This island near Trinidad and Tobago was made a Sustainable Eco-Development Heritage Site

News > The Caribbean

By STEM Caribbean | Posted on October 31, 2020

One of six small islands called “Five Islands” in the Gulf of Paria near Trinidad and Tobago was recently made into a Sustainable Eco-Development site. With a renewable energy system and other self-sustaining resources, this island known as Nelson Island earned its stripes as an eco-friendly location. 

Nelson Island | Source: Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

T&T’s Minister of Planning and Development, Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis, proudly announced the decision made by the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. A newly installed solar-powered system now provides the island with electricity. Also, in the past, freshwater was periodically brought to the island via a boat. Now the island receives potable water from a newly installed desalination plant powered by solar energy.   

Nelson Island – Solar Panels | Source: Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

The Five Islands are known for their rich historical background. According to T&T’s Government, they are remnants of an ancient limestone deposit. You can find centuries-old structures on the islands, the remains of houses and medical facilities, and defunct military equipment. Two of the islands are connected by a human-made stone causeway.   

Nelson Island has served different purposes throughout history. The island was supposedly once used as a trading post by the early inhabitants of Trinidad and the South American mainland. It was also used by British Colonists as a quarantine station for vessels travelling from locations suspected of infection. In more recent times, it was used as a detention centre in the 1970s.  

Today the island functions as a heritage site controlled by the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. It became a listed Property of Interest in 2019. The disconnection between the Five Islands and the mainland has been posing a challenge. But T&T’s Government believes that the sustainable eco-development project will help the island be more independent.  

The Government also highlights that this project is in line with T&T’s commitment to the global community under the Paris Agreement – a global framework within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change.   

According to the Government, the commitment is laid out in a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and evident in achieving their target to increase the total amount of electricity generated from renewable energy sources by 2021.  

“Significant improvements in renewable energy means we now can begin diversification, knowing that we are not compromising our supply of electricity while reducing our carbon footprint,” said Honourable Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley earlier this year. “The Government is dedicated to reducing Trinidad and Tobago’s greenhouse gas emissions through the use of cleaner forms of energy, and promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency, as noted in T&T’s National Development Strategy, Vision 2030.”    

To support the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago with conserving important historical spaces, or to become a member, donor, or volunteer, visit

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