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Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 16, 2019 (SKNIS): Communities have stepped up to the challenge of beautifying their surroundings as they compete in the Best Village Competition currently taking place.

The Best Village Competition was launched on May 17, 2019, at Independence Square.  Approximately 29 community groups have registered to participate – 22 for the Best Clean and Green Area, six for the Best Home Garden and one for the Best Kept Neighbourhood.  Other categories include Best Village Grandparent and Best Sustainability Programme, both of which are Ministerial Awards.

According to Community/Education Tourism Officer, Shaline Welcome, the Best Village Competition “is an initiative which seeks to protect and preserve our environment, instill pride in our communities, foster unity and togetherness within communities and enhance our tourism product through beautification efforts.”

She stated that during the month of June, a team of officers from the Ministry of Tourism, along with those from the Departments of Agriculture, Physical Planning and Environment did a series of site visits to the various communities.

“A number of needs were expressed by the various groups which we sought to fill. These included tools, plants and paint,” she said. “We approached a number of landscapers namely Plant Care Consultancy, Proper Care Landscaping and KM Services about matching the number of plants the Ministry of Tourism would purchase from them and they all readily agreed to do so.”

Ms. Welcome stated that the Department of Agriculture also agreed to match the number of plants the ministry bought from them. 

She noted the collaboration with the Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP) to present the tools, plants and paint during brief handing-over ceremonies, which took place at Dorset and at Gibbons on Friday, July 12, 2019.

The ministry distributed over 140 plants to the various communities on July 16 and 17. They are also collaborating with the Department of Agriculture and St. Kitts Eco Park to have over 200 plants propagated by September.

The community tourism officer said that the ministry bought tools from TDC, which willingly gave a 25 percent discount for distribution to all the communities involved in the competition.
In addition, the National Housing Corporation donated 10 gallons of paint, which were distributed to the different communities for beautification purposes.

The first round of judging took place on Wednesday, July 31, 2019.  The ministry included persons with the technical knowledge as well as an individual with a love of plants and flowers as part of the judging panel.  The second round of judging takes place in September and the final round of judging will take place in November during Tourism Awareness Month.

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