National Trust respond’s to proposed elimination of government’s annual contribution

National Trust respond’s to proposed elimination of government’s annual contribution


downloadPRESS RELEASE – The Saint Lucia National Trust (“the Trust”) is now sufficiently certain that the Government of Saint Lucia Draft Estimates 2017-18 to be tabled in the House of Assembly this week proposes the reduction of the Trust’s annual subvention from $700,000 to $0, or effectively a 100% decrease.

While the Trust has not yet received any written or verbal notification of the same from either the Office of the Prime Minister, which acts as our line ministry, or the Ministry of Finance, based on the Draft Estimates which were circulated to members of the House of Assembly last week, it has become apparent that the Government wishes to take such action.

History of Trust Subvention

The Trust has enjoyed the support of Government through an annual subvention ever since it was established by Act of Parliament in 1975. Over the past 20 years, the Government’s contribution to the Trust has been $500,000, which has been put towards programmes and operations. Since 2000, this amount was further augmented by a $200,000 special annual contribution to help the Trust fund the establishment of its head offices.

This amount has thus remained steady for nearly 17 years, with the exception being Financial Year 2011-2012 when the subvention was reduced to $450,000. Notably, at the time of that reduction, there was also no notification afforded the Trust, nor was an announcement made in Parliament to that effect. In fact, the Trust discovered the reduction only after the fact. In light of this, the Trust is of the opinion that it was duty bound to inform the public and its membership of this proposed elimination of its subvention, in light of the serious implications this would have on the Trust’s finances.

Furthermore, the Trust notes with interest that it appears to be the only local institution for which a removal of subvention is being proposed in the Draft Estimates.

In 2011-12 during the last instance of a reduction in subvention, Trust operations continued smoothly given that the net reduction to our operating budget was $50,000 and this was overcome through realized increases in operating revenue.

Trust Revenue & Operations

In fact, over the past ten years, Trust revenue from operations has expanded on average by 10% per annum, which has meant that annually a shrinking proportion of total income has come from the Government subvention. However, the Government subvention still represents nearly 19% of annual income.

Last financial year, 2016-17, the Trust collected a total of $ 2.64 million, most of which being earned from operations of the Pigeon Island National Landmark (PINL). PINL annually receives over 100,000 regular visitors making it one of the most popular visitor attractions on island and it hosts over 100 events yearly, including weddings.

Furthermore, over the past decade, we have raised over $2 million in grants from regional and international organisations which has gone towards conservation work all across Saint Lucia.

Governance & Staff Concerns

The Saint Lucia National Trust directly employs 36 Saint Lucian citizens. Salaries and benefits amount to $ 1.4 million annually. PINL also generates a further 28 full-time jobs through concessionaires.

As a responsible employer, the Trust will do all within its power to avoid any retrenchment of staff. However, if the proposed elimination of subvention is realized, such a deep cut will pose serious challenges for the Trust’s operations, programmes and conservation efforts. Undoubtedly, over the past few days, Trust staff have been immensely concerned as to their job security. The Trust is indeed very proud of its staff who continue to work exceedingly hard under trying conditions.

The Trust has 1,833 members and is governed by an 11-member Council, of which 7 are elected by membership, 2 appointed by the Government and 2 appointed by the Saint Lucia Archaeological and Historical Society. It should be noted that Councillors receive no remuneration for their services, nor do members receive any monetary dividends from the Trust.

Successes & Contributions of the Trust

The Trust proudly plays a critical role as a partner for sustainable development on our island. The Trust’s mandate continues to be the conservation and sustainable use of Saint Lucia’s natural, built and cultural heritage and it will continue to advocate and work towards “championing fair Helen’s patrimony.”

The Trust manages 25 heritage sites with over 240 hectares conserved. In particular, it holds a 99-year lease of Pigeon Island and owns the Maria Islands Nature Reserve.

The Trust serves as a referral agency under the Physical Planning & Development Act at the pleasure of the Minister, but in recent times, it was removed from this function. It was a lead organisation in Saint Lucia’s achievement of establishing the Pitons Management Area as a World Heritage Site in 2004. It was one of the pioneers in the establishment of the Soufriere Regional Development Foundation, the Soufriere Marine Management Area and more recently, the creation of the National Conservation Fund. It managed on behalf of Government, the OECS Protected Areas and Livelihoods Project focusing on sustainable livelihoods in the Pointe Sable Environmental Protection Area.

The Trust has recently been more involved in built and cultural heritage conservation and has been working towards the establishment of a National Museum for Saint Lucia. In this regard, last year the Government transferred the Married Women’s Quarters’ property at Vigie to the Trust for this purpose.

