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Fort Duvernette Re-Opened

Louise Mitchell-Joseph , Chairperson of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines National Trust, is urging Vincentians to ensure that the biodiversity of Fort Duvernette is maintained.

Mitchell-Joseph, a lawyer by profession, urged Vincentians to be “custodians of the site,” and to ensure that the “bio-diversity is not threatened.”

She was speaking last week Thursday at the re-opening of the site, after extensive rehabilitation work that commenced in December 2010.  She traced the legacy of the island leased to foreigners in 1955, and expressed her happiness that the island was ceded to the National Trust in 1971.

She thinks that the site will play “an important role in tourism development, especially heritage tourism.”

Fort Duvernette, commonly referred to as Rock Fort, lies some 50 yards off the island resort of Young Island and, according to Mitchell-Joseph, falls within a no fishing zone.  She vowed that “the National Trust will be vigilant in ensuring that the no fishing order holds.

She emphasised the area’s bio-diversity, including a rich presence of flora and fauna, birds, and at one time a large number of iguanas, as worthy of ongoing care, as SVG moves to maximize its eco-tourism potential.

The Rehabilitation

The rehabilitation work, undertaken by local marine and general contractors Sea Operations (SVG) Ltd. under contract with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) National Trust, is estimated to have cost some US$105,000.00.

Funding for the undertaking, dubbed the ‘Fort Duvernette Rehabilitation Project’, was obtained from the Government of Finland, through its Ambassador to CARICOM and the OECS, H.E. Mikko Pyhala, who is resident in Caracas, Venezuela.

As a result of the rehabilitation, Fort Duvernette, which stands some 195 feet in height and has two batteries, now  boasts a small landing jetty, brand new steps leading to the summit or fort, protective netting, garbage receptacles and gazebo-type accommodation on the summit.

Also witnessing the re-opening of the site was His Excellency Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne, Ministers of Government Frederick Stevenson and Saboto Caesar, He. Ambassador Mikko Pyhala, former Minister of Government Rene Baptiste and Errol Sutherland, Managing Director of Sea Operations (SVG) Ltd.

Source of article:
by: William 'Kojah' Anthony
The Vincentian