Features

The Cart Before The Horse

By Kensley Charlemagne, PRO, SWDAG

PRESS RELEASE – AT the second town hall meeting organized by the Sustainable and Well-Planned Development Action Group (SWDAG) at Morne Sion in Choiseul, over 70 people in attendance were greeted with many unexpected announcements by Minister and District Representative, Bradly Felix, supported by Pinkley Francis, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Invest St. Lucia.

The first big surprise was the admittance that the Development Control Authority (DCA) has not given the final approval for the Sab Wisha Fairmont St. Lucia Hotel Resort project. That admittance only came to the fore after the audience was being told numerous times that the project was “Approved in Principle”, leaving many to believe the project was already approved. The ground-breaking ceremony had already taken place with great fanfare and red carpet treatment, so one could be excused for thinking that the hotel project was already approved.

An intelligent and articulate female SALCC student from Morne Sion explained to the audience that “Approval in Principle” is an ongoing process in which final approval is being sought. Members of the head table had to concur and that led to a barrage of other surprised announcements.

SWDAG, as well as many members of the town hall audience, found it amiss that given the previous assertions by the two distinguished gentlemen (Hon. Felix and Mr. Francis), that an Environmental and Social Impacted Assessment, which had long been spoken of, was only recently submitted to the DCA.

The group’s biggest gripe, up to this date, is that the developers appear not to have met the conditions for which the Approval in Principle was granted, which may be in contravention of the Physical Planning and Development Act.

A letter was sent from the DCA to the GP Group’s lawyer declaring “Approval in Principle for Touristic Land Use and Concept Block 0223B parcel 78, 79 and 80, Portalese, Choiseul, Application Registration Number: 112/16”.

The Approval in Principle was given, subject to 7 conditions, among which was the advertisement of the project proposal. In that letter, specifications were detailed in regard to the requirements for the advertisement. The letter dated April 22, 2016 requested that a notice be placed in two consecutive issues of a leading newspaper. Simultaneously, a signboard notification was to be placed in a visible location on the proposed site.

Among several specifications for the signboard, was a note that was to be inscribed unto the board reading, “Any resident or landowner, wishing to make comment and or recommendations on this proposed development is required to make a submission in writing by ……………………. 2016 to the Executive Secretary, Development Control Authority, P.O. Box 709, Castries.” To date, the people of Choiseul cannot vouch to have seen such a signboard.

Why was this process not done? This was a question asked to the head table to which Mr. Francis answered:

“We are not the DCA. That’s a question for the DCA to answer….From my own experience with the DCA, if an Approval in Principle letter is submitted to you, you are given a certain timeframe to put up the relevant signs…Like I indicated to you, nothing happens unless the law of the land is adhered to. So when the gentleman is given Approval in Principle, there are certain preconditions and every single one of them must be met before they move forward.”

As a group, SWDAG stands with Mr. Francis, who lectured that, “We should not allow the development of this country to be influenced by politicians alone. We as a people need to know what we want.”

The group is of the view that the cart may have been put before the horse in this project and requests the necessary authorities to go back and ensure that all processes are followed because the people of Choiseul would like to have their say on the development of their community.

SWDAG is hoping for a town hall meeting at La Pointe, Choiseul with representatives of the project developers and Fairmont Resorts. All town hall meetings are to facilitate consultation, information-sharing among Choiseulians, other interested Saint Lucians, government agencies and the investors. AT the second town hall meeting organized by the Sustainable and Well-Planned Development Action Group (SWDAG) at Morne Sion in Choiseul, over 70 people in attendance were greeted with many unexpected announcements by Minister and District Representative, Bradly Felix, supported by Pinkley Francis, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Invest St. Lucia.

The first big surprise was the admittance that the Development Control Authority (DCA) has not given the final approval for the Sab Wisha Fairmont St. Lucia Hotel Resort project. That admittance only came to the fore after the audience was being told numerous times that the project was “Approved in Principle”, leaving many to believe the project was already approved. The ground-breaking ceremony had already taken place with great fanfare and red carpet treatment, so one could be excused for thinking that the hotel project was already approved.

An intelligent and articulate female SALCC student from Morne Sion explained to the audience that “Approval in Principle” is an ongoing process in which final approval is being sought. Members of the head table had to concur and that led to a barrage of other surprised announcements.

SWDAG, as well as many members of the town hall audience, found it amiss that given the previous assertions by the two distinguished gentlemen (Hon. Felix and Mr. Francis), that an Environmental and Social Impacted Assessment, which had long been spoken of, was only recently submitted to the DCA.

The group’s biggest gripe, up to this date, is that the developers appear not to have met the conditions for which the Approval in Principle was granted, which may be in contravention of the Physical Planning and Development Act.

A letter was sent from the DCA to the GP Group’s lawyer declaring “Approval in Principle for Touristic Land Use and Concept Block 0223B parcel 78, 79 and 80, Portalese, Choiseul, Application Registration Number: 112/16”.

