Archaeological Assessment of the Cas en Bas Priority One Area of the Cabot
Written by Radio Caribbean International on April 24, 2021
The Saint Lucia National Trust received a copy of the 2021 Archaeological Assessment of the Cas en Bas Priority One Area of the Cabot (Saint Lucia) development yesterday and is currently reviewing the findings and recommendations. However, given the extensive public interest in this matter, we consider it appropriate to make this statement on our initial reactions to the Assessment and the methodology used to generate it.
Our interest in protecting the historic assets of this area is well documented. This is driven by our mandate as well as the extensive research of the site conducted since the 1960s, all of which have documented its considerable historic value and called for further investigations and protection. Our cursory review of the 2021 Assessment shows that it acknowledges the significance of the site but does not share the conclusions and recommendations, which we find rather curious. We note that the field work for the 2021 Assessment was done over a few days while the previous investigations were done over extended time horizons. While this could be a cause for the divergent conclusions, it and any other limitations should have been acknowledged in the Assessment report.
We are also concerned that neither the archaeologist nor the developer engaged the Trust during the planning or execution of the field work, given the extent of our involvement leading up to this engagement to conduct the assessment. We see this as either a major omission or a deliberate approach to produce the assessment without the involvement of a key stakeholder. This is a major weakness and lost opportunity to generate a balanced Assessment guided by the interests it was generated to address.
This Assessment was required as part of the DCA application and review process, and it is unfortunate that the developer has released this draft report into the public domain, even before its consideration by the DCA and its referral agencies. We see this as a public relations exercise that seeks to influence public opinion and preempt a deliberate and rational review of the Assessment by local stakeholder agencies and national experts, that would inform any conditions imposed by the DCA on the proposed development in this area.
The Trust will be issuing a more comprehensive reaction to the Assessment after we conclude our detailed review.