Is Wallings Nature Reserve in Jeopardy?

5
Atwood

The future of the Wallings Nature Reserve- the country’s first community-managed national park could be in jeopardy if the management company pulls out of the project.

The project at the historic Wallings Reservoir is managed by the Wallings Nature Reserve Incorporated.

Executive Director Refica Attwood told the Observer Am show this morning this is the end of the road for her. 

“I am no longer interested in the development of the Wallings Forest area. And I say this without any fear of favor. I have done enough from 2016 to 2022. I have shown persons the potential of the area. It’s now stifling and I am physically and mentally tired. Frustrated. I have not been collecting a salary from Wallings. I have had to take up consultation jobs to ensure me and my children can survive,” Attwood said on radio Monday.

The situation stems from a back and forth with the Ministry of Agriculture about the permanent use of the facility which falls under the ministry’s responsibility.

The company has a temporary arrangement with the ministry; however, they have been working for quite some time to get something more permanent.

The matter resurfaced recently triggering this response from Attwood.

“Wallings is the first major project that the company has been doing for Antigua and Barbuda. Wallings Nature Reserve is not tied to the Wallings Forest area. We are doing the government a favour to do a tourism project,” she said.

Attwood said the constant battle from 2018 to 2022 with the ministry of agriculture is causing a major issue according to Attwood.

“The legal counsel within the ministry of agriculture went as far as to call our donors. I have been having emergency meetings with these donors because the ministry took it upon themselves to phone the donors asking what relationship they have with Wallings Nature Reserve and why are they helping the organization to grow,” Attwood explained.

Additionally, she said the government is also threatening to take legal action for a reforestation project.

An official from the Ministry says the longstanding issue over the project at Wallings is being handled by the departments legal team.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. I had the privilege to hike through the Wallings Nature Reserve down to Rendevous Bay 2 weeks ago and was very impressed by the natural beauty of the place and so proud that Antigua has something other than the beach to offer tourists.

    It would be a shame if the management company pulls out of the project because we are all too aware of what happens to tourism projects around here when our government gets too involved. The ONLY thing the government needs to provide is the necessary resources to assist the company in order to endure this project and many more like this thrive and leave the EXPERTS in the field to do their job. It’s a shame that the management company is now in such a position when this type of project is so important to the sustainability of our tourism product.

    If it’s not some fly-by-night investor promising some environmentally disastrous, mediocre hotel project on part of our pristine shone line, the government doesn’t seem very interested. The truth is, we don’t need another hotel, because quite frankly, there’s very little left of Antigua’s coastline to go around. We need to now give our full attention and resources to green tourism projects like the Wallings Nature Reserve.

    To all the workers of WNR, thank you, and keep up the good work. Don’t get tired of well-doing because your work and dedication to our island have not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.

  2. Continue the good work around the island 🏝️ don’t let Dem keep u down keep u head high one love

  3. I visited the reserve and it was awesome. I hope my unsolicited advice will be well-taken. How about allowing interested parties to give donations online? Another option may be a grant from the Caribbean Development Bank. TBH, I sent in an application last year and go no response (grr), but she may have better luck.

  4. The Wallings Nature Reserve is one of my favorite national parks with fantastic hiking trails… Please don’t shut it down. I’m willing to invest 10-15 BTC to save this project.

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