Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 20, 2019 (SKNIS): The project, “Preventing the COSTS of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) in Barbados and the OECS, which was launched in St. Kitts and Nevis on Tuesday, March 19, was welcomed by the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Agriculture et al as it would assist the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis in managing some of its more impacting invasive species such as the Green Vervet monkey.
Minister Hamilton described the launch as auspicious because it addresses one of the fundamental challenges which persons within the agriculture sector face.
“St. Kitts and Nevis would be undertaking a monkey management pilot project with a view to ascertain the economic impact of Vervet monkeys on agriculture, tourism and households in St. Kitts and Nevis, validate capture techniques for Vervet monkeys under local conditions, and also evaluate the feasibility of cost recovery mechanisms for sustainably managing the monkey population, and to produce a management plan to guide future Vervet monkey control programmes,” said Minister Hamilton.
The minister noted that coming out of the project the expectations of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis are three-fold.
“[we expect to see] a reduction in the IAS threats to terrestrial and marine biodiversity, control and management of targeted local hotspots being adversely impacted by IAS, and collaboration among member states in tackling IAS from a regional standpoint,” he said.
Minister Hamilton noted that the project took four years to develop and received the input from a wide range of national stakeholders and multi-sectoral partners, adding that it was extremely important to involve the private sector as government cannot do it alone.
“I can assure you that while government may have a huge set of resources, no government at all can take care of some of these challenges by itself and so individuals will have to get involved—private sector has to get involved in dealing with issues facing our countries,” said Minister Hamilton.
He placed on record government’s profound gratitude to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for funding the initiative, as well as expressed thanks to the Centre for Agriculture & Bioscience International (CABI) and all other development partners for the crucial role they continue to play as St. Kitts and Nevis strives for sustainable development.
The IAS project will run for a period of three years and seven countries will be participating in the regional aspect of the project. These include Barbados, Antigua &Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and St. Kitts-Nevis. In addition to St. Kitts-Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda and Barbados will be executing invasive alien species pilot projects within their respective territories.
Melvin James, Director of Agriculture, and Eavin Parry, Environmental Scientist in the Department of Environment are the Co-National Project Coordinators. Naitram Ramnanan serves as the Regional Project Coordinator and representative for CABI. He has been instrumental in project development and execution and has provided significant support to St. Kitts and Nevis.