Walcott Place & Grass Street Urban Enhancement Project

In 2014, the Trust commenced the first phase of an approximately $16 million Walcott Place & Grass Street Urban Enhancement Project which was geared at creating a world-class cultural attraction in Castries, centred about the childhood home of Derek and Roderick Walcott. This project was expected to create up to 40 jobs once fully operational.

Regrettably, the Trust notes that the Government’s contribution to the Walcott Place & Grass Street Urban Enhancement Project, which was the balance of a $7.5 million grant from the Republic of China (Taiwan), has been discontinued.

Pigeon Island Redevelopment Project

Further, the Trust had received planning approval for a $6.6 million redevelopment of the Pigeon Island National Landmark. This includes restoration of ruins to provide for its head office, a conference/reception facility, a new restaurant, a gift shop, an interpretation centre and a gate house.

This redevelopment would have propelled the Trust into greater financial sustainability, while creating further sustainable employment for Saint Lucians. This was to have been funded in part by a $2.5 million loan from the National Insurance Corporation (NIC) and moneys accumulated in the Trust’s Headquarters’ Fund.

The Trust is also concerned that it appears the Government may hold a differing development philosophy for the PINL and as such, it has not allowed for the Trust to borrow from the NIC. The elimination of the subvention will also mean that the annual $200,000 support towards this project would no longer be available.

Conclusions & Way Forward

In conclusion, the Saint Lucia National Trust believes the proposed zeroing of its annual subvention is an unprecedented, unjustified and exceedingly unfortunate measure, given the Trust’s record as Saint Lucia’s leading quasi-governmental institution for conservation. It will also greatly stymy the Trust’s efforts in heritage conservation.

In this regard, the Trust urges all members of Parliament to insist on the reinstatement of its normal subvention for 2017-18.

In the interim, the Trust will continue to carefully study the implications of this proposal and options available to it within the short term if this proposal is enacted.

As such, the Trust will be hosting an emergency membership meeting at 1:00pm on Saturday 29 April at the Pigeon Island National Landmark to discuss these matters.

The Trust will also seek the support of its international partners, civil society and the entire Saint Lucian populace, home and abroad to advocate on its behalf.

The Trust, therefore, strongly urges the Government of Saint Lucia to amend its position in the national interest. As always, the Trust stands ready to meet with the Government and seeks urgent dialogue on the matter, particularly given that it was given no opportunity to offer advice on this matter.

Finally, the Trust wishes to thank our members, partners, friends, clients, and associates for their continued support, business and patronage.

The Saint Lucia National Trust remains committed to its mandate as a responsible agent for the conservation of Saint Lucia’s patrimony and we urge all Saint Lucians to “Love oh love, our island home.”


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  1. When the government is afraid of the people, you have Democracy but when the people are afraid of the government, you have a dictatorship on your hands.

    -Author unknown.

    Let God be God and every man a liar!


  2. The St. Lucia National Trust Act, a legal creature of the Government of St. Lucia whose creation received Assention on 26th September, 1975:

    4. the objects of the Trust shall be –
    (a) the listing of buildings, objects and monuments of
    prehistoric, historic and architectural interest and places of
    natural beauty with their animal and plant life;
    (b) the listing of objects of prehistoric, historic and
    archeological interests;
    (c) the compilation of photographic and architectural records of
    the above;
    (d) to locate and to promote the preservation of buildings and
    objects of archaeological architectural, historic, artistic or
    traditional interest and the establishment of museums;
    (e) to promote and preserve for the benefit and enjoyment of
    the State of submarine and subterranean areas of beauty or
    natural or historic interest and to preserve (as far as
    possible) their natural aspect, features, animals and plant
    (f) to list the flora and fauna in the areas mentioned in
    paragraph (e) and to promote their conservation;
    (g) to make the public aware of the value and beauty of the
    State’s heritage as set out above;
    (h) to pursue a policy of preservation, and to act in an advisory
    (i) to acquire property for the benefit of the State;
    (j) to attract funds by means of subscription, donations,
    bequests and grants for the execution of the above objects:
    (k) to administer the Trust property for the furtherance and
    achievement of the above objects ;

    2. In this Act –
    “the Council” means the Council of the Trust
    established by this Act;
    “Minister” means the Minister responsible for subject of
    National Trust;


    --- 3(1)
    --- 4
    --- 12
    --- 16(1)
    --- 17

    The SLNT has had several years to get publicly involved in fostering dialogue on these projects/

    Where had they been all these years, unseen and unheard, yet expending their yearly budget allocation on who-knows-what?

