example, whether or not they should get an opportunity to kill a turtle, probably once a year. So those matters need to be discussed with the residents.”
The Keys bat cave was a site for which residents were encouraged to come up with creative livelihood ideas. This is but one of the potential sites, for income earning in the MAB Reserve, which includes the communities of Keys, Cayon, Hermitage, Canada and Ottley’s.
“This is another activity that needs to be developed in such a way, so that it can be another tourism product, in that particular area,” Mr. Maynard said, in reference to the Keys bat caves.
Sand mining as well is up for review.
“Illegal sand mining is an issue and so this needs to be ventilated among the residents,” Mr. Maynard said. “We need to come up with a sustainable idea where people could mine the sand but do it in a very balanced, sustainable way.”
The meeting would also serve to inform residents of the MAB Committee activities.
“The meeting is being held to update the residents living in the St. Mary’s Biosphere Reserve about the development of the programme and to solicit their ideas with respect to sustainable living, how we can further empower them to make a living economically within the area,” Mr. Maynard said, informing that there would also be the symbolic launching of the Facebook page and website for the MAB Programme. There would also be the unveiling of a sign wall (bill board) about the St. Mary’s Biosphere Reserve.
Mr. Maynard said that all are invited to the meeting. “We want to encourage everyone, especially those living in the area, of the St. Mary’s Man and the Biosphere Reserve, to come out and give their ideas about the development of the area,” he said. “The idea is to develop it to be a tourism hotspot so that the residents can make a sustainable living from the natural environment.