On more than one local radio station, they are calling us “Clown Country”. Other critics insist that Saint Lucia is not a “real place”, a reference to the extraordinary things occurring in our space on a regular basis.
On social media, the characterizations of Saint Lucia have been equally damning and disparaging with people expressing disillusionment, disgust and dismay with what has been trending in their island these past 14 months since we elected the Saint Lucia Labour Party to office.
The latest horror story has to do with the decision by the Pierre government to enter into an agreement with a foreign entity for the operation of the Castries and Soufriere ports. The biggest surprise in this is the fact that no details of the agreement have been publicized, neither by SLASPA nor by the government. Since then we have heard statements by one operative of the SLP that the agreement is one for the management of the ports.
There have however, been other reports of a $47 million deal between the government and the foreign entity. These reports say that the two ports will be sold/leased to this entity for 30 years with the option of an extension for another 10 years. With the new arrangements Mr. Pierre is making for the development of Hewanorra International Airport, it means that for the first time our air and seaports will be under foreign control.
This is a shocking turnaround for the SLP which traditionally has been highly critical of foreign investment when in opposition and has been lambasting the United Workers Party with its false claim of selling our country to foreigners.
Could you believe this? A John Compton UWP administration created SLASPA in 1983. Today, this same SLASPA would, without shame put out a statement on a deal with a foreign company for the operations of our ports that says nothing about the terms and conditions of this agreement?
Our ports are national assets. Imagine, a government that includes a gentleman who has described himself as a “patriot” handing over our ports to foreigners and he sits there and raises no objection? Is this the same Stephenson King that we all know, or rather thought we knew. Is the other former SLP Prime Minister Kenny Anthony in support of the selling of our ports to foreigners? Have the big guns at SLASPA so compromised their integrity that they are prepared to sit by and watch assets that they have nurtured with great success over nearly 40 years slip into the hands of a bunch of foreigners?