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Castries Market Redevelopment Project Progressing Well

Image of the Castries Market Redevelopment Project is now underway

On Monday June 24th, the CEO of Fresh Start Construction, Andy Lake, alongside the Mayor of Castries, Peterson Francis, was pleased to announce that the construction of the first phase of the Castries Redevelopment Project was progressing well. Fresh Start is the company which was contracted by the Government of Saint Lucia for the redevelopment of the Castries Market. The entire project is expected to conclude by the end of August 2019.

Image of Castries Mayor Peterson Francis.
Castries Mayor Peterson Francis.

The Government of Saint Lucia has been criticised of late for the methods by which Fresh Start Construction was selected for the construction of the new Castries Market. Castries South representative, and Opposition member Ernest Hilaire at a press conference dated May 30th, stated that the contract for the redevelopment of the Castries Market was awarded to Fresh Start Construction without Tender. According to Hilaire, “The same works [Castries Redevelopment project] as you probably would have found out by now, is a direct award to a particular famous company to do the works at the new Market. There was no tendering, no competitive participation in choosing the best person; yet again, another direct award.” Hilaire went further to criticise the design of the new Market. In that regard he said, “I would tell you personally, I have seen the concept of the new Market and I find it to be a monstrosity, that’s my personal view. I think we should not do it, we should find a better design.”

The direct award to which Hilaire alluded raised the question as to how Fresh Start Construction was selected for the job, and whether they are suitably qualified to deliver the Castries Market Redevelopment Project. On Monday, Andy Lake, CEO of Fresh Start Construction, expressed his delight for having the opportunity to execute the Castries Redevelopment Project, after which he remarked, “There is this perception out there that Fresh Start is favoured because of political reasons, but Fresh Start is favoured because we deliver projects on time and within budget. Fresh Start does not get into cost over-runs; Fresh Start does not get into any conflicts. Because of our project execution model, we subcontract some of our services so we have the ability to be lighter on our feet in managing the project, and managing the quality and progress of construction.”

Lake went further to add, “Our track record speaks for itself. I would tell Saint Lucians that we are a local company and there are many Saint Lucians who are associated with our company. We stress the strength of our local contractors and local experts to deal with this construction. We believe that it is time that local companies be given the opportunity to be able to execute these types of projects, because in a lot of cases we’re better than or just as good as the foreign companies.”

Image of Fresh Start Construction CEO Andy Lake.
Fresh Start Construction CEO Andy Lake.

Lake further added that although Fresh Start Construction was established in 2010, the company has to its credit, “A high level of competence, integrity and a wealth of experience that is much older than the company itself.” Fresh Start Construction forms part of the Hippolyte Family Group of Companies, which is a Saint Lucian company. Lake stated that the Hippolyte family was involved in construction long before Fresh Start was formed through what was formally known as Hippolyte Equipment Services. Lake emphasised, “So we [Fresh Start] are continuing with the work that Hippolyte Equipment Services has done. We have done several projects, and so it’s not to say that within the Group of Companies that Fresh Start is new in the context of continuity for work that has been done. We are doing the work that we used to do but under a different name.”

Lake went on to petition for Saint Lucians involved in the construction field. He stated, “I think that it is time for locals, local companies, local entrepreneurs, local engineers, quantity surveyors and project managers –I think it’s time that we be given the opportunity to prove that we can do it, because the evidence is there, and that’s why we’re grasping this opportunity for the Castries Market Redevelopment Project.”

The Mayor of Castries, Peterson Francis, in his turn stated, “People complain that they would like to see certain things happen. When you do it or attempt to do it, their complaints move to a different stage: how long is the project going to take? Who was it given to? Whenever changes are being made in Saint Lucia you must come up with a bottle neck. Now that Fresh Start is doing that [Market project], people are complaining that Fresh Start should not be doing it. If it had been given to NHL, people would ask ‘why are our locals not being involved?’ You give it to a local contractor… there is still a problem. Where do we go from there?” Francis said that he does not mind complaints and criticisms as there are valid points which are sometimes made, which one can learn from, “Although the only aim is to criticise you and bring you down.”

Image of the Castries Market Redevelopment Project is now underway
The Castries Market Redevelopment Project is now underway, and expected to be completed in August.

The Mayor stated that the new Market would house approximately 200 vendors as opposed to the little more than 100 which were relocated to the substitute vending location. Not all vendors were happy with the preparations for the construction of the Castries Market as was demonstrated by the Jeremie St. provisions vendors. In the interests of persons who might be similarly affected by the other projects involved in the Castries Redevelopment Project, the Mayor stressed, “We are in the consultation phase. In regards to the William Peter Boulevard, I have just gotten a preliminary report this morning. We are doing some consultations with the people; our consultants are seeing the people and I have been to three or four meetings.”

When the Mayor was asked whether changes are expected to be made in daily vending fees after the completion of the Castries Market, he replied, “Initially we are not going to do anything. We want people to settle down; we want people to see that things are moving better.”

Allen is a reporter employed at The Voice Publishing Company. He has had a passion for reading, writing, story telling and theater for as long as he can remember. His interest in history, philosophy and the human condition, have inspired him to think deeply about life which has in turn given him many things to write about. He enjoys writing articles which educate, inspire, and enlighten the reader; and articles which provoke the reader to look at things from a fresh and different perspective.Read full bio...

1 Comment

  1. A A Mr Mayor, you looking good under that Hard Hat weee
    for a minute I thought you were the Chief Engineer till I saw
    that Tie, and most Engineers don’t where a Tie on the job,
    any way you doing good, so good luck and don’t forget to give
    God the Praise; at completion invite all churches and school kids
    to sing praises, and bless the place, no drinking there on that day.

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