BEFORE you know it, this administration’s term in office might come to an end before most of what has been proposed by government to alleviate the unemployment malaise in the island’s south would have even sprouted any shoots let alone bear fruit.
Since July 2016, the acronym DSH has created a whirlwind of worries for many Saint Lucians who believe that in its present form the island stands to lose more than it is likely to gain should the development ever be realized. There are those, however, who believe that had it not been for political sour grapes, the development would have been further ahead.
But really, why are these pros and cons not being debated in Parliament in a structured and constructive manner? Why is it so impossible to get seventeen men and women in whose future the country now rests to lay all the cards out before Parliament for all to see and seek to arrive at an amicable solution to an issue that seems to widen the political divide daily?
But then again, previous matters were not treated in the same manner now being suggested, including the controversial Grynberg matter whereby millions of acres of Saint Lucia’s seabed were casually handed over to a foreign prospector on a silver platter. The legality (and lack thereof), embarrassment and denials following that debacle seem to pale in comparison to the million-dollar figure spent to mount Saint Lucia’s legal battle against Jack Grynberg.
What is strikingly different in the Desert Star Holding matter, though, is that while the Prime Minister seems to go to great lengths to explain government’s interest in the DSH deal – dubbed “Pearl of the Caribbean” – its seems that the more he offers information on the matter, it becomes clearer that Saint Lucia stands to lose more than it would gain – financially, geographically and in terms of its international reputation.
These days, any investment worth US$2.6 billion can appear to be a dangling carrot that any rabbit would want to feast on. However, in these circumstances when citizens feel strongly that their future is in jeopardy from the fallout of something that sounds too good to be true, a referendum is necessary and, so, too, a special sitting of Parliament to iron out the key areas that continue to feed the controversy surrounding the DSH deal.
While government might unwaveringly state that the deal is being crafted with great intentions that benefit all Saint Lucians, it must not hesitate this long to agree to a special sitting of Parliament to discuss the matter thoroughly. Granted that the previous administration might have foregone parliamentary procedures to get its business done, the knee-jerk reaction must not always be to correct controversy by continuing it. At stake here are more than political futures – at stake here is the socio-economic future of all Saint Lucians.
Nineteen months after the signing of the DSH deal, it is about time that politicians discard their differences temporarily and show some maturity by dealing squarely with a matter that, if left to the whims of a handful, can end up paralyzing the entire collective.