    By playing screaming-chicken-come-lately on this issue, they have lost most of their credit, much to the damage of those on both sides that you have been very happy to simply "Listen more to understand, don't just listen to wait to be able to respond. And please don't try and explain to me how a few Ph.D. students and grads from Country Club U who don't understand the complex mixture of non-liner socio-economic factors at play are ever going to understand, never mind an analysis and provided the needed value-added on this project to date.


    • Visit the Trust office at Pigeon Point to learn it's accomplishments because you are blissfully unaware of the cataloging and records of the organization.


    • Since as you were smart enough to go to there website for the act why didn't you look at all the projects they have been doing over the years to fulfill their mandate!
      In less than 5 minutes I came across one of their newsletters which show how they have been fulfilling their mandate:
      I have also seen and heard some of these very articles in the media. Hell yes more can be done, but when people like you try to discredit the work of the Trust it is clear that you have an ulterior motive! Why dont you become a member and contribute to their work...from their Press Release they only have 36 staff I think, only 36 to manage sites, write proposals, implement projects that promote jobs which rely on the sustainable use of our natural resources ( They can not do it alone...that is why they encourage people to join as members to help implement their work. I really don't care if you didnt want a response but fortunately SLU online provides an avenue for people to respond to nonsense when it's spewed!


  3. What about all the money you made from the JAzz festival you need to be open and speak the truth, you and your so call trust directors after you have been paid for use of the pigeon island are entitle to free tickets is that fare, what have you done for all the nature reserves in Gros Islet, you only concentrate on Pigeon Island because that is where you make all your monies, for several years there has been no upgrades there was a museum what happended to it? .

    Such utter non sence you talk about dolphins you had two peacocks in captivity.

    You charge local $2000.00 to use the beach for an event, what is the funds raised being used for. I see
    no improvements.

    You have just turned the trust into a Political organization of the st. Lucia labour Party.


    • I think you should beef up your comprehension skills. The press release clearly states that they earned 2.64 million dollars from operations of the pigeon island national landmark. I don't know what the word "operations" means to you... however I assume that the income from the jazz festival is included in that figure. Additionally I believe that it would be very declasse of them to release information regarding the amount of money they are paid for any specific event....but that's just my opinion.


  4. We in VFort need to form our own Foundation. When we have the mangrove and the islet as eco-tourism like the sulphur spring all that money will go toward the foundation for the development of VFort and not the SLNT.


  5. I is another sad day in the history of our island . We have and continue to be proud of the work the National Trust have been doing. And now our PM is playing politics and some of you are saying the Trust is political. Members of both parties are part of the National trust and even the "upper class" known to be strong UWP supporters said no. Citizens let us protect what is ours even if we have to disagree with the party we put in office. Sad to say we were warned about your temperament Mr PM by your own people and now sad to say i see that behaviour loud and clear and it saddens the hope i saw in you. Sad day


  6. Damn the PM eh even say he'll cut half? De man take everything, I thought Kenny was a dictator but awa


  7. The day our people recognize and appreciate the importance of preserving a national treasure such as Pigeon Island will be too late. It will be the day our honourable prime minister decides to hand over this historical national park to his buddy Mr. St***** to expand his chain of hotels. Sounds implausible? ... Well I must inform you that it is alleged that our prime minister has in the past, announced his intention to strip away some of these assets and entrust them to other entities he believes will make "better use" of them. I truly hope that that day never comes for the sake of our future generations. Wake up my people! Wake up!


  8. The formality inherent in this letter is the same formality which should have preceded and encapsulated all activities of the national trust as not only an entity of respect, but one which uses the tax payer funds of St. Lucia. For the trust to have descended to the low of allowing itself to descended into the muck of politics, but even worse, being seen as an appendage of the SLP is disgraceful to the point that the entire management should resign. Did the trust not understand that Calixte George Junior cannot be the face of any movement, especially the national trust. Calixte George Junior Cant be the face of his own political party, far-less for the trust. In fact, this entire issue would have easily been handled by a letter like this and a press release stating the position of the Trust on the issue. Why the row row? Did you not understand that Chas would find out about the behind the scenes wranglings? Internal Memos? Phone calls? Are you acting like a trust or a political Arm? The trust is more than able to fund itself. You can do so and still serve your purpose. Do that! But need to come out with another press statement and more useless action. The trust needs to grow up! Act like a real organization. Ac independently!


