The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

The Vieux Fort Town Square buzzed with ex­cite­ment as hun­dreds of peo­ple gath­ered for “Sé Maria Nou Ka Alé” - a pop­u­lar theatre pro­duc­tion by the Saint Lu­cia Na­tional Trust (SLNT) in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Coaks Pro­duc­tion. The ob­jec­tive of the pro­duc­tion on Sun­day, March 13, 2016 was to sen­si­tize the pub­lic of the rare and en­demic species found on Maria Is­lands, two off­shore is­lands lo­cated in the south, and the neg­a­tive con­se­quences that could re­sult if per­mis­sion is not sought from the SLNT prior to vis­it­ing the is­land.

This pro­duc­tion, which was in the pipe­line for some time, forms part of a pro­ject by the Trust and its part­ners: the Forestry Depart­ment, Fauna & Flora In­ter­na­tional (FFI) and the Dur­rell Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Trust, to pro­tect the world’s known rarest snake, the Saint Lu­cian Racer and the many rich flora and fauna found on Maria Is­lands. Thanks to our spon­sors Dis­ney Con­ser­va­tion Fund and the United States Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice (USFWS), pa­trons were in for a treat which in­cluded face paint­ing and en­ter­tain­ment from young tal­ented artistes from Vieux Fort in­clud­ing Shan Lu­cien, the 2016 Youth Fest win­ner, An­drian ‘Drii Notes’ Klein and the En­vogue Ju­nior dancers.

The high­light of the evening was the pro­duc­tion “Sé Maria Nou Ka Alé” which fea­tured pop­u­lar ac­tors Coaks, An­gla­sia, Bishop and Tina. Laugh­ter filled the air as the ac­tors set the scene for a long-awaited trip to Maria Is­lands. Fol­low­ing the pro­duc­tion, pa­trons viewed a short film en­ti­tled “Hid­ing for Sur­vival” which cov­ers in depth the non-ven­omous, harm­less and rare Saint Lu­cian Racer that once roamed the main­land. To en­sure that the au­di­ence re­ceived the mes­sage, Carl­ton ‘Coaks’ Cyril asked a few ques­tions af­ter the film and to­kens, such as Saint Lu­cian Racer tote bags and t-shirts and Maria Is­lands ex­er­cise books were given to those who re­sponded cor­rectly. Ac­cord­ing to Mr. Matthew Mor­ton of Dur­rell Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Trust, “It was a very im­pres­sive turnout on Sun­day. Re­ally nice to see so many peo­ple en­joy­ing them­selves and en­gaged with the con­cerns for this in­cred­i­bly rare species and its only home, Maria Ma­jor.”

The SLNT is also ex­tremely pleased that the event went smoothly and was well re­ceived. SLNT’s Di­rec­tor, Mr. Bishnu Tulsie said, “The event shows us that we need to find in­no­va­tive ways to get the con­ser­va­tion mes­sage out to the pub­lic. Pop­u­lar theatre has worked else­where and we will ex­plore us­ing this medium in fu­ture ad­vo­cacy pro­grammes. I ex­tend thanks to our part­ners the Forestry Depart­ment, FFI and Dur­rell and spon­sors Dis­ney Con­ser­va­tion Fund and USFWS for their sup­port and to the peo­ple of Vieux Fort for turn­ing out to the event.”

Shan Lu­cien - 2016 Youth Fest Win­ner

per­form­ing at the event.

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