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That Iyanola….Iguana

This somewhat elusive creature (St Lucia Iguana) though rare to many, has unfortunately been the victim of unsuspecting drivers on the busy Dennery/Castries highway. On too many occasions iguanas and boa constrictors have had to suffer from interactions with vehicular traffic. Every year we witness the carnage of the species along the highway as our valuable reptilian wildlife seem to ‘shock’ our drivers who unexpectedly come across these critters attempting to cross the road. The workers from various sites along the Dennery part of the highway will tell tales of even pairs of iguanas getting slaughtered as they attempt to cross this busy roadway.

The Iyanola Crossing project featured some major activities which included; repainting the vendors' booths at the La Pointe LayBy; Official renaming of La Pointe LayBy to Iyanola Crossing; Erecting billboards along the Dennery Highway; visiting every school within the Dennery District; art competition; stakeholder workshop; printing and distribution of paraphernalia, etc.

As with all activities planned during that period, COVID19 took its toll. Several delays primarily due to a lack of personnel within the Government offices to take care of things like applications for erecting billboards etc ensured were realized. However, the project was able to recover quickly and thankfully able to successfully deliver on its mandate.

Calling for “Iyanola Crossing”

The vendors' booths (called La Pointe Lay By) near the Dennery Fire Station serve as a prime entertainment/ refreshment spot for the Dennery village. During the EU-supported upgrade (back in 2008-2010) of the various sites around the Dennery village that site did receive some upgrades.

However, unfortunately ever since the site has been ignored and almost completely shut down except for one or two vendors who have kept some sense of business to that site. The painting of these booths not only reminds people of the beauty of the natural environment through which they traverse regularly but also brought renewed interest among potential vendors who are seeking employment.

With students and teachers of art from Clendon Mason Memorial Secondary School and the Grande Riviere Secondary School coming together to create a stunning painting on the aforementioned buildings, the project took on a new “life”. The site was now becoming attractive to photographers and their customers, as well as cultural groups who are now seeking to perform in the said space.

With colorful murals, billboards, signage, community engagement, art competitions, school engagements, stakeholder support, and engagement, InPhinity expects that there will be a significant increase in sensitivities for all who traverse the busy “Dennery/Castries Highway”.

School visits

Every primary school in the Dennery area was visited by a team that included a mascot; representatives from Forestry as well as InPhinity personnel. During these visits students in addition to witnessing the “Iggy” mascot, received prizes for answering questions posed by the visiting team as well as learned a special song written specifically for this project. At the secondary school, students were also entertained by a popular Dennery Segment artiste.

Stakeholders workshop

A stakeholder workshop was conducted which brought together representatives from the mini-bus drivers’ association, Police, Fire Department, Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture, Shop owners, and Ministry of Infrastructure. This workshop was specifically targeting stakeholders known to often have members who drive along the busy highway. The Police especially was appreciative of the opportunity to discuss matters related to wildlife legislation, as well as road safety.

Renaming Iyanola Crossing

Many stakeholders including the Government of Saint Lucia through the Dennery South Constituency Council have rallied to support this cause. InPhinity, as well as other project partners, are elated that the governing council which is responsible for the management of the site did agree to the renaming.

It is expected that with such a name as “Iyanola Crossing” more persons will be on the lookout for the crossing reptiles. At a ceremony that brought together representatives from partner agencies, schools, community,

etc, the La Pointe Lay By is no more. A lit sign will for 24hrs remind persons to be on the lookout for our endemics as they attempt to cross.


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