    • When will Saint Lucian's learn to stop being political in their thinking. Everybody seems to be forgetting that National Trust gave the former government hell for Le Paradis and Freedom Bay in Soufriere. Or maybe they weren't listening because their "party" was not being attacked at the time! Or perhaps the other party was more open to dialogue! A lot to think about!


  9. There is mindset on the island, that because one opposes a particular position from a party, that one is supporting the other party. Such is the stupidity and asinine atmosphere that comes from home. One can oppose on philosophical grounds or even expert knowledge. Sorry to say, the quality of representative has slowly declined over the years. I lived in St. Lucia in the time of Odlum. Look at some of the representatives, a couple of them can't string 5 words together using proper grammar. It's a case of garbage in, garbage out. Want proof? Listen to the debates. Enough to make a RC school boy vomit.

    I believe Chastenet has it twisted. His vengeful act against an organisation like the Trust (40+ years) exposes his sheer stupidity. It may be gold dust to the party hardcore who rely on favors and handouts. However, it does not detract from his mismanagement foibles. Pigeon Island belongs to the people. It's a place where they enjoy nature, their history and immerse in their inheritance. Just like any American or British national park.
    Chastenet's dim-witted idea, to place his dolphin circus in our national park was bound to meet with opposition. Notwithstanding that those dolphin circuses are a dying breed. Society is gradually frowning on that kind of activity. Somebody better explain what is a national park to some St. Lucians. God forbids if someone actually Googles it.


  10. P'haps SLNT does not have a proper system of accounts, and Govt is not helping it to put its house in order to its own benefit. But if the preservation of rare and old, no, ancient, trees comes within the perimeter of their duties, SLNT has recently demonstrated negligence that beggars belief. SLNT stood by and silently looked on as the former Town Clerk in Castries hewed down the huge vintage tree which stood at the door of the Botanical Gardens on Darling Road. ... And even as we speak the huge vintage tree next to Monroe College in Vide Bouteille is bring hewed down, without a word of caution or disapproval from SLNT. The Govt probably thought that they are not really doing their job, just eating easy money.


    • The trees which were cut in town were rottened. And the Trust has no say what happens on private property. Before you speak know the FACTS...


  11. I always called Chastanet and his bunch of clowns vindictive but I never thought they would so openly show their true colours. The SLNT is an organisation which was created to act on behalf of stake holders to preserve our patrimony. Lots of energy through hard work and genuine love is invested in the preservation of our heritage, our history. It would be a shame if such a prized possession was squandered away with no regard. A time when international public opinion have seen the closure of many facilities where sea mammals are held in captivity for human entertainment (Sea-world in Orlando Florida being the latest to announced its decision to close) invest our timeless capital in such a venture would be nothing short of reckless.

    That's not all for it seems because of its opposition to that stupidity the Chastanet government have decided to with hold the financial it (SLNT) received from the state for the up keep of itself. This is par la veway right across the face for democracy. When this "big well-there-there" finishes with the Island what will be left is an empty shell. It will have become a zombie!


  12. So you sit on the most valuable piece of land (Pigeon Island) and are not able since 1975 (!) to make enough money out of it to cover your cost?


    • It does not only manage and conserve Pigeon Island. I think it would be important for you to educate yourself before making such bigoted statements.
      The trust manages maria island, Grand Anse beach, Fond D'or, The mangrove as well as general conservation activities throughout the length and breadth of Saint Lucia.


    • Do you have a single ounce of understanding regarding the magnitude of the work the national trust takes on? Based on your comment, it would not be unreasonable of me to say No! You should take the time to research the work of this organization like I did. Stay informed!


    "We do not inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children"

    Sir Derek Walcott said;

    I watched the doomed acres
    where yet another luxury hotel will be built
    with ordinary people fenced out. THE NEW MAKERS
    THAT WILL MAKE THE ISLAND A MALL, and the breakers
    grin like waiters, like taxi drivers, THESE NEW PLANTATIONS
    BY THE SEA; A SLAVERY WITHOUT CHAINS, with no blood spilt—
    just chain-link fences and signs, the new degradations.


  14. Well, I am not surprised... They want to dismantle the trust so that they can go ahead with their plans.


  15. SLNT singing a very different song now........they sounding very humble and wayyyyy less political.


    • Oh boy some people are so clueless!!!! National Trust has never been political! When SLP was trying to do their shit with Freedom Bay in Soufriere, the National Trust challenged them the same way!!!!!! Thanks to the National Trust your World Heritage Site is still famous around the world and didn't get blacklisted because of the foolishness of the last government! But at least they did not victimize the National Trust.


      • The Trust did play politics and they handled the Freedom Bay issue very different to how they handled this one. Why is that?


