National Trust 101

 In Blog

We at the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago would like to introduce ourselves to YOU. We are a membership-based organisation which operates under the Ministry of Planning and Development and focuses on the built or tangible heritage and natural heritage in our beautiful country of T&T.  The National Trust is vested with the authority to secure legal protection for nationally important heritage sites, buildings, objects and monuments, (built and natural) known as properties of interest. Though we are currently a compact unit, we are committed to accomplishing big strides in the field of heritage and will continue to do so by engaging and educating the public of the importance of safeguarding our heritage.  The Trust also partners with regional National Trusts, international agencies, NGOs and academic institutions, and is an associate member of the International National Trust Organisation.

  • The National Trust also promotes public awareness of and access to these heritage sites and conducts research to help make the public aware of the beauty and importance of our nation’s heritage.
  • Anyone can become a member by signing up on our website here

 

Mille Fleurs

Now it’s time to get to know us!

 

What Is Our Purpose?

The NTTT was founded under Act No.11 of 1991 (the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago Act, 1991, as amended). You can read the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago Act of 1991, Chap. 40:53 here: https://nationaltrust.tt/resources/national-trust-act/

The Trust is responsible for:

  1. listing and acquiring such property of interest as the Trust considers appropriate;
  2. permanently preserving lands that are property of interest and as far as practicable, retaining their natural features and conserving the animal and plant life;
  3. preserving, maintaining, repairing and servicing or, arranging for the preservation of property of interest other than land and where such property of interest comprises buildings, augmenting the amenities of such buildings and their surroundings;
  4. making provision for the access to and enjoyment of property of interest by the public;
  5. encouraging research into property of interest including, where applicable, any animal, plant or marine life associated therewith;
  6. compiling photographic or architectural records of property of interest;
  7. making the public aware of the value and beauty of the heritage of Trinidad and Tobago; and
  8. advising the Government on the conservation and preservation of property of interest and on any or all of the matters referred to above.

Fort James, Tobago

 

Part 1 How Do We Spread Awareness?

The Trust is a unique organization which utilizes various approaches to engage our cherished audience and wider public to the history and heritage around T&T. Our innovative staff is dedicated to providing new and fun ways to present heritage to our audience in a digestible and memorable approach and we make it our mission to update our resources with new and/or revised history or information pertaining to tangible and natural heritage.

We curate TOURS for our members and guests to explore Trinidad and Tobago’s natural and built heritage. Accompanying you on these tours are our knowledgeable and experienced tour guides who will detail the rich history of our country and teach you about our built and natural heritage. Join us and visit places you would have never been to and learn about the stories, traditions, festivals and history tied to our tangible and natural heritage. You might be surprised at what you learn on one of our tours.

The NTTT offers lectures to our members and the public where you can learn about architecture, environmental management, archaeology, history, property preservation, and notable events of the country’s past. Meet and greet   our renowned guest speakers, experts, academics, and enthusiasts who enjoy culture, history and architecture. Share and learn about topics and issues in our interesting and popular lectures.

We host EVENTS on a regular basis to commemorate specific days of national significance such as Parang and Ponche a Crème for Christmas, Carnival celebrations on Nelson Island and events which commemorate Labour Day, Divali, Indian Arrival Day, the Black Power Movement etc. Join us for one of these creative events where you will be provided with an interactive experience and an opportunity to learn about these events, festivals and traditions first hand.

Pop in to the RESOURCE CENTRE at our office (address listed below) where we have a substantial inventory of literature on heritage and history. You can learn about our listed Properties of Interest on the NTTT’S Heritage Register, or about the nomination process and about other activities that you can get involved in with the Trust.

Take in our Exhibitions

Do you have a skill that you would like to share with us, such as communications, art, photography, graphic design, event management, or research? Join our team of Volunteers where you will be able to participate directly with the staff and collaborate on new and fun projects or events. Click here to get involved!

SHOP at our Trust Shop, where you can buy unique and creative products such as cocoa from Rancho Quemado, books from esteemed historians, handcrafted items from local artists, and much more.

