Letters & Opinion, Trending

National Trust or National “Mis-Trust”

DEAR MR. EDITOR
I watched the address of the Prime Minister to the National Trust on Facebook last Saturday and I have to express how impressed I was with not only his knowledge of the facts but the masterful way in which he told the background of his relationship with the Trust and, in the process, surgically exposed their hypocrisy and overt political agenda for almost an hour – all done without notes. In the crowd were the usual mostly foreign elitists more concerned with the threats hotel and resort developments pose to their precious views rather than how sustainable sources of employment and opportunity can be provided for our people. But most interestingly of all, there were also some fresh recruits and new saviours of St. Lucia – new self-appointed environmentalists, and I shall name those that I recognized on Camera – Calixte George Jr., Peter Foster, and the caped crusader himself Richard Frederick, overnight an ardent environmentalist. Is it just a strange coincidence that the new face of the Trust is littered with opponents of the Government? And is it not just as strange a coincidence that every project the Government undertakes is now detrimental to our heritage? Is it not time to wake up, people???

The PM skillfully questioned the sincerity of the members of the Trust when he queried why there was no concern voiced about dolphin parks when the SLP administration approved TWO without their knowledge or consent and yet when this Government asked for their opinion and a report PRIOR to the Government taking a decision, the Trust decided the best course of action was to spread untruths and to assassinate the character of the proposed investor online and in the minds of the public of St. Lucia. The question to be asked is how many of those people in attendance at that meeting have visited Sea World, The Miami Seaquarium or any other marine parks where animals are held in captivity and showcased to millions of visitors each year?

And whilst I have to admit I am no fan of seeing any animal in captivity, I have had the benefit of visiting such parks several times in my life in various parts of the world and I have the luxury of now determining that it is not an activity that I enjoy. However, what of the tens of thousands of St. Lucians for whom this could have been a learning opportunity, many of whom have never had the luxury of travelling abroad? Why should they be deprived of this experience? If Trust members don’t wish to visit the dolphin park, that is their prerogative.

The PM also inquired how an institution so rich in assets bestowed on it by the State, is incapable of operating at a profit? Why they would want to ask Government for Millions of dollars to build a conference facility on the same Pigeon Island they claim a dolphin facility would ruin? All over the world, parks like Pigeon Point are operated by park rangers for a fee, reading materials and memorabilia are available for purchase to sustain the facility. The PM inquired why is more not being done. Does anyone who visits Pigeon Point Island know the story of Admiral Rodney? Shame on the Trust for squandering this asset and this opportunity.

And for all the posturing and whining, it all came down to this – the systematic unmasking of a naked political agenda laid bare for all St. Lucians to see. An opposition party unable to generate any real traction and trying now to use any institution they can to pursue a failing agenda. Although the PM’s delivery was brilliant both in form and in substance, the real highlight for me was the latest legal challenge mounted by the Trust to try to prevent new headquarters being built on the site of the old derelict prison in Castries. The Trust’s argument basically hinged on the fact that the building, ignored for decades by society at large, and especially the Trust, is of historical significance (although not registered anywhere as such) and should not be demolished, and also that it houses a handful of dead salves. Now I can’t speak for the readers here, but surely the PM is correct in placing greater importance on taking care of the hundreds of living police officers desperate for a decent facility to work in rather than those who have gone before?

It is high time for the Trust to re-examine their mandate and start operating in a manner benefiting the majority of Saint Lucians and not just a few. Because the public wants what most Trust members already have- a bite of the cherry, an opportunity to make their way in the world, a real chance at prosperity. And after witnessing Saturday’s address, only Allen Chastanet is offering that. And if the Trust doesn’t realize that they are failing to win the hearts and minds of the people they are supposed to take care of, it is not only the subvention they will lose….it is the last bit of credibility they have left!!

Bin Laden

8 Comments

  1. Is this satire? Two things are possible here. Either the person who wrote this is Mr Chastenet himself, or the person who wrote this was not at the meeting and wrote what he was instructed to write.Either way, this is both a shameful and shameless attempt to discredit a stellar organization for partisan political reasons. It bears no resemblance to what actually took place and whichever coward who chooses to hide behind such a ridiculous alias is neither patriotic nor persuasive.

    1. I was not present but listened to the PM presentation and is in total agreement with the writer. I have gotten yo dislike the Trust.

  2. This piece of hogwash, right out of the hypocritical ink of the “Butu Articles“ producer, carries the shamelessness of a man, who, like his son, has absolutely no regard for truth. Indeed we have produced many mediocre persons in Saint Lucia, and no matter the amount of millions deposited in the commercial banks, their grey matter banks remain such fertile ground for stunted speech and puerile publications. So he has the gall to describe that failed, careless, clueless, rudderless, brainless Prime Minister, in such terms is “brilliant” and “masterful”. What an affront to Saint Lucians, and the entire diplomatic community, who saw and heard that dumb-head Prime Minister (and Minister of Finance!) mumbling, bumbling and grumbling, to read his own Annual Estimates of Expenditure and to articulate the Budget figure, something our kids achieve to perfection in Infant School! What was masterful about that sordid performance? Now that adopted uncle Peter Josie has stopped writing and groveling in contrived literature at the Chastanet table, Papa Chastanet has decided to fill the void? Bin Laden my foot! TOOF MAN!

  3. Reads like an infomercial. At least if you are going to write a piece like that why hide behind a fake name….further confirms your slanted story.

  4. All the talk about ‘discussion and dialogue’ regarding the Dolphin Park by the PM. As the PM was delivering his lecture the Mexicans who want to develop the Dolphin Park were in Barbados waiting for a flight to Fair Helen!!! The Dolphin Park has not gone away!

