Old sugar factory under consideration for heritage site

MyVueNews Staff-writer

Basseterre,St. Kitts, Monday, 8th October, 2018, (MyVueNews.com) –After being closed since 2005, not much effort has been made to preserve the relics of the St. Kitts Sugar Factory that dominated the economic life of the island for decades.

When the factory ended operations some 13 years ago,most of the equipment and other supplies and facilities were basically abandoned, but now government is taking a second look and are hoping to have it recognized as a heritage site.

This has been great news for the St. Christopher National Trust whose Executive Director, Ryllis Percival, said she and her organization are pleased to hear the government acknowledge the historic importance of the site.

Percival said, after the idea was touted last Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018, by the Minister of Agriculture, Eugene Hamilton, while speaking a press conference hosted by his colleague, the prime minister.

She added, “We were thrilled, and truthfully somewhat relieved, to hear that the government seems committed to preserving what remains of the factory.”

Hamilton announced that the government was moving to cleanup the area and would engage with the National Trust about future plans for the site.

In a release shared by the Trust, Hamilton was quoted assaying, “We engaged the Heritage Society (National Trust) because like Brimstone Hill, like Spooner’s Ginnery, it is a heritage site…The Heritage Society has given a view, and I know that they are actively working based on their communication with us, for recommendations to the government of what ought…to happen to that site.”

The agriculture minister said that before his team came to government there was a contract to dismantle certain aspects of the Sugar Factory site… (and) “We’ve inherited the site (that is) in a very dilapidated,in fact very dangerous condition.”

Not only has the Trust been advocating for the old facility to become a heritage site, since 2005, they also have called for the preservation of the factory and lobbied for the establishment of a sugar museum on the site.

Percival said they are proud that they are one step closer to making it a reality, with the recent announcement by the government.

“The Sugar Factory represents an era of our history that needs to be preserved for future generations; but not just for future generations, but in memory of all of those who worked in the industry. This site will not just be a museum, it will be a memorial,” she stated in the release issued by the Trust.