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Govt., Church To Meet

Image of Nancy Charles

THE Government of St. Lucia says it is willing to meet and discuss with the Catholic Church issues related to the Desert Star Holdings (DSH) proposals to see how the two can work together to solve that and other issues affecting the country.

Government’s willingness to meet and discuss with the Church the social issues impacting on the country was given by Nancy Charles, Administrative Attaché to Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, yesterday on radio talk show, “News Spin”.

Image of Nancy Charles
Nancy Charles

The olive branch offering to the Church came shortly after the Church issued a statement on the DSH proposals earmarked for Vieux Fort and other social issues the country is presently experiencing.

His Grace Archbishop Robert Rivas and the clergy of the Archdiocese of Castries quoted Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter entitled Laudato Si – On the Care for Our Common Home”, published in 2015 which reads in part that “public pressure has to be exerted in order to bring about decisive political action. Society, through non-governmental organizations and intermediate groups must put pressure on governments to develop more rigorous regulations, procedures and controls.”

The Archbishop and the Archdiocese said it was incumbent on the Church to take a stand on the possible displacement of persons and livelihood who occupy and operate within and around the proposed DSH investment site and to take a stand on the DSH Framework Agreement that gives the Master Developer “absolute discretion” to “engage and/or terminate” the procurement of labour contracts.

Image of Archbishop Robert Rivas
Archbishop Robert Rivas

The Church further stated that not only does it applaud and endorse the efforts of the St. Lucia National Trust but it failed to see how the idea of a causeway joining the mainland to Maria Islands Nature Reserve could be productive to the environment and at the same time to the multitude of local persons who enjoy Sandy Beach – which is on the mainland and from where the causeway is to extend outwards to Maria islands, for recreational purposes.

“We are very happy now that the Church has finally found a voice per se and is able to speak out on the issues that are affecting St. Lucia and for sure I know that this government and this administration will be willing to sit down with them and to discuss how we can work together,” Charles said.

According to Charles, the government on its own cannot handle all the problems of the country, hence the need for the Church and other agencies and organizations to join hands to resolve the issues impacting the country. Charles noted that she was not accusing the Church of not having a voice prior to her party taking over the reins of government.

“It is commendable at this time that we can have such a dialogue,” she said.

She dismissed the ongoing tussle between the government and the National Trust, stating that the former was not in a feud with the latter.

“The government respects the work of the National Trust. The government has never at any point in time tried to circumvent the process or the role that the National Trust plays in conservation or in the development of St. Lucia,” Charles said.

She claimed that the hue and cry over government’s zeroing of the National Trust’s $700,000 subvention had been taken out of context.

“The government has indicated clearly that it is looking at our fiscal situation and we have had to review some of the subventions that have been made. The Trust is not the only one that has been cut. A number of other programmes have been visited. The National Trust has a revenue stream by which they could earn an income,” Charles said.

She added that government believed that with all that has been entrusted to the National Trust, it could meet its recurrent expenditures as government was not prepared to do so for them.

Micah George is an established name in the journalism landscape in St. Lucia. He started his journalism tutelage under the critical eye of the Star Newspaper Publisher and well known journalist, Rick Wayne, as a freelancer. A few months later he moved to the Voice Newspaper under the guidance of the paper’s recognized editor, Guy Ellis in 1988.

Since then he has remained with the Voice Newspaper, progressing from a cub reporter covering court cases and the police to a senior journalist with a focus on parliamentary issues, government and politics. Read full bio…

3 Comments

  1. Now, how can the Gov’t get billion dollar deals and the Church gets nothing?
    What we are witnessing is the battle of the biggest bloodsucking pests.

  2. Honestly, if the information and analysis presented by the Church was incorrect then I would understand discussions. As far as I could tell from the evaluations and conclusions came upon by the Church is the truth hence all that is required by the Government is to quickly address and rectify the issue if they are particularly concerned about the people and this country as they have proclaimed.

    The Church did not sit and speak with political parties and come to conclusions. They viewed the documents and evidence presented before them and came to completely unbiased decisions. This is how it is done.

    This is just a ridiculous attempt to cast political hooks and claws into the Church, the same way they have done to the people of Saint Lucia. At least someone is addressing the real issues, bringing forward real arguments of concerns for the benefit of us all. All that is needed is for the persons in authority to do the right thing and for the rest of us to cast aside our bitterness and contempt and do just what is needed to save our country.

    For the way things are going now, we really will sell each other to slavery for a bit of glass.

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