Officials from the Barbados Coastal Zone Management Unit have been providing technical assistance to their St. Lucian counterparts as that country prepares to establish a similar unit.

A five-member delegation, led by St. Lucia’s Environment Minister, Richard Frederick, recently visited Barbados as guests of the Barbados Coastal Zone Management Unit to observe best practices as it relates to policy, physical planning and coastal engineering.  While St. Lucia currently has a Coastal Zone Officer in place, they are yet to have a designated unit.

In addressing the visiting delegation, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Environment, Water Resources and Drainage, Lionel Weekes, pledged Barbados’ continued commitment to providing technical cooperation to sister territories in the Caribbean, through the existing CARICOM arrangement.

“We see it as a situation of mutual cooperation in the sense of Barbados being able to render technical assistance to other Caribbean territories and other Caribbean territories being able to render technical assistance to us,” he noted.

Deputy Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit, Dr.Lorna Inniss, described this type of collaboration as “critical”.

“The absence of this level of collaboration would make integrated ocean and coastal management virtually impossible because each country would be doing a little bit to improve the management of the Caribbean sea as a whole.  But really, what you need is an integrated management of all the countries that border the Caribbean Sea, because it is a single sea,” she surmised.

Dr. Inniss noted that the Coastal Zone Management Unit, had, for the past few years, been promoting this type of collaboration within the region.

“Barbados has really taken the lead in trying to advance that type of collaboration through the Caribbean Sea designation as a special area in the context of sustainable development. I believe that it would take us a long way forward if we can get that designation. Then it would be incumbent on all the countries that border the Caribbean Sea to come together and work collaboratively to decide how they would manage the sea for economic development as well as for its own conservation.”

In addition to talks with Coastal Zone, the Town and Country Planning Office and the Environmental Protection Department, the group also toured a number of Coastal Infrastructure Programme (CIP) sites along the island’s west, south and southeast coasts including the BDS $ 18.3 million Rockley to Coconut Court Boardwalk Project.

The St. Lucia delegation also included Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Physical Development, the Environment, Housing, Urban Renewal and Local Government, Hildreth Lewis; Coastal Zone Management Officer, Laverne Walker; Crown Lands Officer, Portia St. Catherine and Chief Physical Planning Officer, Marion Francis-Henry.

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