LAST Sunday, the Sustainable and Well-Planned Development Action Group (SWDAG), a civic community grouping, formed in Choiseul, held a discussion with the parliamentary representative, Bradly Felix and CEO of Invest St. Lucia, Pinkley Francis, who are both Choiseulians.
There were some stunning and jaw-dropping moments for me at that meeting. While I do P.R. for the group, this here is not a report of or for the group. I am hoping that they may wish to put out their own statement.
The first stunner for me was the absence of a representative from the Citizenship by Investment Unit. When they said they were not coming, and the reason for which they said they were not coming, I had to think that it was a joke and that by Sunday they would have come to their senses.
If people observed the sitting arrangement on Sunday, I prepared sitting for three guests at the head table. When I heard of the appointment of Nestor Alfred to the post of CEO of CIU and some of the statements that he made thereafter upon his acceptance of the post, I was not impressed. When I expressed my discontent on Facebook, many people came to his defense. There and then, I gave Nestor the benefit of the doubt.
I then, in that conversation thread, pledged to invite Nestor to our next SWDAG meeting. True to my word, I did. Nestor said he would be out of the island on the said date. An appointed representative, Christopher Paul, came highly rated. In fact, I liked that he was coming since he would be a lot more in the know than the recently-appointed CEO.
In the end, in consultation with the CEO, Paul refused our invitation, citing that they were a processing unit, that all information could be found on their website and that they did not want to face questions for which they had no answers.
The other stunner was that we had about three times the number of attendees that we had at our first meeting. So when Bradly says that he does not fathom what all the noise is about, I think he needed to have made a lot more noise to have drawn out a lot more people to the three community meetings that he boasts of having held, which only say a handful of attendees.
More stunners were to come. There was an attempt to derail the meeting even before it got started and sometimes you have to wonder about the objectives of people who call themselves community leaders and activists. One person thought that the group had no legitimacy because it was not registered and another tried to claim some authority of the whole situation because of his La Fieulle family name.
The next was Bradley’s answer to a question as to how he justifies the continuance of the hotel project when many would have voted for his party because of the premise that he was against the hotel. Bradley stated in effect that anyone who was of that persuasion did not follow his election campaign; it was as if none of us heard of his proposal to erect some warehouses for the training of the youth of Choiseul.
The CEO of Invest St. Lucia claimed to have no knowledge of a letter of Approval in Principle from the DCA, communicated to the developers through their lawyer at the time. That letter was dated April 22, 2016 which would have been before his appointment but even then I think that it was information he needed to have known.
Truth be told, that letter was not copied to Invest Saint Lucia. I have emailed a copy of that letter to Francis. The letter instructed for the placement of advertisement of the project as mandated by the Physical Planning and Development Act. All the specifications were given therein but to date even with a sod turning ceremony, this has not seemed to have been done.
There were many other stunners at that meeting but the last that I wish to note was when a lady in the audience asked a question of Felix saying, in essence, that the advantages of the hotel project have been touted far and wide. She wanted to know of the MP what disadvantages the implementation of such a project could bring, to which the minister answered he did not see any. My Lawd!
I seek, however, one more stunner, the day when we Saint Lucians can get to an event on time and start on time.
All that said, I am, however, very pleased of the acceptance of Felix and Francis for sitting with residents and hope that all the discussion leads to a favourable development for Choiseulians — now and those to come.