Dr. David Doyle, Ambassador of St. Kitts-Nevis to UNESCO (left) and Mr. Malcolm Govia, former employee of the Hansen Home (right) standing at the front entrance of Charles Fort. Photo by Cameron Gill
On Saturday 3rd August 2013 (the Saturday of the Emancipation weekend) Dr. David P. Doyle, Ambassador of St. Kitts and Nevis to UNESCO, visited Charles Fort, a large coastal fortification located close to the base of Brimstone Hill. Ambassador Doyle was accompanied on this, his first visit to the site, by Mr. Malcolm Govia, former Senior Attendant at the Hansen Home leper asylum which occupied the fort from the 1890’s to the 1980’s and Mr. Cameron Gill, General Manager of the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Society and UNESCO Focal Point for St. Kitts and Nevis.
The ambassador’s visit to Charles Fort came about as a result of his stated desire, during a meeting of the UNESCO National Commission on Thursday 25 July, to see for himself the site which is being proposed for inclusion on the National Tentative List of potential World Heritage Sites. After a Saturday morning spent on an adventurous and informative tour, led by Mr. Govia, of the expansive seventeenth century fort, Ambassador Doyle was left in no doubt of Charles Fort’s potential as a World Heritage Site. The ambassador was particularly impressed when it was pointed out to him by the UNESCO Focal Point that unlike most other fortifications in the Caribbean (including even massive fortresses like El Morro in Puerto Rico and Brimstone Hill Fortress) which started out as simple defences that were expanded and in many cases rebuilt over time, Charles Fort, whose construction commenced in 1670, was planned comprehensively from the beginning as an extensive and full enclosed fortification. This fort saw little major structural modification after it was completed; therefore, the existing structure is possible older than any other surviving historic fort in the Eastern Caribbean.
The ambassador has expressed his full support for the nomination of Charles Fort and has pledged that he shall upon his return to Paris, pursue through the World Heritage Centre, all avenues for technical assistance in preparing the nomination dossier for Charles Fort. The application to place Charles Fort on the National Tentative List, which is being prepared by Mr. Cameron Gill, is in an advanced stage of preparation.
Cameron St. P. Gill, MA
16 August 2013