you think Allen was joking when pillars were put on the Sandals Beach or the
lease of our Queen’s chain in Soufriere, then think again! As his power has “magnified”,
so has his intentions been made clearer! Now he is giving away a massive 840
acres of our patrimony to a Chinese investor at a dollar an acre! Tell me . . .
Should Allen continue as PM of this country for the 5 years, what will happen
to St. Lucia?”
If you didn’t understand why the former government didn’t
sign up the multi-billion DSH “Pearl of The Caribbean” project, then perhaps you should wait and listen
to the Pre-Christmas House
on Tuesday December 20 when we expect major hitherto unknown
disclosures to be made by
both sides of the House.
If all goes according
to plan (and DSH is indeed on the order paper), then VF’s death certificate may well be officially “signed, sealed and delivered” in the parliament of
St. Lucia 5 days
before Xmas. The strange paradox
of that potential outcome is: (should this happen) while we will usher in the
birth of a new DSH “Christ child”, we will simultaneously be signing the
official death certificate of the Southern town. This will perhaps make Christmas
2016 both the “happiest” and the “saddest” ever in the land depending on where
The good news is that
the people of VF including the
Catholic Church and some members of the business community are
waking up to the reality of what many St. Lucians perceive to be an impending nightmare; but the fundamental question
is: will that semblance of
resistance be sufficient to change anything? The story may be told 5 days
before Christmas 2016!
According the site/master plan and conceptual designs,
it’s not just the immediate
Beausejour precinct (measuring
400 acres) that is under threat; but the entire “land mass”
measuring 840 acres from the foot of the Moule-a-Chique sweeping Sandy Beach, the Il Pirata area, some of the airport territory and
extending way into the Eau
Piquant and Pierrot Hills. It will encompass the water table and the related ecosystem!
Whilst the perceptions
of the economic implications are understandably “ambivalent”, the potential environmental
impact is categorically frightening - and this is what alarms me! Consequently,
I would expect the exercise of much transparency. Hence, I look forward to the
tabling of both the economic analysis (EA) and the social and environmental
impact assessments (EISA) in the House. I would also expect a long-term
cost-benefit analysis to have been conducted based on the EA and ESIA - and to
make a scientific decision about the project based on those.
|PORTRAIT OF THE ORIGINAL AGREEMENT|
If they have not done
so, then I would advise government/parliament to “outsource” the above functions
and responsibilities to an independent multi-disciplinary extra-parliamentary panel
comprising scientists, environmentalists, engineers, economists, consultants, sociologists,
investors, educators, NGOs, residents, beach users, the business community,
SLASPA etc and all the stakeholder agencies. They would also among other things
have the responsibility for putting together the terms of reference.
determine the time frame for the completion of the exercise and when the report
would be presented.
|PORTRAIT OF THE SUPPLEMENTAL AGREEMENT|
“technical approach” is necessary because of the complex nature of technical
issues involved which include the sale of patrimony and the purported sale of thousands of
passports to fund DSH; the
potentially huge environmental and social impact, and generally, the far-reaching implications of
project (like quashing the
beach and small businesses), among other things.
If we are going to
sign off on the DSH deal, then we must ensure that we dot all “Is“ and cross all the ”Ts”. We understand that when
governments are desperate, they would grab at any vote-catching straw. Those of
us who are old enough I’m sure will remember the promise of a refinery by Hess
Oils but we only got an oil terminal; and although there's a some parallelism
with the Hess Oil refinery, there is no comparison between the two projects.
In its current form,
it is perceived that the DSH agreements (especially the supplemental version) threatens
to kill VF; and if VF dies, then the entire south ranging from Soufriere to
Dennery is likely to die with it.
Therefore, during the
Tuesday sitting, I recommend that members of the House to display a sublime
level of independent thinking, courage, “statesmanship” and “patriotism” when
voting on the DSH bill. I would urge them to speak on the issue in their
capacity as Members of the House – not as Members of Cabinet or Ministers! If our
PM and his MIMOC have genuflected before the Chinese, then we don't expect the rest of
UWP parliamentarians to do the same. The three strong UWP parliamentarians (Dr Rigobert, Mr
King and Montoute) must recognize the immense collective power they can wield?
They can tip the balance and cause Mr Chastanet to return to rationality
without causing the government to self-destruct. I expect them to consider that
option in the national interest.
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