Ambassador Linda Taglialatela and a delegation from the US Embassy in Barbados tours the Nelsons Dockyard National Park
July 24, 2023, Antigua and Barbuda: The National Parks Authority (NPA) greeted the US Ambassador Linda Taglialatela and a team from the US Embassy in Barbados with a tour of Shirley Heights, Blockhouse, Dows Hill, Clarence House and the Dockyard. This is the Ambassador’s second visit to the National Park. She had previously visited the Dockyard and was given a boat tour of English Harbour, and was eager to see more of the Nelson Dockyard National Park (NDNP) and share it with her delegation from the US Embassy.
The visit demonstrated the many NPA initiatives undertaken as part of the legal mandate to preserve, protect, manage and develop the natural and environmental resources and the historical, architectural, and cultural heritage of the NDNP.
From Shirley Heights, the Ambassador saw the entirety of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the historical structures, landscapes and the key viewscapes of that inscription. She also was briefed on the marine ecosystems of the NPA, including the coral restoration project to keep the coral reefs healthy and the inclusion of new swim and no propellor zones in Freeman’s Bay and Pigeon Point to preserve the lives of swimmers, snorkelers, feeding turtles and protect the seagrass bed ecosystems. Additionally, the erosion undermining parts of Fort Berkeley was pointed out, reiterating a discussion had with Her Excellency on her last visit about plans to stabilize the ruins and protect the harbour.
At the Blockhouse, the NPA introduced the Ambassador to the stabilization projects to preserve the ruins and to convert them into safe and usable spaces. The delegation received a firsthand viewing of the skilled stone masons executing this work as well as shown the previously successful stabilization work carried out at the Gun Powder Magazine within the Blockhouse fortifications.
At Dow’s Hill, the Ambassador was shown the boundaries of the NDNP, stretching from Mamora Bay to Cactus Hill at Carlisle Bay.
The delegation then received a tour and lunch at Clarence House. Clarence House was showcased as a successful donor funded project managed and completed by the NPA utilizing and promoting skilled Antiguan and Barbudan artisans, local stone, and intelligent planning to provide a spectacular restoration of a historic house of the highest quality while still being under budget. During lunch, several NPA initiatives involving heritage, interpretation, environmental data collection and preservation, and Park infrastructure projects, were pitched to the delegation. These projects will ultimately enhance the management and protection of the NDNP as well as increase the quality of life for the communities inhabiting the Park and Antigua and Barbuda.
The visit concluded with a brief tour of Dockyard and with pledges of friendship and support for the work being carried out by the NDNP. The NPA looks forward to hosting the US Ambassador and members from the US Embassy in the near future to continue sharing the history, heritage, and environment at the Nelson Dockyard National Park and working with them closely to better develop and manage our cultural, historical and environmental resources.
ABOUT THE NPA
The National Parks Authority (NPA) is a Statutory Corporation constituted under the National Parks Act Cap. 290 (1984) of the Laws of Antigua and Barbuda. The Act mandates that the NPA is self-financing and operates as a not-for-profit organization in order to preserve, protect, manage and develop the natural environment, heritage, architecture, and culture of the Nelson’s Dockyard National Park. Since 2016, the historical core, the Georgian era Royal Navy Dockyard and surrounding British military sites have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in recognition of the long and successful stewardship and management of the NPA.