October 12, 2007

IADC, National Trust working on petroglyphs solution

The Argyle petroglyphs could end up being housed in a small museum at the International Airport at Argyle, in a move that could see history and modern advancement sharing the same roof.{{more}}

This is according to International Airport development Company (IADC) Chairman, Dr Rudy Matthias, who said efforts are being made, and every suggestion being considered, as they come up with a solution for the Argyle petroglyphs.

Over the last two weeks, much has been said and written after it was it reported that the petroglyphs were in the way of the international airport and had to be destroyed.

Some conservationists have accused the National Trust, which is charged with the responsibility of protecting such artifacts, of folding up, and allowing the IADC to have its way.

“Unity is necessary. Everybody should be at one with the airport. We will work together to find the best solution,” IADC’s director Dr Rudy Matthias told SEARCHLIGHT earlier this week.

Dr Matthias said that the IADC considers the petroglyphs to be very important, and continues to work with the National Trust to come up with a solution to the problem.

He, however, dismissed suggestions that in order for the petrogyphs to maintain their significance they must remain in their original place.

“It isn’t always possible to keep things were they are,” Dr Matthias said, adding that history is replete with instances where historic artifacts are relocated to parks and such like, in the interest of development.

Meanwhile, chairman of the National Trust Kathy Martin says that the National Trust has not “sold out”, but is working with the IADC to come up with the best solution.

“The Board reflects a wide cross section of society, and we feel it is better to negotiate rather than to confront,” Martin said.

She told SEARCHLIGHT that this is the new approach, distinctly different to the strident approach that was taken on issues in the 1990s, but it must not be interpreted as weakness.

She said that everything being done by the Trust is in keeping with best practices by world conservation bodies.

Dr Matthias further explained that an environmental impact study has been commissioned, and is being done by Cox Consultants out of Germany.

“This study will take about eight months, and will include looking at the petroglyphs,” Dr Matthias said.

He said that the recommendations submitted by the consultants will also inform the discussions on the matter.

He also told SEARCHLIGHT that Vincentian Dr Richard Robertson of the Trinidad based Seismic Research Unit will be visiting to help determine whether or not the petroglyphs could be cut and physically removed.