Letters & Opinion

Is Harvey Cenac A Visionary Or A Dreamer?

By Oswald Augustin

WHO exactly is Harvey Cenac and what is his claim to fame? Harvey Cenac presented himself to the Soufriere/Fond St. Jacques people as an independent candidate in the 2011 general elections and mustered some votes. For whatever reason, he seems to be somewhat obsessed with the current Prime Minister despite the fact that the UWP is just fourteen months in office.

We wonder where Mr. Cenac has been for the last twenty years to suddenly realise that the present level of poverty in St. Lucia is of major concern. This misconception speaks volumes of Mr. Cenac’s comprehension of employment and the poverty status on island. Unemployment throughout the world has been on the rise for the last fifteen years based primarily on the advancement of technology and many nations continue to grapple with this unusual phenomenon.

The current Prime Minister is fully aware of the situation and continues to address the matter in a meaningful way. Firstly, the banana industry, which once provided employment for some 12,000 farmers plus their families died an unusual death in 1997 when the SLP (Kenny administration) came into office. Patrick Joseph can probably brief Mr. Cenac on the real reasons as we do not wish to get involved in those details at this point in time.

The current administration has now secured a market for over 200,000 tonnes of bananas annually through the UK and EU markets and for the past twelve months the banana farmers are aggressively addressing the increased production of bananas on island. If our nation is spared from any adverse weather conditions during the current hurricane season, St. Lucia will experience a vast improvement within that area which will automatically address some of the foreign exchange earnings, unemployment and economic activity.

The concentration by this administration to attract foreign investments is top on their agenda by way of three major chains signing on to increase their inventory on island viz the Sab Wisha investment in Choiseul, the Ritz Carlton in Black Bay, Vieux Fort and the Sandals Resort at Pigeon Point.

These three investments represent a total of 700 rooms or US$600 million and some 1600 new jobs. The recent injection of $40 million by the Japanese government for two bridges to address the flooding problem in Cul de Sac is a significant diversion of funding by the Japanese government away from the normal investment in fishing complexes. The start-up of OJO Labs in the South, whereby the artificial intelligence programme will be introduced to assist young St. Lucians in preparing themselves for the new world order of employment, is significant.
The Hummingbird project in Soufriere, which was shelved by the SLP in 2011, has been revitalised to permit the locals in Soufriere to capitalise on the influx of the hundreds of visitors both by land and sea. The absence of this project deprived locals from benefiting directly from those visitors.

The construction of the Hewanorra airport, which was stopped in 2011 by the SLP administration refusing to collect some $80 million annually from the incoming visitors, denied St. Lucia a total of $250 million during their administration but, more importantly, denied St. Lucians and business persons the ability to capitalise on this major investment.

The DSH project, which will change the face of the South after eighty years of stagnation and will permit the residents of the South to find employment within their environment, is continuously being challenged by an SLP administration which has never understood the art of attracting foreign investment.

On a parting note, Harvey Cenac should consider making realistic and practical proposals instead of pursuing a series of unwarranted criticism and character bashing against an individual. The current Prime Minister has worked extremely hard in his life, has achieved a sound education, a recognised career abroad, a successful hotel owner/operator and achieved the highest position in St. Lucia. Under these circumstances, Mr. Cenac may wish to revisit his ongoing criticism.

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