Pressure continues to mount on Minister of Public Infrastructure, Post, Urban Development, and Transport Ian “Patches” Liburd for an explanation about his about face, in less than a five year period, in relation to his government’s proposed plan to build the new Basseterre High School on the Basseterre Aquifer.
The Hon Ian Patches Liburd, who was the Basseterre Valley Aquifer Project Manager, charged with the responsibility of protecting this critical aquifer and well field, is now championing the total destruction of the vital natural water resource.
In 2008, Liburd headed The Global Environment Facility funded Integrated Watershed and Coastal Areas Management (IWCAM) demonstration project in the Basseterre Valley Watershed (BVW), which was aimed at demonstrating the proper management and protection of a critical aquifer and well-field through a parallel process of mitigating threats from contaminants; on-the-ground protection through specific management activities; and improved user-resource management through the establishment of a management regime in the form of a national park.
The Project Management Unit of the Basseterre Valley Aquifer Project was established in 2008, and the appropriate geological surveys conducted in June 2009.
In a June 25, 2010 article printed in the St Kitts and Nevis Observer, under the headline: “The Basseterre Valley Aquifer Churning Toward Conservation” by Alecia Daniel-Blake, Mr Ian “Patches” Liburd is quoted as stating: “Cabinet approved the seeking of funds for Phase II from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other agencies for financial and technical support.”
Mr Ian Liburd, Basseterre Valley Aquifer Project Manager further noted that initial discussions have already taken place with Rob Weary, Senior Policy Advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean pertaining to financial support from The Nature Conservancy which is expected to become available by January 01, 2011.
The article further quotes Mr Ian “Patches” Liburd as stating: “The implementation steps for the legislation for the establishment of the park, protected area and park trust have already been researched.”
Mr Liburd continued: “I foresee everything going forward in the near future, particularly considering that the protection of the aquifer and establishment of the park are of major concern to the government.”
Since the government revealed plans to construct on the treasured water source, there has been significant opposition to the project.
Many argue that the government needs to be proactive in their addressing of a dwindling natural water source for an increasing population.
The Basseterre Valley Aquifer is the largest groundwater source in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. It provides over 40% of the potable water supply for St. Kitts and is a major driver for economic and social development of St. Kitts and Nevis.