(JAMAICA GLEANER) The Blue Lagoon is the latest site to be declared as a National Monument by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT).
The Portland-based landmark was declared as a National Monument by reason of its aesthetic and scientific values and the site forming a significant part of Jamaica’s heritage.
These values include the crystal and varying shades of blue waters, the verdant rain forest and flowering plants, endemic and endangered species.
Chairman of the JNHT Board of Trustees, Laleta Davis-Mattis lauded the far-reaching value of this landmark declaration asserting that “Blue Lagoon’s inscription as a National Monument is not only giving added value to the site but to brand Jamaica.”
The first attempt to protect the Blue Lagoon by way of a Preservation Order through the National Trust Commission was done in 1960 by then Premier, Norman Manley.
This was followed up with the placement of a Notice of Intention to confirm a Preservation Scheme on the Lagoon in 1962 and an Interim Preservation Notice in 1968 by former Prime Minister Edward Seaga who was then the Minister of Finance and Planning.
When the Jamaica National Heritage Trust replaced the Jamaica National Trust Commission in 1985 there were re-energized efforts to declare the site as a National Monument.
In 2010 the JNHT indicated to then Minister of Sport, Youth and Culture, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange of its intention to revive discussions concerning the declaration of the Blue Lagoon.
A summit was held in November 2010 as a conduit to facilitate discussions regarding the plans for the area.
This was followed up with a number of stakeholder consultations to achieve the protection and sustainable development of the site and to create a co-management agreement to include the management and monitoring of the property.
These activities culminated in the declaration of Blue Lagoon as a Heritage Monument on August 16, 2018.
According to Davis-Mattis, “The process of having the Blue Lagoon declared as a National Monument has been a lengthy yet rewarding process. It is also indicative of the JNHT’s support for the development of viable tourism product where the country’s natural heritage is marketed worldwide.
“The JNHT has always supported a responsible and sustainable heritage tourism product and declaration of these sites will ensure that all stakeholders are held accountable for their protection and development for future generations to enjoy,” said Davis-Mattis.
She added that the final declaration was made possible through the concerted efforts of stakeholders/partners including: the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport, the Alligator Head Foundation, the National Environment & Planning Agency, the Maritime Authority of Jamaica, the Tourism Product & Development Company, the San San Property Owners Association and the Portland Municipal Corporation.