        • Because a the former Party agreed to have the Limits of Acceptable Change Study done for the Piton and it was done and the developer resubmitted their plans based on the recommendations made! If they did not agree then the National Trust would have made noise the same way!!!!! It's all about the nature of the beast that you deal with!

          Stop listening to propaganda and join the Trust and you will be surprised to know all what you don't know about your country!!


  16. sT.LUCIANS learn from this slave master, obey my rules or i cut u off. ridiculous play politics with everything. NO DOLPHIN PARK!!!!!!!


    • Well apparently the wait wasn't too long because the PM himself confirmed that it has been cut on the radio.


    • Waiting for the budget will be too late. Once a budget is passed, it is the law of the land, until a supplementary budget could be passed in a subsequent sitting of Parliament.

      You want SLNT employees to wait all that time without salaries? Ridiculous.


  17. I hope that I am wrong but this action seems to have all of Guy Joseph's finger prints . I think he gave those instructions to Allen Chastnet . This fellah is as wicked as they come. Remember the repossession sheriff and the holding back of the contractors wages ? You just start to cry , there is a lot more crying to come .


    • So wait. Does that mean that any organisation that gets money from the Government can't speak out? So Sports Associations need to be quiet. NYC needs to be quiet on youth matters. FRC can't advocate for their business. Wow. Let's kill democracy!


    • Moral of the story, elect a government with morals. People should not be afraid to speak out against corruption.


    • Nonesense! Is this a dictatorship? We must all toe the Chastanet line or else?
      People of St. Lucia, we need to take action to nip this behaviour in the bud.


      • Ha Ha. For some salaries are quite a bit higher....They are all over social media supporting their party prior to and after June 6.
        Labour has planted their grubby fifth columnists in there on the public teat.
        Pigeon point is a disgrace compared to other Caribbean landmarks. Obscene mismanagement of the subvention, rentals and admission fees is keeping back a national park that could be invigorating the Gros Islet area.


        • You perhaps had a little too much bounty with lunch. I suggest you do some research before you spew garbage all over the place.


    • Apparently, the accounting skills of a lot of Saint Lucians are very poor. Sad!! Who said all of this goes to salaries. Every company has operating costs/overheads, electricity, water for tourist to bath, telephone, fax, vehicles to maintain the 14 properties, loans ................................


  18. The SLNT are Hypocrites,when they say oh Allan Chastanet want to destroy pigeon point by building a Dolphin Park.Now look a 6.6 million Redevelopment of pigeon Island National Landmark. ...Including a restoration of Ruins to provide for its head office.Okay.A conference and Reception Facility a Restaurant and Gift Shop.A Interpretation Center and a Gate House.So how are these things happening if you dont have to disrupt Mother Nature and how many people youll can employ.At the SLNT.


    • Are you listening to yourself? They're trying to restore the ruins, not destroy them! They're showing that they already had plans to improve Pigeon Island but Allen just has his own Dolphin Park agenda!


    • Oh boy. They say ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it! I wonder what they say about ignorance of the issues!!!! I think the best thing to do when you don't know everything about an issue is to SHUT UP or do your research properly from the right sources!!! That 6.6 million dollar project has been proposed and publicized for at least 4 years now!


  19. Chastanet is really wicked boy. All because there is opposition to his dream Park. Then again, isn't that what St lucia wanted? Take it.


  20. The SLNT should account for all these monies. That is a a whole lot of money to pay salaries to 28 persons and 16 million for the Walcott place. I smell a stinking rat!


    • You hacks really need to think before you bray. Government spends $490 million for 9000 jobs. That's over $50,000 per salary on average! SMH.


    • The SLNT accounts for its monies annually through Annual Reports. These reports are no secret and are submitted to Parliament as per the legal statute.

      Please do your research before you bray!


    • Can you believe that people can be so ignorant!!!! Apparently it seems National Trust Staff all work from home and the park and all the other sites maintain themselves because all their money goes into paying salaries and they have no overheads. WOWWW!!!!


    • The Ministers should also account for how they spend the Tax payers monies that they live off lavishly when they travel!!!!! I rather my money stay in country than go globe trotting. Talk about cut back, that's the first place they should start!!!


  21. So the National Trust is preserving our heritage as it is meant too and Chastanet playing big balls because they disagree with his stupid ideas. I do not want SLP back in that government but it seems Chastanet trying his best to make it so. never seen a man so determined to cut short his time in office except perhaps the Vieux fort rep who was PM and thought that it was the boys over nation at all cost! see where he is now Chasntanet. those who dont learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.


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