Letters & Opinion

Money To Waste

Sod Turning for Vieux Fort office building

By Bernard Theobalds

Sod Turning for Vieux Fort office building
Sod Turning for Vieux Fort office building

OUR politicians are building yet another edifice to themselves, this time at Vieux Fort.

This follows on the ill-conceived government edifice at Pointe Seraphine that time will certainly prove to have been a disastrous decision, even while another failed public project in the heart of the City stares us in the face. Yet another wasted investment when there is crying need for the limited funds available to be put into productive enterprise. It is not that the skylines of our cities and towns may not need enhancement but the evidence is that the private sector, with the necessary incentives, would be happy to undertake the task.

The record will show that the disease is a bigger mess than we think. First we plunked millions of dollars down, nearly twenty years ago, into an enterprise that came to be called Blue Coral that turned out to be one of the worst investments ever made by the managers of the nation’s pension funds. Even today this dysfunctional building is mostly empty yet sitting on the most prime location in the heart of Castries.

Sir John is on record as saying, in 2007, its disposal would be top of the list of matters needing immediate attention from his government. His successors thought otherwise. The NIC didn’t seem to learn anything from that disaster and proceeded to spend more millions of pension fund money on a Financial Centre that sits in a Cul-de-Sac, along the busiest road junction in the country, that on cruise-ship day is already almost inaccessible and will only get worse, to house more Public Servants; millions were spent by the government to purchase a half-completed edifice at Bois d’ Orange which now sits rotting and deserted.

Millions more were spent on yet another public effort in Gros Islet town that remains unfinished, boarded-up and seemingly abandoned, and we are now told that another government edifice is planned at La Toc, no doubt with funds from a compliant NIC.

It seems our politicians, whatever their stripe, are only fascinated with erecting public buildings. In the meantime, the country has earned itself the reputation of having some of the worst slums and poor housing in the Caribbean, up to one-third of homes still use pit latrines, rural poverty is surging after the collapse of the banana industry, with apparently no idea as to what to do from the Ministry of Agriculture, leading to an avalanche of migration into the already over-crowded Castries basin and to squatting on denuded hillsides, setting the stage, one of these days, for a human catastrophe. The country remains without a low income housing policy, the best strategy, all studies suggest, to fight crime; we cannot open a brand new gift of a hospital simply because we do not have the financial resources to do so; a brand new crime lab remains shuttered and useless; a public square at Gros Islet is demolished to build a public square; medical care has become a nightmare and unaffordable for the majority of our citizens, while thousands remain casually employed outside the safety net of a pension scheme, a gestating calamity that the World Bank has warned about. Thousands of vehicles, unregulated, clog our streets, and the Ministry of Works thinks the answer is to build more roads; the obvious response is that persons who cannot afford the full cost of running and maintaining, including providing parking for, a motor car should not be subsidized into owning one. The Hewanorra Airport terminal remains a dysfunctional dinosaur, while competitors Antigua and St. Vincent are surging ahead with their own airport developments; St. Jude’s Hospital remains incomplete after nearly ten years of re-construction, the Gros Islet highway will need resurfacing soon, a massive and costly work (even before the touted 4-lane expansion), buses without terminals clog city and town centres, temporary bridges, we are told, span the Anse la Raye and Canaries rivers, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. But we want to build more luxury edifices to house more public servants, in air-conditioned comfort, obviously.

9 Comments

  1. Thank you Mr. Theobalds. It’s clear we are making the best use of our scarce money. It’s not say that Vieux-Fort does not need investment. But one doubts whether the construction of a Government building is the best type of investment for the town, that already has such a building financed by the very same NIC. The type of public investments our country needs now more than ever are those that generate revenue and contribute to economic growth while improving the lives of the people.

  2. The political directorate of this struggling island appears to be completely tone deaf, whilst insulting the intelligence of thinking Saint Lucians. Ignorant or blithely dismissive of the economic consequences of the abuse of power and of the scarce resources available to the government, here again scarce national resources are again being squandered on purely political projects for purely short-term gain. The absence of any deep economic reasoning betrays a pervasive characteristic culture of national economic stupidity.

    We have the economic disaster of today’s bosom comrade in Venezuela, with a 2-day work week as a convincing example of subscribed economic silliness passing for good government and good governance. The brain-dead in the hierarchy inside and outside of the SLP seem to be following that model as a template for Saint Lucia.

    For the uninitiated, Public Finance, time and time again. demonstrates that funds collected by such government agencies as the NIC are a form of taxation on the working contributing population. They operate as veritable “slush funds” or piggy banks.

    Therefore, the abuse of those funds for purely political gains are an insult to the intelligence of forward thinking Saint Lucians. At worst, it betrays a deeply cynical approach to public expenditure outlays. Besides this, for those wielding final authority and power over the public purse, such behaviour demonstrates quite an obvious quixotic ignorance of, or mismatch regarding development economics.

  3. INTELLIGENCE OF THINKING ST.LUCIAN ? LOL
    WHO THEY BE ?
    OK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    INFRANCOIS, SHERLOCK AND BERNARD THEOBALDS ??????????
    VERY GOOD PSYCHOLOGICAL RETARDED .SATURATED SPONGE.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Anyone who has studied away from the Caribbean and has mustered the courage to return home with any expectation to stay, knows that Saint Lucia, with so many in all spheres of especially political and social life, suffering from arrested development we all know this. In Saint Lucia,” where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise”.

    Degrees alone does not prevent you from becoming the victim of “The Emperor has no clothes”, like in Frenwell, Black Bay, Grynberg and Julaffing at us.

    This jackass of up there really embodies the quintessential Saint Lucian dumb ass. This mule may or may not have a degree, or even has several. But with so many like these in our very high places, life in this country is going to get a lot worse before it ever gets better.

  5. That $60 million could have been invested in the redevelopment of Hewanorra Airport, or in the construction of low income housing for the long-suffering residents of the Mangue, or in the construction of a hotel in partnership with the Private sector or the completion of St. Jude’s and/or the Owen King Hospital.

  6. earnest ?
    what u don’t want 2 c in your yard u will find in your bed area.
    u are one desperate dolt
    i love the way u call me …JACKASS !
    U KNOW THE REASON U PUT THE JACK BEFORE THE ASS ( BECA– USE THE JACK ALWAYS UP YOUR AZZ )
    U C YOU WERE BROUGHT UP IN A PANORAMA-HOME ( WITHOUT ANY PARTITION OPEN HO– USE SEE-THROUGH OPEN YARD ) 4. THAT PARAMOUR “JACKASS” 2 PLAT HORSEY WITH YOUR M***** WHEN SHE WAS IN HER BIRTH SUIT AND WAS PROPAGATING……….. MOLESTING ALL THE UNSCHOOLED,AND UNLEARN JACKASSES.

    matlock ?
    come again !
    your party THE U W P GAVE A FREE GIFT OF US $60-80 MILLION TO CHARLES DAHER NOTHING 2 WRITE ABOUT?…… OVERNIGHT ECONOMIST.

  7. The new $65 million NIC funded edifice in VF is to be built by Rayneau. The materials needed for construction will be purchased through True Value.

  8. Edifices, bridges, roads, etc erected by a politician or a party needs to have it named after one of them … leaving behind their “legacy”!! Admit that Mr Theobalds. Unfortunately, we “Joe Blow”‘s have to pay for it.

  9. I guess the business partner and the jabal will get the siwo and myel. The rest of us will just have to retire at 80 or learn to cut grass. The usual bobol that half the nation cannot or refuse to see through. That red kool aid really dulls the pain.

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