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Monday, November 22, 2010
SLP SAYS: "PM KING MUST ADDRESS SAINT LUCIANS ON TOMAS RECOVERY"
As Saint Lucians continue to suffer immense discomfort and dislocation from the ravages of Hurricane Tomas, the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) is calling upon Prime Minister Stephenson King to address the nation and provide his Government’s plans to guide the country’s recovery in the aftermath of the hurricane. The Party is concerned about the conspicuous silence of the Government on its plans to restore Saint Lucia to normalcy. Interviews by the Prime Minister and other Ministers to date, have given no clear indication of how the Government plans to guide our country’s recovery.
Citizens in the worst hit areas, like Soufriere, Fond St. Jacques, Bexon, Marc, Guesneau and others must be provided with the comfort that there is a plan which will relieve them of their extreme anxieties, which are made worst at the first sign of rain. Whereas the efforts of Disaster Preparedness Committees must be applauded, it is the Government which must articulate a clear direction which will help reduce the fear which has gripped people in so many areas of the country.
The SLP notes that almost three (3) weeks after the hurricane, the Government has not explained precisely how it intends to assist Saint Lucians to recover from the damages inflicted upon them. The battered farmers whose fields were totally destroyed have no clear indication of how Government plans to assist them. Allegedly, five million dollars ($5 million) has been provided to the sector by the Taiwanese, but that sum is woefully inadequate to address the needs of farmers.
When Hurricane Tomas struck, the Saint Lucian economy was in recession with no clear prospects for a return to growth. With the damage caused by the hurricane, the economy is likely to experience even greater difficulty, demanding progressive and carefully considered interventions. Furthermore, in the face of the need to mobilse resources to repair the island’s severely damaged infrastructure including roads, bridges and drains, the Government must clarify whether it still proposes to spend another EC $60 million on the Daher Building and over EC $400 million on the Hewanorra Airport Redevelopment Project.
Confusion continues to abound over the cost of the damage inflicted on Saint Lucia by Hurricane Tomas. Initially, the Prime Minister indicated that repairs would cost EC $100 million, but soon after that figure was changed to US $500 million or over 13 times the original estimate. Incredibly, we are now being told that the World Bank is the best authority to determine that figure because we do not have the “scientific expertise” to do so
The people of Saint Lucia need to be told very soon, precisely how the Government intends to resolve their woes and predicament.