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NGO sets guidelines for National Trust operations
Citizens for Conservation, a nongovernmental organisation will be working with the Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration to get the National Trust “back on track.” In a statement from the organisation’s executive sent to the T&T Guardian yesterday, a preliminary plan of action for the trust was outlined. The statement was in response to a T&T Guardian article outlining some of the National Trust’s weaknesses.
The article outlined that nearly 22 years after the National Trust Act was passed no local heritage sites are legally protected. The letter said members from Citizens for Conservation met with National Diversity Minister Clifton De Coteau recently and agreed to prepare a comprehensive report on the National Trust. The organisation has also contacted the International National Trusts Organisation for assistance.
The comprehensive plan will be developed over the next few months. In the meantime, Citizens for Conservation has suggested some immediate steps that can be easily implemented such as:
• The minister and his staff should make themselves acquainted with the National Trust Act, its rules and regulations.
• The minister should seek to immediately speed up the listing process for already proposed buildings and sites.
• The composition of the National Trust Council executive membership needs to be studied, to ensure that it complies with the act.
• In accordance with the act, The National Trust Council should seek to establish standing sub-committees to advise them on the business of the trust.
• In accordance with the act, The National Trust Council must ensure that members of the trust are given appropriate notice and nomination forms for AGMs. This allows people from the floor to be legally nominated on the Trust Council.
• The trust must be given appropriate offices in keeping with its mandate. The council is a statutory body and must be treated with the dignity and respect that goes along with this status.
• Any restoration work carried out by the trust should be done to international restoration standards and follow internationally accepted guidelines.
• Conservation management plans should be prepared for sites that will be restored especially if they are part of our heritage tourism plan.
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