“A country which has no interest in protecting and preserving its natural and cultural heritage is not deserving of nationhood” (Words to that effect) Hon. Keith Rowley Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago
Due to circumstances beyond his control, the Editor of the Sentinel was unable to attend the presentation of the budget on Friday, 9 December 2016, by the Prime Minister who is also the Minister for Finance, but on Sunday, 11 December, was able to listen to the entire presentation courtesy Chime FM.
After listening to the 2-hour delivery, the Sentinel was hopeful that some mention would have been made of our natural and cultural heritage and the imperative to protect our environment, in order to guarantee, as far as possible, our existential presence on our small corner of planet earth, in the face of global warming, rising sea levels and climate change, which according to the experts could create adverse conditions for small island developing states (SIDS), where new strains of diseases and catastrophic weather conditions (hurricanes) could nullify our best efforts at sustained national development.
At the end of the presentation, the word HERITAGE was not mentioned and the word CULTURE was mentioned once, en passant — under the heading “Tourism and Culture.” While there was some mention of the increased airlift to Grenada under this item, nothing was said about “Culture” per se, the springboard to a vibrant tourism product, and the essence of our Grenadian identity as a contributing factor, which is so admired by our visitors.
The only encouraging signal as far as Heritage and Culture are concerned, was the pronouncement that some consideration would be given to repairing government buildings damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and the proposed enhancement and restoration of Fort George as our premier tourism site. Should this good news come to pass, it is the Sentinel’s hope that first on the priority list would be York House, then the Public Library followed by Government House, and the preservation and enhancement of Camerhogne Park, while paying close attention to the proposed BLUE ECONOMY Project which appears to include Quarantine Station, the last remaining sizable public recreational space in the south of the island.
In the case of the Public Library (building), an indispensable symbol of sovereignty — which remain closed and unusable going on 5 years due to lack of maintenance, it’s heartening to learn however that this void is now partially filled by a Grenadian patriot and her associates. The Grenada Community Library, whose co-founder is Oonya Kempadoo, is now permanently housed at No. 7 Lucas Street in St George’s. The donation of the 2-storey building to house the Community Library — according to a press release, was given by attorney-at-law, Mr James Bristol of Henry, Henry & Bristol. It is worthy of note that this level of philanthropy is seldom experienced in Grenada, let alone in our Caricom community. The Sentinel, therefore — on behalf of the Willie Redhead Foundation and the reading community of Grenada especially the youth — wishes to say many thanks to Mr Bristol for his continued contribution towards the pursuit of a better Grenada.
In conclusion, the Sentinel takes this opportunity to thank our sponsors and well wishes especially the electronic and print media for their continued support in the cause of protecting and preserving our natural and cultural heritage, which in our view are critical components in any national and holistic economic development strategy such as the budget, and hope for a possible reconsideration in 2017.
tWRF takes this opportunity to wish our Grenadian compatriots both at home and in the diaspora a Merry Christmas and a progressive and prosperous New Year.