Dear members, well-wishers and the general public,
I bring you greetings on the occasion of the Saint Lucia National Trust’s 45th anniversary. The organization was brought into being on September 26, 1975 by persons who had a vision for an organization that will protect Saint Lucia’s heritage and seek always to find the balance between development and heritage management. This vision is proving to be more relevant and even more challenging in the environment we find ourselves in today.
Over the past 45 years the Trust has grown from the initial idea out of which it was born into a resilient organization with a growing membership base and widespread recognition both at home and abroad, for our steadfast pursuit of our mandate. But the road has not always been easy to navigate. More and more, we find ourselves at odds with our own government, whose responsibility it is to protect the nation’s patrimony, and who created the Trust to do this on its behalf. One of our prime responsibilities is to ensure that developers, even while seeking to optimize their bottom line, respect and conserve our heritage assets. Our approach has always been to engage developers to seek common ground, but we are prepared always, to advocate against the unsustainable actions of developers (including those of the government), when such dialogue fails. We take the opportunity of our 45th anniversary observance, to thank our members and the general public for the guidance and support we continue to receive as we seek to ensure that development of our country is sustainable and our heritage continues to be conserved for future generations.
This anniversary has come with significant challenges to the sustainability of the Saint Lucia National Trust. As we were getting ready to roll out our new Strategic Plan (2020-2030), COVID-19 decimated our income streams and this, coupled with the loss of government support, has placed the organization in a precarious financial position. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the likelihood that there will not be a return to normalcy for some time to come, has forced us to focus our attention on the organization’s financial future. Our staff’s efforts are now divided between our conservation work, financial stability and intense advocacy work, consistent with our mandate. I thank them for their steadfast dedication to the Trust.
Notwithstanding our current challenges, we face the future knowing that your support will see us through these turbulent times. I take this opportunity to appeal for your continued support for our advocacy work and, of utmost importance at this time, to ensure the financial survival of the Trust.