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Fort George to be restored

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The Grenada National Trust is pleased to be able to announce that, now there is some real movement towards the restoration of Fort George and the opening up of its potential as a tourist attraction for the island.

We all know that St George’s and her forts are wonderful. St George’s and the Carenage must be two of the most beautiful of the towns and harbours in the Caribbean, if not the world. Surely, we all deplore the failure to tap their potential for earning tourism dollars and the acceptance of the slow erosion of the island’s history and heritage. These, once lost can never be replaced.

Of all the forts on the island, and there are a lot, Fort George is the biggest and most important. It is also right in the heart of the tourist area. As such it probably deserves to receive first priority status when money is available. And money is available. Several million dollars are being given by the World Bank for the development of the tourist attraction potential of Fort George.

That’s good but the works to Fort George should not be undertaken without any reference to the fort’s relationship to the Town of St George and the other forts, most notably forts Matthew and Frederick. In this regard it is good to hear that the work will be undertaken within the guidelines established in the [David] Lesterhuis Report.

This excellent document was produced in 2004, and despite the passage of time (15 years) and Hurricane Ivan, remains relevant today. The report was commissioned by UNESCO and prepared for the Government of Grenada to facilitate the listing of St George’s fortified system as a World Heritage Site. There can be little argument that having the forts and the town listed as World Heritage Sites would be a good thing. It would be a massive tourist attraction and so bring in large amounts of tourist dollars, create jobs, directly and indirectly, educate Grenadians in their heritage and teach skills in the tourism and construction industries.

These things are only the tip of a financial iceberg. By demonstrating that Grenada takes its heritage serious and cares for it properly, more funding dollars will flow in … free money that will further enhance tourism, employment and the island’s economy generally. The Lesterhuis Report was an excellent first step along this road. Of course, it is easy to say that the second, third and fourth are long overdue but the appointment of INES, a firm of consultant engineers specialising in the conservation work that Fort George needs, could be what is so desperately needed.

It’s good too that Grenadians are not being sidelined. It is our island, our culture, our heritage, our past and our future. Stakeholders will be consulted and they will be invited to form a working group to participate in the design process and realisation of works.

Did I hear, “What about the police?” Yes, they are to be progressively moved out of the fort as part of this exercise.

Grenada National Trust

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