The Approval in Principle was given, subject to 7 conditions, among which was the advertisement of the project proposal. In that letter, specifications were detailed in regard to the requirements for the advertisement. The letter dated April 22, 2016 requested that a notice be placed in two consecutive issues of a leading newspaper. Simultaneously, a signboard notification was to be placed in a visible location on the proposed site.

Among several specifications for the signboard, was a note that was to be inscribed unto the board reading, “Any resident or landowner, wishing to make comment and or recommendations on this proposed development is required to make a submission in writing by ……………………. 2016 to the Executive Secretary, Development Control Authority, P.O. Box 709, Castries.” To date, the people of Choiseul cannot vouch to have seen such a signboard.

Why was this process not done? This was a question asked to the head table to which Mr. Francis answered:

“We are not the DCA. That’s a question for the DCA to answer….From my own experience with the DCA, if an Approval in Principle letter is submitted to you, you are given a certain timeframe to put up the relevant signs…Like I indicated to you, nothing happens unless the law of the land is adhered to. So when the gentleman is given Approval in Principle, there are certain preconditions and every single one of them must be met before they move forward.”

As a group, SWDAG stands with Mr. Francis, who lectured that, “We should not allow the development of this country to be influenced by politicians alone. We as a people need to know what we want.”

The group is of the view that the cart may have been put before the horse in this project and requests the necessary authorities to go back and ensure that all processes are followed because the people of Choiseul would like to have their say on the development of their community.

SWDAG is hoping for a town hall meeting at La Pointe, Choiseul with representatives of the project developers and Fairmont Resorts. All town hall meetings are to facilitate consultation, information-sharing among Choiseulians, other interested Saint Lucians, government agencies and the investors.AT the second town hall meeting organized by the Sustainable and Well-Planned Development Action Group (SWDAG) at Morne Sion in Choiseul, over 70 people in attendance were greeted with many unexpected announcements by Minister and District Representative, Bradly Felix, supported by Pinkley Francis, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Invest St. Lucia.

The first big surprise was the admittance that the Development Control Authority (DCA) has not given the final approval for the Sab Wisha Fairmont St. Lucia Hotel Resort project. That admittance only came to the fore after the audience was being told numerous times that the project was “Approved in Principle”, leaving many to believe the project was already approved. The ground-breaking ceremony had already taken place with great fanfare and red carpet treatment, so one could be excused for thinking that the hotel project was already approved.

An intelligent and articulate female SALCC student from Morne Sion explained to the audience that “Approval in Principle” is an ongoing process in which final approval is being sought. Members of the head table had to concur and that led to a barrage of other surprised announcements.

SWDAG, as well as many members of the town hall audience, found it amiss that given the previous assertions by the two distinguished gentlemen (Hon. Felix and Mr. Francis), that an Environmental and Social Impacted Assessment, which had long been spoken of, was only recently submitted to the DCA.

The group’s biggest gripe, up to this date, is that the developers appear not to have met the conditions for which the Approval in Principle was granted, which may be in contravention of the Physical Planning and Development Act.

A letter was sent from the DCA to the GP Group’s lawyer declaring “Approval in Principle for Touristic Land Use and Concept Block 0223B parcel 78, 79 and 80, Portalese, Choiseul, Application Registration Number: 112/16”.

The Approval in Principle was given, subject to 7 conditions, among which was the advertisement of the project proposal. In that letter, specifications were detailed in regard to the requirements for the advertisement. The letter dated April 22, 2016 requested that a notice be placed in two consecutive issues of a leading newspaper. Simultaneously, a signboard notification was to be placed in a visible location on the proposed site.

Among several specifications for the signboard, was a note that was to be inscribed unto the board reading, “Any resident or landowner, wishing to make comment and or recommendations on this proposed development is required to make a submission in writing by ……………………. 2016 to the Executive Secretary, Development Control Authority, P.O. Box 709, Castries.” To date, the people of Choiseul cannot vouch to have seen such a signboard.

Why was this process not done? This was a question asked to the head table to which Mr. Francis answered:

“We are not the DCA. That’s a question for the DCA to answer….From my own experience with the DCA, if an Approval in Principle letter is submitted to you, you are given a certain timeframe to put up the relevant signs…Like I indicated to you, nothing happens unless the law of the land is adhered to. So when the gentleman is given Approval in Principle, there are certain preconditions and every single one of them must be met before they move forward.”

As a group, SWDAG stands with Mr. Francis, who lectured that, “We should not allow the development of this country to be influenced by politicians alone. We as a people need to know what we want.”

The group is of the view that the cart may have been put before the horse in this project and requests the necessary authorities to go back and ensure that all processes are followed because the people of Choiseul would like to have their say on the development of their community.

SWDAG is hoping for a town hall meeting at La Pointe, Choiseul with representatives of the project developers and Fairmont Resorts. All town hall meetings are to facilitate consultation, information-sharing among Choiseulians, other interested Saint Lucians, government agencies and the investors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *