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Change is coming to Castries: Three Buildings to Make Way for Central Park!

Image of the Government Printery

CHANGE is coming to the City of Castries within months — and in a big way, one that Prime Minister Allen Chastanet is calling on St. Lucians to ‘get ready’ for.

But it is a change that is not unheard of, as it is part of a plan elaborated by the late Prime Minister Sir John Compton in his first and only budget address in the House of Assembly after his United Workers Party won General Elections back in 2006.

Image of the Government Printery
The Government Printery is on the knock-down list to build-up a new Castries City.

The plan by Sir John, which was all part of the national development plan for the country, was to divide St. Lucia into four separate economic ‘quadrants’.

The City of Castries featured quite nicely in the development plan. However, this plan could not be implemented due to dissension inside Compton’s government over relations between Taiwan and China, followed by Sir John falling gravely ill and his subsequent death.

It seems that the aspect of that plan having to do with the City of Castries is about to be implemented, according to comments made by Prime Minister Chastanet, just days ago at the signing ceremony marking the twinning of Castries in St. Lucia to that of Taipei in Taiwan.

Although he did not detail the depth of the change coming to the City, he said enough to impress on those who heard that the change was imminent — just around the corner.

For instance, the PM said that an agency called UNOPS will, in upcoming weeks, present a first draft of the renovation plan for the city.

Featured prominently in the plan is the demolition of the Government Printery that sits at the corner of Jeremie and Laborie Streets, the demolition of the Parliament Building on Laborie Street and that of the courthouse (also in the same street).

“I’m hoping to have that done at the end of the year,” Chastanet said referring to the demolition of the aforementioned buildings.

The area, he said will be transformed into a park in keeping with the modernization of cities the world over.

The prime minister is calling for the procrastination in doing what is necessary to change the City of Castries into its full potential to stop.

Everyone walking the streets of Castries could see that the city is in need of change, he said.

Chastanet even tied into the plan for Castries the current review into the operations of the Castries Constituencies Council that has upset several of its members, including Mayor Peterson Francis to some extent.

According to the prime minister, the audit is all about structural processes and looking at the things that the country needs to do right to improve the City of Castries — a theme he hopes the planners for the country’s 40th anniversary of independence are looking at closely.

He extoled Mayor Francis’ work to improve the city, noting that perhaps some of the things Francis did to have vexed some people may have been as a result of the bureaucracy he may have encountered in wanting to do what is right.

In the end, the signing ceremony that made Castries and Taipei sister cities went on without a hitch, with Taiwan’s Ambassador to St. Lucia Douglas Chen stating that the signing set a new milestone between the new cities and marks the culmination of nearly a year of relentless work on the part of staff of both cities.

Ambassador Chen noted that Taiwan is committed to providing whatever support it can to help the City of Castries become a successful city and listing numerous programmes Taiwan had assisted St. Lucia with

“In the years to come, we can anticipate more interaction and more projects between Castries and Taipei, to share experiences and expertise,” Ambassador Cheng said.

Mayor Francis said the signing of the sister city agreement marks the beginning of a notable journey and partnership between the two cities.

“We are thrilled and honoured to take your hand in marriage as we undertake the voyage of developing our city, as we seek innovative ways of delivering quality facilities, but moreover, programmes and projects to benefit both the residents and visitors to the city,” Francis said.

According to him, the partnership will make its own unique impact towards achieving the ideals and ideas, aims and objections and transformative approach and agenda of a new Castries.

“Let this new partnership be the guide which thickens and binds our diplomatic relations. Let it construct the tower for the development of Castries and St. Lucia by extension. Let it be a partnership which contribute meaningfully,” Francis said.

He described the twinning of the two cities as ‘the birth of a new dawn” and pledged fully to commit to it.

Micah George is an established name in the journalism landscape in St. Lucia. He started his journalism tutelage under the critical eye of the Star Newspaper Publisher and well known journalist, Rick Wayne, as a freelancer. A few months later he moved to the Voice Newspaper under the guidance of the paper’s recognized editor, Guy Ellis in 1988.

Since then he has remained with the Voice Newspaper, progressing from a cub reporter covering court cases and the police to a senior journalist with a focus on parliamentary issues, government and politics. Read full bio...

2 Comments

  1. “——-it is part of a plan elaborated by the late Prime Minister Sir John Compton——-back in 2006——
    “——-this plan could not be implemented due to dissension inside Compton’s government——and his subsequent death.”
    What I do remember, it was during a time as far back or a little earlier,I did muse on such matters due
    to my background and my frequent visits to St.Lucia, I did write first of all concerning the relocation of
    the Government Printery, for the purpose of proper Zoning, that such activity should be located in an
    ‘Industrial Zone’ and not in a prime commercial Zone as down town.
    I can only say that I do remember writing about the ‘Court house’ that it should be relocated on a spot
    just south of the river and the bridge, with land cleared adjacent to the old Police Station on bridge street.

    What I would like to say right now, HOLD ON, DON’T RUSH THIS THING.I would prefer that some thing
    be done at ‘Bannan’ for improvement, take a look at Wilton Yard,Foux-a-Choud, Lesley Land Morn Dudon
    have a look at George V Park (the Gardens) there’s much to do on and around Castries Town, and not to
    start ripping things up because our Water Pipe dreams tell us to tween with some rich Orient City with lots of
    money. Now if they are going to finance the whole damn thing, do it with acceptable Plans, well debated on.

    I see debates on V/Fort which now exist in a form in my mind between Fou-a-Chour/La-Toc and Las Vegas
    what’s it going to look like when I awake, I don’t really know but don’t wake me up if a Las Vegas Like don’t happen; but I can dream can’t I, I’ll look through my old files before I come to Castries and that crazy plan.

    .
    .

  2. “The area, he said will be transformed into a Park in keeping with the modernization
    of Cities the World over” —–” an agency called UNOPS will———present the first Draft
    of the renovation plan for the City.” All well and good, but my concern is, who will pay for
    all this.After the great fire of Castries, and really, not too long after the second world War,
    the British did what they could in the design and construction of some of our notable Buildings
    in the City. The absolute ugliest is the combined Parliament and Government offices. But to
    demolish these buildings and to transform the grounds into a Park? Just think about it, only
    in your dreams.I’ll tell you what you will end up with.Your local Vendors (the Castries market)
    folks are only waiting for these open spaces, to claim squatting rights to sell their goods.
    They will come very early with tables, benches, plastic coverings both for the weather and
    perishable goods and up comes the authorities threatening to evict or else. It wont work.
    Now, here’s my 2 cents worth. REBUILD A DECENT LOOKING PARLIAMENT BUILDING
    RIGHT BACK ON THE SPOT. Build a new central Library right on the site of the present
    Court house. Turn the present Central Library into a new IT College only for the local kids.
    I have more to say about the CDC residential buildings, but that’s for another time.
    .

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