AS St. Lucia forges forward by way of its growing tourism product, the upsurge in banana production and the registration of corporate offices like Digicel, KPMG and Guyana Trinidad Mutual to name but a few remain the primary causes for the significant reduction in unemployment.
2018 will be a booming year for St. Lucia as a number of projects highlighted in 2017 have now come to fruition, paving the way for these projects to move into high gear. The first phase of the DSH project (the horse racing track) is scheduled to be completed and operational not later than December 13, 2018. The home porting facility in the south will commence in the latter half of August 2018. The Sab Richard project commences March 2018. The 400-room Sandals Resort together with a state-of-the-art 600-room conference centre commences on March 30, 2018.
The enhancement of the Cap Golf Course under the supervision of Greg Norman to include swimming pools and tennis courts (will be undertaken) in the latter half of 2018 based on deepened discussions and agreements with the cruise lines, thereby creating an added attraction for cruise passengers who have varied interests. The EC$400 million advanced payment by Taiwan which was negotiated by way of a loan repayment on a $1.50 per gallon petrol tax is completed and a number of interior roads, including the back roads between Castries and Gros Islet, are well on the way with a number of local contractors benefiting from the various contracts.
The government’s decision to move forward with the Banannes Bay area is nothing more than a blessing in disguise. This area has been a burning disgrace for years and I am not able to fathom the reasons for this prolonged delay. The handful of squatters in our view can easily be relocated within the environs adjacent to the waterfront and the hideous array of truck chassis and containers are nothing more than a national disgrace.
The concerns of the MP for Castries South are incomprehensible as the SLP administration have been responsible for the area for at least 20 years while for 15 years their former leader was Prime Minister of the State and little was done to address the squalor despite deepened concerns by Sir John Compton to remedy the rot.
Every project formulated by this administration thus far has been contested by the SLP; consequently, St. Lucians have reached the stage where they now consider the opposition as a group of individuals hell-bent on keeping St. Lucia on the back burner while other islands continue to progress. Despite the challenges in Antigua, the Antigua government/port authority are now in the throes of spending EC$250 million on a new port and here in St. Lucia in 2018 we continue to use our capital (Castries) as a container park while waterfront lands like Banannes Bay and Vigie Cove remain as derelict infrastructural eye sores. The current administration must make every effort to relocate the cargo area to Cul-de-Sac as soon as possible to meet the competition to which St. Lucia is now exposed.
St. Lucians should take a trip to Cul-de-Sac and visit the premises of West Indies Shipping AND NOTE WHAT PRIVATE ENTREPRENEURSHIP CAN ACHIEVE. This is a well-designed cargo facility living up to modern-day standards which can be easily duplicated within the 200 acres of land owned by government in the Cul-de-Sac valley. Hopefully, the PM’s decision to commence works on the relocation of the police headquarters and the Coast Guard will materialize before the end of 2018.
Rome was not built in one day, neither will St. Lucia, but towards the end of 2020 St. Lucia will be a completely new destination as the Hewanorra Airport would have been completed and the DSH project will be in its second stage not taking into account the above highlighted projects.
Finally, we must commend the Mayor of Castries, Peterson Francis, on his remarkable achievements and we must admit that with his input in the Banannes Bay project will surely be a pinnacle of his achievements.
By Political Observer