The rich and deep historical heritage and legacy of the Federation is being given a major boost as heritage stakeholders collaborate to identify appropriate sites for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Under the auspices of the Federal Minister responsible for Culture, Hon. Jonel Powell, and under the administrative supervision of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for UNESCO, an Ad Hoc Interdisciplinary Heritage Committee is being established. Its mandate is to document and recommend a list of heritage sites in St. Kitts and Nevis for submission to the UNESCO Tentative List. This is a very necessary first step in the process aimed at selecting one heritage site/item per period, for ultimate submission to UNESCO for consideration and review leading to its inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
The team, drawn from across the Federation, consists of a Historian, an Architect, an Archaeologist, a Lawyer, a representative from each of the National Trusts from St. Kitts and Nevis and a representative from the Nevis Department of Culture,is mandated to receive applications for, and assess the suitability of sites that meet the criteria to be ultimately nominated for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Ms. Dorothy Warner, Secretary-General of the St. Kitts & Nevis National Commission for UNESCO, who is spearheading the exercise, notes: “ We are grateful to these professionals who have been invited to volunteer their time, energy, passion and expertise to support the Federation in its quest to showcase those sites that rise to the top as ones worthy of inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List”.
Ms Warner will be working hand-in-hand with the Federation’s Permanent DelegateatUNESCO in Paris, Ambassador David Doyle, who explains: “The Committee will examine the state of the properties submitted to determine cultural, natural, Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) and state of conservation as per UNESCO’s Operational Guidelines for Implementation of the World Heritage Convention”
The Federation boasts of its one (1) UNESCO World Heritage site, The Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, which was inscribed in 1999. It stands proudly as ‘an outstanding, well-preserved example of 17th and 18th-century military architecture in a Caribbean context. Designed by the British and built by African slave labour, the fortress is testimony to European colonial expansion, the African slave trade and the emergence of new societies in the Caribbean’.
Central to the entire exercise is the competence and diligence of the Ad Hoc Interdisciplinary Heritage Committee. Mr. Percival Hanley, General Manager of the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Society, will ably assist the committee providing advice from his World Heritage experiences and expertise. It is envisaged that the final list of heritage sites with potential for World Heritage nomination, drawn from across the Federation, will be submitted to the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Interdisciplinary Heritage committee, the Hon. Minister Powell, in May, 2021.
Ambassador Doyle adds, “The Committee members will be encouraged to follow UNESCO’s Practical Guide for the updating of the Tentative List, consider nominations submitted by relevant stakeholders and robustly examine the state of the properties submitted to determine cultural, natural, Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) and state of conservation per UNESCO’s Operational Guidelines for Implementation of the World Heritage Convention”.
Fully endorsing the exercise for the Federation, Minister Powell states: “I welcome this innovative approach to identifying our rich and historically-important heritage and look forward to receiving and reviewing the Committee’s recommendations”.
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