That’s according to the Prime Minister of St. Kitts & Nevis, who was at the time, last Friday, 24th June, 2011, addressing an Opening Ceremony to officially declare the National Capitol Park, as a protected area.
He said that “Commercial enterprises, residential buildings, recreational facilities and other infrastructure, require water, and as demand increases, there is complementary pressure on our available resources.”
Prime Minister Douglas pointed out that given the present financial and economic challenges, the promotion of agriculture as a growth sector for the benefit of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, especially given the challenges in terms of food security, is paramount.
He therefore encouraged Kittitians and Nevisians to become engaged in the protection of the water asset and promotion of greater awareness of water conservation.
Prime Minister Douglas stressed that the attitude that water is abundant and infinite has to be dispelled, on the basis that climate change is a real factor, as is evident by periods of low rainfall in the Caribbean and it must be understood it will have a significant impact.
“We have to be careful about what we do with our resources, and we must know how to ensure sustainability in our water supplies. We must not think about the now, only, but we have to look to the future and plan ahead to ensure that we can deliver the precious resource,” said Dr. Douglas, who disclosed that he was encouraged by the extensive work done under the GEF-IWCAM Project on the rehabilitation and management of the Basseterre Valley Aquifer, which is a critical national asset.
The ceremony was held on the Kim Collins Highway, and was hosted as part of the closing exercises for the GEF-IWCAM (Global Environment Facility-Integrating Watershed and Coastal Area Management) Project.
The Prime Minister thanked the Committee that had responsibility for the project, for their diligent work. He told them that from the perspective of the government, there is much support for an appropriate and effective management structure that would govern the use and protection of the area. He said he was pleased that they have moved forward to the point that today we mark the adoption or designation of the area as the Saint Kitts National Capitol Park, as a means of protecting the aquifer area.
“It is all about appropriately utilizing this critical space, and I am told that plans include a botanical plaza, a walkway for touring parts of the area, a visitor center and a hillside amphitheatre. Such features provide recreational usage while securing the water asset below for sustainable use. I believe that the Saint Kitts National Capitol Park would provide an excellent demonstration over time of how man’s imprint on the environment can be sustained in a positive manner, and how we can take necessary and appropriate decisions, policies and strategies to ensure that generations to come can and would benefit from the resource we have here today,” said Dr. Douglas.
He said that the Saint Kitts National Capitol Park is going to be developed into another important development and tourism infrastructure that must be preserved for generations yet unborn.