Project 4 of the Nexus 1492 project addresses the Caribbean past as cultural heritage in the present. The ‘Managing the Past: Dealing with Heritage in a Caribbean Context’ subproject investigates the impact of colonialism on perceptions of heritage and heritage legislation in the Caribbean, particularly through the partiality shown to Western heritage over other cultural contributions in policymaking.
This research focuses on the Commonwealth Caribbean, namely the islands of the Lesser Antilles which share the English common law legal tradition. A gap analysis of heritage laws, including antiquities legislation, legislation establishing museums, national trusts, national parks and protected areas, and planning and environmental laws has been conducted, to assess the extent to which the application of these laws has been effective in supporting the conservation and enhancement of heritage resources.
New perspectives on protecting heritage are being considered, including legal geography and spatial justice, through the landscape lens. Landscape law offers a modern approach to understanding heritage as dynamic, integrated with the environment and linked to communities, which is crucial given that a key priority of the subproject is cultural ownership by Caribbean societies.
Amanda Byer is an environmental lawyer with an LLM from University College London (UCL). She also holds a Master’s degree in Natural Resource Management from the University of the West Indies, and majored in Development Economics at Sarah Lawrence College. Amanda’s main interests concern the role environmental law can play in the sustainable development of small island developing states, which includes topics such as preservation of the historic environment, environmental justice, the green economy and conservation planning.