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Soufriere Square To Be Completed By August

Image of Herod Stanislas, Member of Parliament for Soufriere/Fond St. Jacques

ALMOST two years after all work on the Soufriere Square was first stopped by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, a date has finally been set for its re-opening.

However, the on-again, off-again work will see a few changes to the original design that the town’s District Representative in parliament says has not been added to the initial cost of the project.

Image of Herod Stanislas, Member of Parliament for Soufriere/Fond St. Jacques
Herod Stanislas, Member of Parliament for Soufriere/Fond St. Jacques

According to the Parliamentary Representative for Soufriere/Fond St. Jacques, Herod Stanislaus in an exclusive interview with The VOICE, work recommenced last week after a brief hiatus due to the length of time the Government’s Treasury took to process transactions for payments to the new contractor hired to completing the project by August of this year.

But as is the case with most projects started by the former administrations and left to be completed by new ones, this one found itself embroiled in the politics of the day, with both sides accusing each other of not working in the public interest — and not being upfront and open with the people of Soufriere.

For instance, Mr Stanislaus said that when his party took over the government in 2016 it understood that the Taiwanese Government had donated EC$2.3 million to the project and when this government stopped work in July of 2016 a total of $1.3 million had already been spent.

“Work actually started in late 2015 going into 2016. By the time we put a hold on the Square project, they (former administration) had already expended $1.3 million and the Square was not 40 percent completed,” Stanislaus said.

But the Opposition Labour Party and some former administration officials and spokespersons, it seems, are disputing those figures.

A SLP source told The VOICE the project — conceptualised in 2013 – was 70 percent complete when the UWP took office in June 2016 and that “originally, about $2,653,242 was assigned for the project’s undertaking.”

Regarding the changes done to the initial design of the Square, Stanislaus mentioned “variations to the entrance of the Square, replacements for electrical panels and changes to the plumbing and pump areas.”

“We had to look at re-doing the seating areas and the fountain. There were problems with the levelling, so we had to re-do the levelling. There was a dry water fountain in the initial design. We have changed it around. We have added the Freedom Monument to the Square,” Stanislaus said.

The Freedom Monument, which is said to have been sitting in a government warehouse for “20 or so years”, according to a usually informed source, is going to be placed in the Square’s centre.

Stanislaus said that all changes to the initial design, along with the placing of the Freedom Monument, “will come at no extra cost to government.”

The Minister said that when his government stopped work on the Square in July 2016, “what was taking place there” (meaning the works) “were not in keeping with the history of the town of Soufriere, so we felt we had to stop it to review the design and the plan.”

Meanwhile, the government is hoping the much-delayed project will indeed be completed by August.

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. Soufriere the last “stronghold” of the French should be respected. The Square should be elevated into a tourist attraction.

    It should be made visually appealing to represent the impact of French culture on this part of the island. This can be done by having a combination of sculpted evergreen plants to replicate as a miniature of a French Garden in France with seating areas. I believe that the French would sponsor this.

    The site of, or near where the guillotine used to stand should be marked appropriately with an engraved brass sign or a stone.

  2. PARTNER: don’t know what the hell you talking about.Do you really mean that some replica
    of a guillotine should be exhibited as a reminder of french brutality toward African slaves?
    To speak of Soufriere being the last stronghold of the French, and should be respected, tells
    me a lot about you and your mindset toward black slavery and brutal murder and execution
    by the french colonialists and you think that should be elevated into a tourist attraction?
    No doubt it is such as your kind who benefited largely from french oppression in Soufriere, no??

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