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PM’s Office Categorically Denies Newspaper Report: CASTRIES COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL NOT FOR SALE!

By Voice Reporter
Image of Castries Comprehensive School. (PHOTO: By PhotoMike)

THE Office of the Prime Minister has categorically denied a local newspaper report that a premier Castries secondary school donated by Canada many decades ago is about to be sold to private interests for hotel construction.

The claim was made in a front-page item in the Saturday, October 13, 2018 edition of the weekly One Caribbean newspaper entitled: ‘Government Gone Mad. They Are Selling Castries Comprehensive School!’

Image of Castries Comprehensive School. (PHOTO: By PhotoMike)
Castries Comprehensive School. (PHOTO: By PhotoMike)

The Da Breo story alleges that Government is in negotiations with un-named but known persons to sell the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School (CCSS) located at Vide Boutielle.

The paper’s publisher and editor, Dennis Da Breo, wrote: “The Allen Chastanet UWP Government is now well advanced in its negotiations to sell the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School to a group of individuals, some of whom are hoteliers, others who are not, one of whom is a very rich Saint Lucian.”

While Da Breo did not identify the source of his information, he did try to inject credibility into his article.

Da Breo wrote: “There are two positive pre-requirements of being a good, reliable and dependable journalist…

“The first is that people must always be able to trust your word. The second is that those whom you deal with must be able to trust that when they give you information which you promise not to disclose to anyone else, that information would be used as it was intended to be used and nothing or no one could make you use it otherwise.”

He also wrote that ‘not publishing the names of three persons’ he’d been told the Allen Chastanet administration ‘is about to sell the school to’, along with its extended property, ‘is taking the greatest toll on me.’

In his headline, Da Breo also asked: ‘Is this the worst deal ever made in any CARICOM country?’

After ranting and raving about the negative consequences such a move could have and speculating as to what could or would have encouraged Prime Minister Chastanet to decide to sell the CCSS, Da Breo also appealed to the issue of race.

According to Da Breo’s article, ‘I take it that Prime Minister Chastanet sees himself as a leader of a country which is filled with a population of black people. We have some minority whites, but we are predominantly black and I hope the Prime Minister is not being influenced to sell the school to this person because of racial reasons.’

He continued: ‘We must stop this sale and get a guarantee from Prime Minister Allen Chastanet that he will never sell the CCSS and he would encourage whoever it is he intended to sell it to, to go and jump in a lake.’

However, Senior Communications Officer in the Office of the Prime Minister Nicole Mc Donald is not at all pleased about Da Breo’s published claims.

Contacted for verification, she told The Voice that “The Government of Saint Lucia has no current plans to do anything with the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School.”

Image of Senior Communications Officer in the Office of the Prime Minister Nicole McDonald stopped short of describing the One Caribbean report as ‘Fake News’… (PHOTO: By PhotoMike)
Senior Communications Officer in the Office of the Prime Minister Nicole McDonald stopped short of describing the One Caribbean report as ‘Fake News’… (PHOTO: By PhotoMike)

Totally dismissing Da Breo’s published claims, Mc Donald pointed out that for the CCSS to be sold or put to any other use, “there would need to be extensive consultations with persons involved.”

Although she stopped short of describing the information published in One Caribbean as ‘Fake News’, Mc Donald nonetheless described it as “unbelievable, crazy and outright incorrect.”

She told The VOICE: “At this time, I can tell you there has been no policy decision in any direction about doing anything with the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School.”

Describing the claims made in the article as “outrageous” and “against the government”, she however admitted the report “was written as if it is something that is true.”

The CCSS is the premier school of its kind on the island and was donated to Saint Lucia by the Canadian government.

Da Breo’s claim follows claims in the local press that the Government is about to enter into an arrangement to privatize the Owen King national hospital funded largely with 160 million euros by the European Union (EU).

The expectation is that if the Government privatizes a hospital gifted by the EU, it could have several negative implications, including the EU demanding repayment of the money granted for what is its largest funded project in the entire CARICOM region.

Da Breo’s claims about possible sale of the CCSS have been regarded by those aware as possibly resulting in the Canadian government taking unspecified reprisals against the Saint Lucia government for selling what was a gift to Saint Lucia several years before the island became independent in 1979.

But Mc Donald maintains there is not a grain of truth in the One Caribbean report.

She concluded her response by assuring The Voice: “I can tell you categorically that, at this moment, there are no plans to do anything with the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School!”

1 Comment

  1. To most of us, it was o.k. then to have a Court House bang in the heart of the City.
    A Printery (that which is of an Industrial nature) should not be located where it is.
    The Castries City Council building with it’s large back yard, is occupying too much
    of prime space in the city. The Castries Market with it’s much beloved history is
    Planned for renovation, upgrading and modernization, who can argue with that.
    There are times that certain things have to be done, and sometimes painful indeed
    and the medicine is sometime bitter to swallow, but good for us. V/Fort too will soon
    enjoy a rebirth, since the Americans left, and Bannans will soon get a face lift.
    I have no knowledge of the story above, but let us assume for the argument that
    there is some truth that the school is up for sale, and if so, other plans I trust are in
    place for a relocation (and that I am in favor of) and I can think of many great locations.
    It is easy to criticize any government for their programs, but if the program makes sense
    then why bother? I too, do criticize only when it is warranted, and not for political means.

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