St. Lucians Say ‘Enough’

LAST November we published a story about a protest by residents of Trouya over a proposal sent to the Development Control Authority (DCA) that would have allowed a tourism project to be undertaken in their community.

The residents claimed that the plans by the developer, which included an hotel would contravene the “no trade or business” and other stipulations in covenants they had entered into when choosing to locate there. In fact, they argued that they had legally protected themselves from the various nuisances that a business project would bring to the area including the possibility of being deprived of a bay which is a source of recreation and fishing.

The residents took their case to the DCA which has now rejected the proposal for the project, thereby upholding its previous decisions to deny plans for any kind of commercial development in that part of Trouya that would be tantamount to a change of land use for an area that has great potential for residential development.

Residents of Trouya must be complimented for successfully mounting a lobby that has now shot down a developer’s plan for their community. While the DCA has sent out a message that contrary to popular belief, not everything in St Lucia is up for sale, it is the decision of the residents to stand up for what they perceived to be their “rights” that has brought them this victory. Last year, we saw a challenge in the courts mounted by residents of Coubaril over a similar “change of use” claim involving the location of the offices of the St Lucia Social Development Fund in their community.

There have been other incidents in St Lucia in recent times when both government and private sector entities have been forced to retreat under public pressure and protest. Some protests have not been as loud as others, but they have produced the same results, just the same. Frankly, it is a refreshing sign that St Lucians are now beginning to use their voices to express themselves about the things that affect them.

Over the years, St Lucia has had to surrender quite a lot of its real estate to attract various forms of development. Nothing is wrong with that per se, since in most cases we are called upon to give up one thing to attract another. But it does become somewhat dicey when what we are giving up seems to be way out of proportion to what we are receiving in return.

A classic case in point is what has been happening in the Piton Management Area in Soufriere that has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Here too, we see the contradictions. We cannot bow to every investor who insists that the only place he wants to put down a hotel is on our sacred ground or on our beaches in a manner that would result in St. Lucians being deprived of their use for relaxation.

Hopefully, the authorities will now be aware that St Lucians have had enough of this.

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