Release by-Prof. Judith Gobin, Chair, AWNC

03rd September, 2021

To all of our dear AWNC supporters, well-wishers and nationals of Trinidad and Tobago.

We hope that everyone is staying as safe as possible during these unpredictable times.

 As theCOVID-19 pandemic persists, glimmers of hope–vaccinations, and the partial re-opening of the Trinidad and Tobago borders, are tempered with continuing harsh realities: more robust variants, volatileeco-tourism recovery, an extension to the State of Emergency (with curfews) and continued restrictions tooutdoor movement.

It has been just over 7 months (January 2021) since the Board of the AWNC made the difficult decision to terminate the eco-lodge business of the AWNC’s Trust. We continue to receive numerous emails and phonecalls-enquiring about the resumption of our operations and wish to share a brief update.

In our last statement, in February 2021, we indicated that there are ongoing trade disputes lodged by the governmental Industrial and GeneralWorkers Union (GIGWU) against the Centre. Despite our efforts, the conciliation processes facilitated by the Ministry of Labour and directly with the Union have not yet produced a resolution. While we continue to respect the industrial relations process,we wish to assure everyone that the Board (and Trustees) of the Asa Wright Nature Centre remain committed to finding a sustainable and resilient business model that secures the future of the Centre.

We continue to endeavour to protect the lands from everpresent threats such as illegal hunting, quarrying etc. and to support ongoing wildlife monitoring. Assistance from our security personnel and all of our voluntary Board Members have been invaluable. I would also like to sincerely thank Senator theHonourable Randall Mitchell, Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts for his tremendous assistance, along with the staff of Ministries of Tourism and Public Utilities and CEPEP and Local Government-in these efforts.

In an effort to support our ongoing important conservation and sustainable development work and to meet the core objectives of our Trust Deed; the Board of Management has issued an RFP-for proposals for a Concession to operate the Eco-Lodge. The intent of this call is to actively seek out mission-aligned tourism development entities who can support the lodging activities of the AWNC Trust.

Together we hope to work towards building a locally loved, already internationally recognized brand that will become the benchmark for sustainable hotel/tourism operation in the region. Please visit our website and Facebook page for the details of the RFP and to receive future updates

We thank you for your continued support.