BASSETERRE, St Kitts, 16th March, 2023 – The Ministry of Environment, Climate Action and Constituency Empowerment signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Cooperatives in relation to the use of lands on the Royal Basseterre Valley National Park, more commonly known as the Aquifer, in order to host the Ministry of Agriculture’s Annual Open Day.
The signing took place on Thursday 16thMarch ,2023, among the Honourable Dr. Joyelle Clarke, Minister of Environment et al and Honourable Samal Duggins, Minister of Agriculture et al, and Permanent Secretaries in both Ministries, Sharon Rattan, and Miguel Fleming respectively, at the Secretariat of the Minister responsible for Environment and Climate Action.
Minister of Environment, Hon. Dr. Joyelle Clarke said the Ministry has the mandate to protect the Royal Basseterre Valley National Park and part of that is instituting an MOU.
She said, “Part of that is establishing its use and maintaining the integrity and protecting the biodiversity and water reserves at the park. Hence, any use should rightfully be governed by an MOU which outlines what can and cannot be done in the Royal Basseterre Valley, even if it is the same government or related Ministry.”
Primarily, the MOU ensures that there must be adequate garbage receptacles in addition to not allowing waste, fertilizers, wastewater or sewage to be leaked into the Aquifer.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Sharon Rattan said the site has been deemed critical to the welfare of the people of St Kitts and Nevis, therefore, the water source must be protected.
Rattan said, “The Ministry of Environment has recognized the value of the lands of the National Park and has sought to develop these lands in a manner that provides for the sustainable use of them, without harming the aquifer.”
The 2023 Agriculture Open Day will be held from April 27-28 while the MOU is effective until 30 April 2023.