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Prince Harry lauds SVG on turtle conservation efforts

Prince Harry lauds SVG on turtle conservation efforts

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“What you’ve achieved in such a short space of time and what you hope to achieve from January next year and onward is such a huge, huge thing!”

These were the words of His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales (Prince Harry) last Saturday, November 26, as he briefly addressed an audience at Colonarie Beach, when he paid a one-day visit to St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“If St Vincent can take that leadership for turtle conservation and encourage more people to come from all over the world to come and see your leatherbacks here on the beach or the green turtles on the other side… I think you’re proving to everyone else that there is a way, and it is very possible,” he enthused.{{more}}

Prince Harry noted that while many islands in the region are trying to enforce a similar complete ban on turtle hunting, most of them are far behind what SVG has just achieved.

He continued: “The easy bit is… changing the law. The hardest bit is getting the young people and the fishermen and the poachers to take set of the differences.”

Addressing the younger persons in the audience, he pressed upon them the importance of them understanding the need for conservation efforts.

“You are the next generation. You are the ones who are going to have to get everybody else to understand how important turtles are for the diversity of the whole island but also for the sea as well.

“This is now your responsibility. You think you’re too young now; you’re not.”

At Colonarie Beach, the Prince also presented awards and tokens to schoolchildren who had taken part in local essay and art competitions based on turtle conservation and protecting the environment.

The turtle conservation project in SVG is being funded by the SVG Preservation Fund and implemented by the National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

In addition to his visit to Colonarie Beach, Prince Harry also attended a welcome ceremony at the Kingstown Cruise Ship Terminal Pier in the morning, where he was received by the Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne and Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and several other local dignitaries.

He also inspected the Guard then drove though the compound, where he was greeted by several uniformed groups such as the Girl Guides, Brownies, Scouts, Cubs and Pathfinders, among others.

From there, he journeyed to the Botanic Gardens – the oldest tropical garden in the Western Hemisphere – where he was greeted and shown around by Gordon Shallow, the garden’s curator.

He also visited the Nichols Wildlife Complex; planted a baobab tree; then was treated to several cultural performances by schoolchildren and the juniors from the Starlift Steel Orchestra.

At the Vermont Nature Trail, Prince Harry was met by Central Water and Sewerage Authority (CWSA) general manager Garth Saunders and public relations manager Joan Ryan, who showed him around the Dalla­way Water Catchment Facility.

He also travelled through a section of the Nature Trail, where he was informed by forestry officers about the Forestry Division’s conservation efforts, before unveiling a plaque dedicating the Vermont Nature Trail to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.

On the return from Vermont Nature Trail, Prince Harry made a brief visit to a local shop in the village of Vermont, where he spoke with members of a community group involved in forest conservation. He was also presented with a gift basket of local fruits and locally produced items.

Before he arrived at Colonarie Beach for the unveiling of a plaque dedicating the beach as a turtle sanctuary, he made a stop at the Argyle International Airport, where he was met by Dr Rudy Matthias, chief executive officer of the International Airport Development Company, and other officials.

At Colonarie Beach, His Royal Highness was met by chief fisheries officer Jennifer Howard and Louise Mitchell-Joseph, project leader of the turtle conservation thrust.

Before departing SVG, Prince Harry was the guest of honour at a cocktail reception held at the Cruise Ship Terminal. There he presented certificates to gold awardees in the Duke of Edinburgh scheme; met with Queen’s Young Leaders Kenville Horne and Dillon Ollivierre; and received a portrait painting of his likeness from local artist Calvert Jones. (JSV)

  • See Searchlight’s Facebook page for more pictures of the Prince’s visit.

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