A small group of concerned citizens gathered at St. Mark’s Church, St. John, last Monday evening, to discuss the future of Conset Bay.??
This was yet another step in the Conset Bay Pilot Project, a government initiative funded by the United Nations Environment Project (UNEP) and executed by the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), University of the West Indies.
Moderator of the proceedings and lecturer at CERMES, Dr. Janice Cumberbatch, encouraged those gathered to unite, identify leaders who would continue to lobby on behalf of the interests of the collective group, and take an organised approach to addressing their challenges.??
She also encouraged members of the group to seek other funding opportunities if they wanted to take a personal interest in the project’s future.?? "I think it’s important to really get moving swiftly…we have these issues, we need to look at which of those needs to be tackled, and how quickly they can be [addressed]," she said.
Areas discussed focused on the need for community development and improving the working conditions of the fisher folk from the area, which would include the correction of drainage problems, increased work and sale space, processing facilities and the construction of stalls at the fish market; and repairs and expansion of the jetty.??
While some steps have been made towards improvement of the facility, with various departments such as the Drainage Division and the Fisheries Division participating in the effort, and the Natural Heritage Department’s donation of wheelbarrows for the transport of fish from the jetty for processing, "much still has to be done," she said.
Representatives from the Ministry of the Environment were present and took note of the queries and suggestions of the audience, which was eager to see plans for the area realised.
The project, which was launched last October and will end this month, seeks to improve land and sea resources in the area and assist fisher folk at College Savannah, St. Marks, Sealy Hall, College Bottom, Sargeant Street and Conset Bay.