Nassau, The Bahamas – Residents of Fort Fincastle are hoping that the Antiquities, Monuments, and Museums Corporation (AMMC) will fund the multi-million dollar restoration of the world class tourist sites known as the Queen’s Staircase, the Water Tower, and Fort Fincastle. The cleanup project is estimated to cost about $5.5 million.
“We are honoured today to talk about some of our touristic sites in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas,” said Courtney Strachan, AMMC Chairman at a November 12 press conference.
Mr. Strachan said the focus on Fort Fincastle was particularly on the Water Tower, the second most popular touristic site in the Caribbean, which has been shut down for 15 years. He said the project, scheduled for November 24, will be undertaken by the residents of Fort Fincastle and dubbed “It’s All About Us.”
He said the initiative was suggested to the AMMC by the inhabitants of Fort Fincastle, who took the initiative and decided to join hands together and clean the place up.
The campaign will begin on Friday, November 23 at the Queen’s Staircase (66 Steps) with the assistance of the Department of Environmental Health and will continue on Saturday, November 24 until 4:00 p.m.
“Fort Fincastle needs attention. We have in excess of a million tourists that visit the area every year,and we have some concerns,” said Chairman Strachan. “Concerns that it is not clean; it is not groomed; there is an issue of crime; so we thought it best to start the process of first cleaning it up. What is going to happen over the next year or two, you will notice that Fort Fincastle will become one of the major tourist attractions in The Bahamas. Let me just shed some light on the things we have planned.”
Chairman Strachan said the AMMC is in negotiation with UNESCO and World Heritage to transform the Fort Fincastle area into a world heritage site and encouraged the residents in the area to improve the area.
He noted that the pathway where the straw vendors is located is congested and they will be moved to the new and exciting touristic gardens. The Water Tower will be repaired and it is proposed that a cultural village will be created near the Water Tower, where the now dilapidated can be preserved.
“We have plans on making it a walking zone, where we’re going to eliminate all of the vehicular traffic to the Fort. We are going to meet with the stakeholders to make sure everybody shares in this plan. We are actively in negotiations with several of the landholders in the area to release their property to make drop off zones, where our business partners, the taxis and the limousines can park their vehicles and it will be a walking zone.”
Ms. Nickita Thompson, an employee at AMMC, said several government agencies are expected to assist with the clean up such as DEHS, Royal Bahamas Police Force, Urban Renewal, Her Majesty’s Prisons, and the Governor General Youth Awards organisation. She also said that the AMMC anticipates
tremendous support from the residents and they showed excitement during a preliminary meeting the week before to give their support to the clean up effort and participation.
It was noted that strategic areas will be designated for garbage disposal, with bags and bins in place, and that corporate sponsors will provide food and water to those involved in the clean up exercise.