The National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands celebrated its 60th anniversary on July 31st.
Director of the National Parks Trust (NPT) Dr. Cassander Titley-O’Neal said via a virtual ceremony to mark the event that the Trust and its responsibilities have grown tremendously during the last six decades.
“Formed in 1961 the mandate to preserve and manage the natural and cultural areas in order to improve the quality of life in the British Virgin Islands, the Trust was established under the national parks ordinance of 1961. As an establishment, we were created as a statutory body that is responsible for parks and protected areas,” she stated.
She continued: “Over the years, the NPT has grown from a voluntary organization to one that is now professionally staffed. Our responsibilities have also increased from managing one national park, which was Sage Mountain in 1964, to managing 21 national parks. It is anticipated that more parks will be declared in the future.”
Dr. Titley-O’Neal informed that the work of the NPT include species restoration, marine conservation, reforestation, biodiversity research and conservation, environmental education and historical preservation.
She said the board of directors collaborate closely with the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, as well as other departments of government like the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, Survey Department, among others, to fulfil its mandate.
She also observed a moment of silence for those that have succumbed in the last few weeks, especially Mr. Bertrand Lettsome, a past board member and the brainchild of the BVI Environmental Atlas, which the NPT launched in 2020.
Governor John Rankin
, Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie
, Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Hon. Vincent Wheatley also delivered congratulatory remarks to the NPT on their milestone.