Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 28th 2013 Contents A34
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, May 28, 2013
"Additionally with its marine envi-
ronment, geology and micro climate,
it offers much as a natural heritage site
Asked who is the intended audience
for the site, Deen said Nelson Island
offers itself as a heritage site for all
peoples of T&T.
"The trust hopes to attract the wider
T&T diaspora as well as people the
world over who are interested in such
sites like Ellis Island. Genealogical
tourism is another rapidly growing
industry and Nelson Island like Ellis
Island could attract many people to
Richness of Nelson Island
Nelson Island is located two miles
off the north-western coast of T&T
and visitors can experience the beauty
of the Five Islands and stunning views,
especially of the Port-of-Spain skyline
to the east and Venezuela to the west.
It is also home to one of the oldest
standing buildings in T&T that was
constructed by Africans in 1802.
"The remaining buildings show the
places where many different groups of
people slept and ate and even gave birth
and died. Even latrines are highlighted.
The waters around accounted for sea
baths but also drownings as well," Deen
He also noted that though the inden-
tured Indians were the most frequent
users and occupiers, the African slaves
built it, the Europeans used it as a gar-
rison, and the Jews were sheltered there
during World War II, as was trade union
leader Uriah Butler in the 1930s.
He added that Black Power dissidents
were also kept in cells in one of the
buildings and the Americans also used
the island during their time at
Nelson Island today
Deen told the T&T Guardian that
the National Trust s restoration plans
are still at an early stage.
"There have been occasional tours
while restoration work proceeds. Hur-
dles have been overcome, especially
full-time security, but now there is
potable water, toilets, power, air con-
ditioning, permanent exhibitions and
a vast improvement to the buildings,
which have been restored but main-
tained their heritage value," said Deen.
Deen said other groups peoples will
be recognised by the trust at Nelson
Island and elsewhere in T&T.
"The other groups mentioned will
also be accommodated and even those
who seemed to have not been associated
with Nelson Island could be included
as the trust and the Ministry of Nation-
al Diversity and Social Integration seek
to promote all people of T&T," Deen
He noted other events that took place
near the islands include the Capitulation
of the Spanish under Apodaca to the
British, led by Abercromby in 1797,
Emancipation and Chinese New Year.
He believes events such as the re-enact-
ment will go a long way in promoting
a useful public understanding of the
site. He mentioned using other avenues
like television documentaries, news-
paper articles, information in travel
magazines and booklets at the various
embassies to promote the island and
the activities they will be hosting there.
"The ritual of arrival as well as the
exhibitions will serve to connect today s
peoples with our ancestors and their
emotions and way of life. But it is not
just to maintain our link to the past,
rather to also develop heritage and foster
genealogical tourism," said Deen.
"Hopefully more and more rituals
will be observed and added to a reper-
toire of attractions for all," he said.
NELSON ISLAND HISTORY
• Nelson Island was previously
thought to have been used as a
stopover by Amerindians from
South America to T&T.
• The Spanish called the Five
Islands, of which Nelson is one,
Los Cottoros or the Parakeets.
• It was also called Stephenson's
Island before it was named
Neilson Island after a Dr Neilson
who lived there. It was eventually
renamed to Nelson Island.
• Nelson Island became a
heritage site around 2000 when
the Government set up a
committee under the
chairmanship of Professor Julian
Kenny to make Nelson Island into
a historic/heritage site. It was
recognised as such because of its
function over the centuries to
various groups of people of T&T.
• The National Trust was
granted jurisdiction of Nelson
Island in 2003.
• Nelson Island is one of
approximately 400 built heritage
sites to be listed by the trust.
From Page A33
Site intended for all to enjoy
A photo at the Nelson Island museum showing East Indian indentured labourers who arrived on the island in the
19th century. PHOTOS: EDISON BOODOOSINGH
National Trust tour
Pascal gives a tour
of the Registration
arrival. The occasion
was the re-
enactment of the
labourers' arrival to
T&T, at Nelson
Island on May 25.
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