LAST week, members of the Opposition Labour Party cautioned the government over its plans to demolish the abattoir in Vieux Fort, given that it was gifted to the island by the Taiwanese and its destruction would negatively affect diplomatic relations with that country.
Almost as if in response, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has announced a US $100 million dollar loan by the Taiwanese Government for the Hewanorra Airport Redevelopment Project.
In last week Thursday’s address to the Chamber of Commerce, Chastanet stated: “We have come to an agreement with the Taiwanese Government who have agreed to lend us, US $100 million to be able to do that project,”
This came only a day after Opposition members lamented the planned demolition of the Abattoir, gifted to us by the Taiwanese and their taxpayers.
SLP Chairman Moses Jn. Baptiste stated: “It is very sad that the government of St. Lucia and the Prime Minister of St. Lucia have allowed themselves to cause an over $24 million abattoir, or meat processing plant, to be demolished — a gift from the people of Taiwan and the taxpayers of St. Lucia.”
He went onto say that “All of this is happening simply because of the wishes of Teo Ah King. That’s why we continue to say that the Prime Minister and his cabinet have become puppets of Ah King.”
Former External Affairs Minister Alva Baptiste agreed with his colleague’s sentiment on the matter, stating: “Today, we are confronted with a scenario where countries are not as generous as before with official development assistance and they are very, very careful as to what jurisdictions they send taxpayers money to.
“This UWP Administration has absolutely no respect for the taxpayers of this country or foreign countries.”
Baptiste went on to call the situation with the abattoir “a casualty of a clueless and reckless administration”, saying that even if the Taiwanese may appear to understand the decision publicly, “certainly it’s going to create some injury to our diplomatic relations.”