PRESS RELEASE – Local film producer Darnel Kendal John won first place in the regional Invasive Alien Species Short Video Competition as part of the culminating finale of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded project “Mitigating the Threat of Invasive Alien Species in the Insular Caribbean”.
The competition organisers primarily sought for short clips with (1) the ability to raise general awareness of IAS in the Caribbean and (2) the potential to change behavior and encourage active participation in IAS Management.
Further points were awarded for broad Caribbean appeal, quality of video production, and adherence to the rules of the competition.
The jury of IAS experts from five Caribbean countries, the USA and Kenya felt that Kendal John nailed these judging criteria in his five-minute contribution entitled “Aliens Among Us”.
John obtained an impressive 90 percent overall score. Second place went to Jamaican Kerona Spence for “Eco Invasion: Lionfish in Jamaica” and third place to Armando Larrauri (Dominican Republic) for “Turning our Backs to the Ocean”.
Last year, John produced an IAS documentary that was broadcast on Calabash TV, HTS and NTN.
This award-winning video can be viewed either on YouTube (http://youtu.be/VHMQByTD6NE) or local TV.
Invasive alien species (IAS) are plants, animals or micro-organisms that are not native to a specific ecosystem and whose introduction threatens biodiversity, food security, health or economic development.
They are among the top three threats to ecosystems, together with habitat destruction and climate change. Saint Lucians are feeling the impact of IAS, such as giant African snail, red palm mite and the lionfish on a daily basis.
Few residents are aware how their very own actions can cause or stop IAS invasions: live plant and animal material should never be imported (or exported) without the necessary permits, as laypersons are unable to detect the microscopic threats that can hitch a ride on a few plant seeds and even popular palm, frond or artefacts.
Smuggled ornamental plants can turn invasive in their own right, often after decades of inconspicuous behaviour. Similarly, unwanted pets should never be released, or allowed to escape, into the wild, where they can harm native flora and fauna.
The Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology congratulates John on winning the regional Invasive Alien Species Short Video Competition.