The St. Kitts Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) on Tuesday made a $100,000 bequest to the St. Christopher National Trust.

SIDF Chairman Terrence Crossman, SIDF Secretary Michael Martin and National Trust Chairman S. W. Tapley Seaton, Q.C., C.V.O gathered at the historic National Heritage Museum (Old Treasury Building) for the ceremony.

“The SIDF has been established for the diversification of the economy from sugar to non-sugar industries,” said Crossman. “We feel that one of our core missions must be, in addition to commercial activities, is to support matters like this,” he said. “We were approached by Mr. Seaton and it was very easy for us to make that decision.”

Presenting Seaton with the $100,000 check, Crossman said the SIDF viewed the preservation of local heritage as a worthwhile effort, adding that the money would also assist the National Trust (formerly the St. Christopher Heritage Society) in heritage development.

An enthused Seaton accepted the cheque from the local benefactor, noting that the National Trust’s initial proposal had been for EC $700,000 to develop the heritage management aspect of the National Trust.

“We had put in our proposal to SIDF which actually totaled $700,000 for the establishment of a heritage sites management unit. We have four heritage sites vested in the National Trust- Spooners’ Ginnery; Mansion; the Carib petroglyphs at Bloody Point, Sandy Point; and Belmont estate as a Sugar Museum; and so we wanted to develop those sites so we could have some heritage management in order to preserve our heritage assets,” he said.

Despite the entire proposal not being fulfilled, Seaton said the National Trust was extremely appreciative of the SIDF contribution that would “star us off in this quest to protect our heritage assets”.

“We see our heritage assets deteriorating around us and we know that heritage tourism can be very strong as an element of tourism promotion. We need to be conscious of our heritage and that is why the St. Christopher National Trust was established.”

Seaton said with over 20 years of preserving national heritage, his organization stood well poised, as they manage the National Heritage Museum, to carry forward the work. The donation was timely, he said, and encouraged the SIDF to continue their generosity, while at the same time inviting other entities to follow suit.

Martin told The Observer that the SIDF routinely receives funding requests and that the Board considers each one quite extensively before making a decision on where the Fund’s money should be allocated.

“We receive a number of requests and the Board evaluates those and decides if and where funds would be allocated. We selected the National Trust because we felt it was a worthy cause and deserving of funding and it falls within the objectives of what the SIDF was founded on,” he said.

The SIDF was established for conducting research into the development of industries to replace the sugar industry, funding the development of these alternative industries and providing further support to secure the sustainability of such industries.

The Foundation, which became fully functional in 2008, may also grant assistance to individuals and institutions that qualify for such assistance under its policies, regulations and by-laws.

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