Gabriel L. Charles
Mr. Charles has an outstanding record in environmental protection and awareness. He helped establish the environmental commission, which looks into environmental management in St. Lucia 1992.
In 1986 he also helped establish the beaches and parks commission which is responsible for the planning and maintenance of all beaches in St. Lucia as well as parks in 1986. Mr. Charles was the founder of the St. Lucia naturalist society, an NGO responsible for environmental education and awareness, and protection of wildlife in the Caribbean.
He is also one of the founder members of the Caribbean foresters' society with responsibility for the improvement of the regional environment.
Excessive slaughtering of leatherback turtles at Matura and other beaches, placed this species on the brink of extinction in Trinidad and Tobago.
Ms. Lakhan took it upon herself to reverse the negative image of her village as slaughterers and abusers of wildlife. She almost single-handedly patrolled Matura Beach at night when Forestry Division staff were unable to do so due to the lack of staff and other resources. As a result of her efforts, Matura is now a true conservation sanctuary for leatherback turtles, and the nesting beach is a source of income and pride to the village. She walked the length of this lonely beach night after night, accompanied by her husband, educating visitors about the danger of lights and noise which can hamper the nesting process; keeping non-permit holders away; and most importantly, keeping would-be poachers at bay.
Susan Lakhan did this for absolutely no remuneration, but for the love of nature, her community and her country. Thanks to her efforts, the Forestry Division, for the first time, benefited by receiving scientific data on a regular basis.