The future of the Wallings Nature Reserve- the country’s first community-managed national park could be in jeopardy if the management company pulls out of the project.
The project at the historic Wallings Reservoir is managed by the Wallings Nature Reserve Incorporated.
Executive Director Refica Attwood told the Observer Am show this morning this is the end of the road for her.
“I am no longer interested in the development of the Wallings Forest area. And I say this without any fear of favor. I have done enough from 2016 to 2022. I have shown persons the potential of the area. It’s now stifling and I am physically and mentally tired. Frustrated. I have not been collecting a salary from Wallings. I have had to take up consultation jobs to ensure me and my children can survive,” Attwood said on radio Monday.
The situation stems from a back and forth with the Ministry of Agriculture about the permanent use of the facility which falls under the ministry’s responsibility.
The company has a temporary arrangement with the ministry; however, they have been working for quite some time to get something more permanent.
The matter resurfaced recently triggering this response from Attwood.
“Wallings is the first major project that the company has been doing for Antigua and Barbuda. Wallings Nature Reserve is not tied to the Wallings Forest area. We are doing the government a favour to do a tourism project,” she said.
Attwood said the constant battle from 2018 to 2022 with the ministry of agriculture is causing a major issue according to Attwood.
“The legal counsel within the ministry of agriculture went as far as to call our donors. I have been having emergency meetings with these donors because the ministry took it upon themselves to phone the donors asking what relationship they have with Wallings Nature Reserve and why are they helping the organization to grow,” Attwood explained.
Additionally, she said the government is also threatening to take legal action for a reforestation project.
An official from the Ministry says the longstanding issue over the project at Wallings is being handled by the departments legal team.