WOULD FORT GEORGE SUFFER THE SAME FATE AS THE MARKET SQUARE?
This (Sentinel) article is a copy of the tWRF Report submitted to the Permanant Secretary
and Project Manager in the Ministry of Tourism and published on the media for public information and guidance:
twrf Report ON THE PROPOSED WORKS ON Fort George in St. George’s Grenada, as submitted by Ines Ingenieros Consultores,
• The drawings received via email on June 23, 2020 from the consultants numbered eight two (82) which included working drawings, perspectives, details and schedules – but the number printed for study by the Building Committee of the Willie Redhead Foundation was 18, as these were considered relevant to the purpose at hand, that is to study and inform the Foundation as to the actual works anticipated on historic Fort George.
• The 18 Drawings inspected are not dated, and one is left to assume that they are current and provide an up to date status of the project, as expected.
• It must be stated from the outset that when work on Fort George, over the years were discussed/ considered by the Foundation and other heritage bodies, they have always had to do with the authentic restoration of the 17th century site; the drawings however – on inspection, have revealed that some of the proposed works are mostly rehabilitation of existing buildings which are considered “non conforming” and have nothing to do with authentic restoration – as is the case in other islands of the Caribbean where historic Miilitary and Naval Architecture exists.
• In August 2004 Mr. David Leisterhuis of the UNESCO office prepared a report on the St. George’s Fortified Systems for the Govt. of Grenada in which he identified the buildings on Fort George, when restored, which should be removed (demolished) – See Map 16 as recommended for this UNESCO heritage site, the recommendation is in keeping with what has been observed in Fort Charlotte in St. Vincent, The Garrison in Barbados, Fort Zeelander in Parimaribo, Suriname, Fort Amsterdam in Willemstad, Curacao, and English Harbour in Antigua – all with UNESCO listing, and several such buildings in Jamaica – See David Buisseret’s “Historic Architecture of the Caribbean”. A UNESCO listed building or site is an international recognition of Prestige, which opens the door for global financial heritage assistance.
• It would appear that in the case of Grenada the commercialization of Fort George as opposed to authentic restoration, is the preferred route for PURE GRENADA. In such
• a case no provision for parking is provided and the limited and restricted vehicular access and egress to and from the fort has not been addressed.
• It would appear that the Ministry of Tourism has carefully considered the pros and cons of the “development” of Fort George after several years of procrastination – and has arrived at this position, which is reflected in the consultant’s design proposal.
It must be drawn to the developer’s (Govt of Grenada) attention that another project – namely the Market Square has had a similar evolution as the Fort. After spending several millions of dollars on our only authentic square in Grenada, which has been “transformed” into a Shanty Town, a Slum in the heart of our Capital City.
• The current effort by the Ministry of Works to close and rehabilitate the Market Square would only have a “bandage” effect in our view. The square needs a complete redesign as a public space for which it was originally intended and functioned as such up to 1974, when Grenada obtained its “political” independence and the status quo began to be tinkered with by the local politicians.
• It is the hope of the Foundation that the lessons learnt from the Square would be a guiding light going forward in the Fort George rehabilitation. In this regard tWRF is always willing to lend a helping /”professional” hand in the furtherance of the cultural heritage and economic advancement of our country.
A WILLIE REDHEAD FOUNDATION PRESENTATION
24 JULY 2020