By Dana Niland
While Antigua and Barbuda has long been home to one of the Caribbean’s most magnificent historical sites, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Nelson’s Dockyard, it isn’t resting on its laurels.
The country’s Ministry of Tourism is now planning a major push to restore, clean and beautify a host of historic properties across the island.
Work already begun at Fort Barrington, also known as Goat Hill, located on the western end of Antigua in the Deep Bay Area.
According to Jesse Thomas, acting director of the Agri-Tourism and Beautification Unit, the new project will be done in three phrases.
The first phase, comprising of clearing debris, including Manchaneel and Acacia trees that make the hiking trail inaccessible, has already begun.
The second phase will be to establish a stone garden along the peninsula and incorporate more species of plants, such as the Frangipani that is already growing in the environment and is drought tolerant.
Thomas said because the area is mostly rocky, there is not much soil for plants to naturally establish themselves.
However, measures will be put in place to have plant boxes built to accommodate other species of plants that are drought tolerant for the garden.
Additionally, as part of phase two, the unit is hoping to restore the cistern at the back of the fort using the original setup which was once used as part of the water catchment system.
Phase three of the restoration effort will be to reestablish the use of the original entrance to Fort Barrington which will make accessing the fort easier for tourists, as well as locals visiting the attraction.
The fort, which was once used a protection point for the St. John’s Harbor also served as an important signal station to alert forces throughout the island of impending attacks during the colonial era.