STATEMENT BY THE HONOURABLE VINCENT WHEATLEY
MINISTER FOR NATURAL RESOURCES, LABOUR & IMMIGRATION
NINTH SITTING OF THE THIRD SESSION OF THE FOURTH HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
THURSDAY, 12TH AUGUST, 2021
National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands’ 60th Anniversary
Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands, for achieving their most recent milestone, of reaching their 60th anniversary. The National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands has played, and continues to play a vital role in the sustainability of the natural resources and the environment of these Virgin Islands. The invaluable work that they do day-in and day-out to preserve and protect our environment does not go unnoticed. Preserving, conserving, enhancing and managing the natural resources of our Territory is no easy feat. It is very important now, more than ever, to advance the conservation of the native flora and fauna while securing local and international funding for this invaluable work to continue.
Mr. Speaker, Government has increased the subvention afforded to the Trust to conduct its work in 2021 as a recognition of the importance and vital services rendered. The Trust has not rested on its laurels. In the midst of the pandemic, the Trust has had its fair share of financial hardship, yet it continues to find innovative ways to remain viable, by applying and securing grants and donations from persons and institutions that share the love for our precious environment. The National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands is the second oldest Trusts in the Caribbean region. It also boasts a long-term partnership with dive operators and charter companies, through the Marine Conservation Programme.
Mr. Speaker, since 1992, the Trust has installed mooring balls that serve to prevent anchor- damage at dive sites. Without the network of balls, coral reefs and other marine areas that are essential to our biodiversity would be destroyed. This shining example of private and public partnership supports our tourism industry directly and serves to ensure that corals are conserved. Protecting and preserving our environment is everyone’s business and we should all do our part to ensure that this precious environment that we all share will still be healthy and thriving not just for our generation, but for generations to come.
Mr. Speaker we need to support the NPTVI as much as we can, to safeguard our natural resources. I am committed to this great little nation that we call nature’s little secret, please join the NPTVI and I and show BVILOVE as we forge ahead doing the invaluable work that must be done to safeguard our natural resources and by extension, the future of these Virgin Islands.
I thank you.