Letters & Opinion

Can St. Lucia Live By Bread Alone?

WE “cannot live by bread alone”. Neither can we live without bread. Our Sir Arthur Lewis has entreated us that investment by invitation was the way to go. While we have made that advice the prime focus of our development, development by invitation does not mean development by dictation. It is we, and we alone, who can decide the mode of development. It can only come from within and not from without: for we are the makers and masters of our own tomorrows.

When therefore, as a resident of Trouya for the past six years, I was asked what my feelings on the proposed development were, I made my position unmistakably clear. This is what in essence I said on the telephone to the owner:

“I cannot in conscience be opposed to development of the “Queen’s Chain”, but there is one caveat: the people of St. Lucia must continue to enjoy all rights of access they have had, for that’s what keeps revolutions at bay.”

As a politician for forty-six years, that has always been my position, and once I have stated my case, I never depart from it, for one and one make two and not eleven.

In 1979 Kenneth Foster and I flung the iron barrier at cap that was inserted at the entrance, with someone in a booth to keep us out. Afterwards, we protested most vehemently, everywhere, that we would not tolerate enclaves anywhere.

With the clear understanding that such things would not happen, and that life would continue as usual, I promised to give the project my blessing in the interest of St. Lucia subject to those reservations.

I then went on to say that as a former Cabinet Minister I was aware that developers always quickly bowed to those concerns, but once approval has been given they do their own thing, undisturbed. I therefore suggested that the development be monitored by a committee of concerned residents. Before I could have completed my suggestion, the owner assured me that the developers had already agreed to do so. I was happy. But the next day, I rang to say that I needed to have that suggestion incorporated in the permission granted by the D.C.A or Cabinet, and it was so agreed.

At that point, I was asked to be the person to monitor the project, but I deferred to another better able to handle the situation.

I am now awaiting therefore the D.C.A’s approval with the suggested modifications, which were so eloquently reiterated by a Trouya lady on DBS, on Wednesday last.

Finally: I told the owner that I was a firm believer in integrated development. By that I mean, development within a community where residents and tourists alike walk in hand in hand, and where they can knock on the door of any resident and say “I just called to say hello”. I also see that type of development as an opportunity for residents to work where they live. Thus, benefits would accrue both to developer and residents alike, with the latter feeling a sense of ownership within.

It is true that we are hailed everywhere as a friendly people. If we are to prosper however, we would have to see to it that no beast disturbs the peace that provides the filling to the bread of our children, for whom we live and die. Friendliness alone cannot, and will not save us. In this regard, only the Government can: for since the advent of government, maintenance of the peace has been the primary duty of every government.

At the beginning of this article, I twice underlined the words we “cannot live by bread alone”. Neither can we live without bread. Each stroke is like a whip, and indicates how very seriously I would view any development that was not in keeping with the concerns expressed which, indeed are ad idem with the residents of Trouya. I understand it will not be departed from in the proposed development. I trust that it be so, and expect that future developments would follow the Trouya suggestions as a template.

-Neville Cenac


  1. Island’s are among the most limited of living spaces on the planet if not cosmos. Think of MONEY and Profit -symbolic of the GREAT WHITE SHARK- The oceans SUPREME roaming predator.
    Unlike the ferocious Tiger or Hammerhead subspecies- The Great White does not need to hunt in Packs or Pods- Its solitary Me Myself and I take all demeanor is more menacing than that of a Lion.

    Unless islands deploy a universal priority for a sustainable ecological standard- then the sharks will continue to plunder the fragile reef colonies.
    Memo this is a place where FOR “a fISTFUL OF dOLLARS- field science workers have been ambushed/sexually assaulted etc. BY THE bAD &uGLY “fOR A fEW dOLLARS mORE”.
    Where sand mining is an arrogant assault of tributaries, estuaries etc. Where the wisdom of providing buffer wetlands or nurseries, rookeries or spawning zones for long range migrants e.g turtles is an indispensable God given responsibility that preordains all humans as stewards of the lands /waters /air and the all the animals that need to thrive therein.

    The smart practice of sustainable ecological conservation replicates AND ENHANCES all other areas of our daily lives. It helps us to streamline the vicious cycles of economic boom and depression (or the sugar coated Depression)
    When we learned elementary agricultural land use – we learned of FALLOW and COMPOSTING. I could write a complete treatise on the dynamic relationships between these two timeless concepts and modern sustainable economics; but the current response is to SHARKS and should they be kept at Bay!

    In these decadent if not fraudulent times where Bacchus & Eros rewrite the Misal of Covenants for the High Priests at the altar of Commerce; the Great White Shark is Imperial Master of the Shorelines and Reef Dwellers HAD BETTER BE ON HIGH ALERT!- Amen1

  2. The deep question is whether viable, sustainable if not naturalistic eco-systems will be available for all St. Lucians-past the needs of today?

    What if the calamity of TOMAS was orchestrated with the sustained force of a Hurricane Katrina? A Divine lesson of TOMAS is the need to WORK with NATURE -not against it . Sound ecological conservation and sustainable practices protects us from the inevitable brute forces of nature- We are forever powerless to control tide and time. However, ignoring the well documented principles of ecological harmony, predisposes us to the hastened ravages of nature.
    Let’s not be penny wise and pound foolish!

  3. bla bla bla, access to the beach 🙁
    …facts show different, just try to walk along the beach from Gros-Islet to Pigeon Island.

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