We also offer:

Tour on Nelson Island

 

Part 2: How do we protect our Properties of Interest?

What is a Listed Property of Interest?

A Listed Property of Interest is a site, building or object which has been given protection under the provisions of the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago Act, Chap 40:53, and is referred to as a ‘Listed Property of Interest’. In other words, this refers to designating and safeguarding the ‘listed national heritage site’ as it is commonly called.

 

Why Do We List Properties of Interest and What Does Listing Mean?

The NTTT is governed by a mandate to formally list properties and sites which are important to our national heritage. There are currently 43 Listed Properties of Interest (click here for more info) protected under the National Trust Act. With these sites being listed in accordance with Section 8 of the National Trust Act (No. 11 of 1991 and Amendment No. 31 of 1999) the property is deemed a heritage property and is entitled to legal protection.

 Listed sites, buildings and objects are physical legacies of Trinidad and Tobago’s history which we are protecting for future generations. By listing these properties the Trust is giving them protection against unauthorized demolition, change, alterations or against any person who damages, injures, or defaces any listed property. The Trust also provides Restoration Guidelines to support all construction, restoration or refurbishment of any listed property to ensure best practices in preservation are maintained.

To find out more about the listing process and what it entails send us an email at info@nationaltrust.tt

Trust tour to Listed Property of Interest: The Exchange Village Shiv Mandir

 

Get to Know Our Inventory of Heritage Asset

The National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago has compiled and maintains an official list of Trinidad and Tobago’s historic sites known as the Heritage Asset Inventory. There are currently 455 sites on the Inventory and these sites were all deemed worthy of notation and preservation, (click here to learn more). These historic properties have the potential to be listed in the future once the site satisfies criteria set out in the Act and the official listing policy and the National Trust completes the listing process. Owners of properties or any other person who would like to nominate a site can do so by clicking here.

 

Why Should You Become a Member?

The History of Trinidad and Tobago is rich, interconnected and demonstrative of our current social, economic and political circumstances. Tangible or built heritage is the physical representation of our history and this declares a level of priority when attempting to preserve our cultural heritage as a country. We, at the NTTT, are dedicated to safeguarding our physical legacies for future generations. 

On becoming a member of the National Trust you will become an ambassador and investor for and in our heritage, by supporting the continuity of our rich history.. You will join a passionate group of persons who care about natural heritage, history, architecture and cultural heritage and share and connect with like-minded individuals who want to explore and learn more about their country. You will have access to our tours, resource library, lectures, and so much more. To find out more about becoming a member click here.

For more information on what we do at the Trust and how YOU can get involved today please call 706-6316 or email info@nationaltrust.tt.

 

Trust Trivia

What do you know about Trinbago when Heritage and History are combined? Put your Trust-Knowledge to the test with the questions below! The Answers are provided at the end, so good luck!

  1. The National Trust has operated under all of these Ministries. Which one is currently our line Ministry?
    1. Ministry of Arts and Multi-Culturalism
    2. Ministry of Planning and Development
    3. Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration
    4. All of the above
  1. What types of Heritage Tours does the Trust offer?
    1. Land Tours
    2. Sea Tours
    3. Nature Tours
    4. All of the Above
  1. The National Trust offers Seven (7) membership options. Which class of membership below is not one of these?
    1. Extra-ordinary Membership
    2. Family Membership
    3. Lifetime Membership
    4. Association Membership
  1. Annually, Ponche-a-crème and Parang takes place in December on what Heritage island?
    1. Craig Island
    2. Chacachcare Island
    3. Nelson Island
    4. Caledonia Island
  1. There is an old-looking building made of a peculiar stone in your neighbourhood. Your community wishes to clean it up/ beautify it.
    Circle the correct steps one should take:
    1. Call the National Trust and enquire about the status of the property and seek their guidance.
    2. Go ahead and fix it up yourselves as a community
    3. Power wash it.
    4. Find out who owns it and tell them of your plans to clean and beautify.

Answers: 1 (b) , 2 (d) , 3 (a), 4 (c), 5 (a)

National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago Address: 68-70 Sackville Street, Port of Spain

Maya Doyle
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