During his recent four-day visit to the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet took the opportunity to meet with potential investors, Saint Lucians living abroad and UK citizens who have lost loved ones to crime in Saint Lucia.
The Prime Minister spoke to members of the local press on Monday during the regular pre-Cabinet media briefing where he explained that among his meetings was one with the “Pearl of the Caribbean” team to continue discussions on the proposed fully-integrated development for Vieux Fort.
“As I have been outlining, the only part of the project that we knew the details up until now is the horse racing track,” noted the Prime Minister. “We have moved on to the two new locations where Il Pirata is located and also Pointe Sables. I was given the new plans for those areas which I have to tell you I was really impressed with. So based on our discussions, we are going to formalize those arrangements and are proposing to have a meeting here in early March.”
Chastanet met with other potential investors interested in new and other projects in Saint Lucia which have been in receivership for years.
“It was a very successful trip and I came back even more encouraged,” he said.
Following his meeting with investors, the Chastanet spoke on the issue of justice in Saint Lucia and met with families who had lost loved ones to crime in Saint Lucia.
“This was extremely heart-breaking,” Chastanet said. “And I know there are many Saint Lucians who are also going through this. They feel extremely let down by the judicial system and the delays in the court hearings; the sufficiency hearings, people not showing up, getting the dates wrong. So we are talking about cases going on five, six years going unresolved. They are looking for closure in their lives.”
He continued: “I have met many Saint Lucians here at home who are equally frustrated by the judicial system and that is why you will see in our budget the amount of resources we are putting into getting the situation resolved because it is absolutely unacceptable. It was good for me to hear those things because it reinforces in my own mind that we are heading in the right direction . . . We have got to fix the court system here so it is more of a service to the people of this country.”
Chastanet said that during his meeting with the Diaspora last Saturday, which was organized by High Commissioner to London, Guy Mayers, he updated over 200 people present on the affairs of Saint Lucia.
Joining him at that meet-and-greet was Dr. Gale Rigobert, Minister for Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development and Guy Joseph, Minister for Economic Development, Housing, Urban Renewal, Transport and Civil Aviation.
“I informed them that the government was focusing on three primary areas in terms of building a new Saint Lucia. One was the current financial situation as we continue to run a deficit government and we have been borrowing quite substantially to be able to finance that deficit,” he noted.
He also spoke on the re-engineering of the public service and investment.
“There is no way that the current size of our economy can yield the revenue we need to be able to modernize Saint Lucia and make Saint Lucia a world-class destination,” said the Prime Minister. “We are not going to survive by being in the middle of the pack . . . We are only going to survive by being the best. It is not just the level of investment but also the programmes that we have.”
The Prime Minister also spoke about the development of sports, the creative industries and avenues to keep the youth engaged in order to curb crime and social ills.