  5. Hi Bin Laden,
    I guess Obama was calling fake news when he announced your death. Cool, we can have a conversation like the PM claimed he wanted to have with the Trust, whilst allowing no questions or replies to what he said, so really a monologue, like your opinion piece. Monologue is not a conversation, so I do hope you take the time to reply. Anyway, on to the facts, or lack thereof, seeing as you appear to like facts, let’s fact check a few pieces of the PMs ‘masterful’ monologue, some you mention, some you don’t. 



    But first, a quick mention of one of your opening aspersions: political bias just because you don’t agree on certain matters. It’s convenient that the politically biased forget for example when the Trust stood against what would become the Le Paradis project under the Labour administration, on again the basis of the damage to natural habitat and archeological heritage. Further it’s not speaking against ‘every development’, just the ones that propose to scar our National Park, (which they are guardians of and have the right to speak against), and those which have skipped due process, like the intended demolition of the historic gaol without proper approvals or investigations, or excavations of sites of natural heritage before an Environmental Impact assessment is submitted and assessed, a pre-requisite of the Development Control Authority (DCA). So let’s not play the party card here, it’s cheap move, too expedient to table it against any dissent without listening to the facts around it. So we’re going to stick to the facts. (Though occasionally I might be tempted to poke fun of you, forgive me). 



    Onwards. When you say that the PM ‘skilfully questioned the sincerity when he queried’ why the Trust did not voice their concern that the previous administration when the SLP administration approved such ‘without their knowledge or consent’, I’d like you to re-read that sentence you wrote, then tell me, how do you expect them to voice concern about something done without their knowledge or consent?

    

You mention that ‘the Trust decided that the best course of action was to spread untruths and to assassinate the character of the proposed investor online’. Please find me where this was the case. Seriously, I dare you, for I have followed this issue with interest. You can’t, because it was not so. Fact. Everything the trust put out there for the matter is still there to see in public record. Though ironically, what you’re actually doing in this piece is what you wrongly claim the Trust was doing: casting aspersions based on no facts. Let’s take the PMs assertion in the monologue that there were claims of an aquarium to be built on Pigeon Island. At no point to my knowledge did the trust say that this was the case, but what was published was the developers plans, which the developer had put online themselves, showing the extent of the land they wanted to take. Facts



    When you say that the PM inquired how an institution rich in ‘assets bestowed upon it by the state is not ’ I presume what you really mean an institution tasked with the maintenance and upkeep of national monuments, parks and historical sites for the benefit of all St. Lucians and visitors. Maintenance and upkeep of such sites takes money (more than the former subvention that was used for such. Fact. 



    As you quite correctly mentioned, all over the world parks like Pigeon Island are run by park rangers for a fee, with memorabilia for sale. This too you can find in Pigeon Island currently. Can this experience be improved? Yes I agree, like anything it can, and should be! I understand that the Trust has been doing so, implementing new trails, and upgrading the visitor experience. By the way, did you know that one of the trusts plans that the PM turned down was for the construction of a gift shop where the memorabilia and reading material, (as well as the postcards the PM mentioned). can be sold properly and attractively. Fact.(So when you say ’shame on them for squandering this opportunity’ you might want to speak to the PM about that.)



    The PM also mentioned that the Trust has not erected a tent at Jazz to take the opportunity to solicit membership. I guess he missed it on his way to the VIP tent each time, because they have. Fact. I’ve been there.

    

Here’s another one you didn’t mention – the PM said that the gov’t paid on behalf of the developers for the archeological exploration of the site to be developed near Canelles. Point de Caille. He claimed nothing was found, after all the digging, but that was a convenient half truth – nothing was found on one point, but on the other point on the site significant finds of ancient pottery and even bones from an ancient burial ground were found. Facts. You can cross-check with the Archeological & Historical Society, or even Invest St. Lucia, if they’ll spill the beans. 



    As for the ruining of Pigeon Island, the Trust correctly claimed that the Dolphin facility would ruin Pigeon Island, because the developers own plans showed a facility of 37,500+ square feet requiring flat land located on Pigeon islands’ steep slopes, thus necessitating significant excavation, not to mention the paved access roads through the historical site that would scar the National Park that was designated to be kept for benefit of the people of St. Lucia, under the PM who started the political party Chastenet now leads, former PM Sir John Compton. 
I mention the latter, for seeing as you’re bent on turning this whole thing political, let’s note how you neglected to mention when you talk of faces of the Trust, amongst others, the son of Sir John even though he was clearly visible as vice chair of the council. But hey, why let such things get in the way of your myopia).



    So to use your phrase, ‘for all the posturing… it all came down to this – a systematic and naked political agenda laid bare for all St. Lucians to see.’ Indeed yes, yours in this clearly biased opinion piece, but not only, because the clearest was the PMs, as he came to a meeting with his own camera crew, claimed to want a two way conversation but would take no questions or comments to correct the many errors in his monologue, and then left with his camera crew so he could put it online with none of the grace of actually having the conversation, or allowing correction of his false ‘facts’. 



    So let’s have a conversation about this, Bin.
 (Pity you wrote under a pseudonym, and sadly that of a renowned terrorist. Not only do I not know who I have the dubious pleasure of addressing, but also they won’t know who to award one of the sidewalk contracts too now). Let’s have a conversation, but only when you’ve fact checked both the PM and me. Because you should fact check both sides before writing such a fatuous, skewed op-ed.




    R. André 

 



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