Castries – A City’s Death By Neglect

AS fast as a new building goes up in the capital city, it seems that instead of the property value of Castries inherently going up, the sad state of the city steals that thunder.

The complaints over the sorry and diminishing state of Castries in general over the past few years have been voluminous. However, while the Castries Constituency Council (CCC) continues to express its challenges – financially, especially – in managing the upkeep of Castries, the city is ostensibly bursting at its seams with a myriad of problems.

Minister for Tourism, Lorne Theophilus, was the latest voice in the quest to whip Castries into the shape of a clean and modern city. During a press conference held this week, Theophilus told reporters that despite the desire always being there to make the city a more habitable place, the task of doing so has actually taken longer than it should.

According to the minister, citizens and visitors deserve a city that is on par with those within and without the region. He added that more needs to be done to change the visitor’s perception of the city. Apparently, the Castries many visitors to Saint Lucia see in those glossy tourism brochures is a far cry from the one that gives them the jitters when they do get here.

Simply put, the city has now become the garbage dump for indiscriminate litterbugs. Rats and stray dogs don’t help the situation, either. The foul stench of urine and excreta in certain locations around the city are major turnoffs, too.

Notwithstanding the CCC’s expressed desire to clean up the city’s filth, more partners need to come on board to rescue the city from its slow-paced death. Even the longstanding trees that dominated the city’s skyline are now falling, many due to bees and other insects burrowing into their trunks and others maybe from having enough of an ungrateful, careless citizenry.

If Castries is to proudly remain the seat of government and the main business district in the country, then instead of the city alone hanging its head in shame, those who use it and are charged with its upkeep need to do the same. Too many unflattering stories have been written about the city for so many people to not take a second and closer look at how they are treating the cradle of our country’s main centre.

If it has to take the unflattering comments of our visitors to elicit a serious response on our part to wake up in Castries and smell something other than its foul stench and see everything else but its garbage piles, then so be it. Clearly, the voice of citizens has no weight in the matter. But there must be a better plan for Castries on some drawing-board somewhere and someone needs to find it.

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