Cas­tries a bas­in­ful of waste from the hills

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

By Gwyn­neth Hockey

From the hardly dis­in­ter­ested per­spec­tive of so­cial trans­for­ma­tion and lo­cal gov­ern­ment min­is­ter Har­ald Dal­san, Cas­tries is “a beau­ti­ful city.” The Soufriere MP made his dec­la­ra­tion on Thurs­day at a swear­ing-in cer­e­mony for the mayor Shirley Lewis and fel­low coun­cil­lors. The venue was the mayor’s of­fice on Peynier Street.

By sev­eral ac­counts some­thing of a fun­ny­man, Dalson may well have been en­joy­ing a pri­vate joke when he said the coun­cil had done “tremen­dous work, though there re­mains much to be done.” Few would dis­agree with the last ob­ser­va­tion.

Nev­er­the­less, he was not al­to­gether out of touch with re­al­ity, a fact man­i­fested by his bold ac­knowl­edge­ment that the public’s per­cep­tion of the Cas­tries Con­stituen­cies Coun­cil was “neg­a­tive.” Over the years, a num­ber of dis­grun­tled em­ploy­ees have taken the coun­cil to court. One par­tic­u­lar pending mat­ter could end with tax­pay­ers hav­ing to pay mil­lions of dol­lars in dam­ages to a for­mer coun­cil worker who sued for wrong­ful dis­missal.

“I want us to reach out to the mar­ket ven­dors,” said the politi­cian Dal­san, “to em­brace them, be­cause to­day it feels like they are anti-coun­cil . . . talk to them and bring on board their ideas, if we can. Talk to the ven­dors, staff, care­tak­ers and do as much as we can with our limited re­sources.”

Harold Dal­san later pre­sented the wooden mace to Mayor Lewis. Her deputy Everis­tus Jn Marie looked on pride­fully. Nei­ther he nor she was elected by the peo­ple of “the beau­ti­ful city.” Both oc­cupy their lofty po­si­tions cour­tesy of the Kenny An­thony gov­ern­ment.

For her part, the mayor de­scribed Cas­tries as “a touris­tic city” by which she meant “an area which heav­ily re­lies on vis­i­tors to the is­land; an im­por­tant city.”

When I later in­ter­viewed Mayor Lewis she said: “It’s an hon­our to be re-ap­pointed. The re­spon­si­bil­i­ties do not change; if any­thing, they are en­larged. It is some­thing that I sup­pose goes with the job. We try to ed­u­cate peo­ple in keep­ing the city clean but then it is not just our re­spon­si­bil­ity. You have to re­mem­ber that Cas­tries is a basin. Ev­ery­thing that hap­pens up there comes down into the flat. Ev­ery­thing on the hill comes into the flat. So when you throw garbage out your back door, when it rains, it is com­ing down for us. The other thing, of course, is we have to ex­hort other min­istries to get in­volved. For ex­am­ple, we do not clean rivers and large gut­ters. That as­pect of it is put un­der the charge of peo­ple like Solid Waste and In­fra­struc­ture. All work­ers al­ready clean the city it­self but there’s a lot more that can be done, you know. A lot, lot more. Hope­fully, we will en­deav­our to do that.”

The last no­table speaker at the cer­e­mony was the deputy prime min­is­ter Philip J. Pierre. On be­half of the coun­cil he pleaded for public re­spect, firm lead­er­ship, as well as fair­ness. He also ap­pealed to fel­low politi­cians to at­tend coun­cil meet­ings. He ac­knowl­edged the hard-work­ing CCC em­ploy­ees de­served a pay raise. Alas, the tough fis­cal cli­mate made that dif­fi­cult, the min­is­ter said. As if to con­sole the al­leged un­der­paid work­ers, Pierre also re­minded them that it had been some time since gov­ern­ment min­is­ters gave them­selves a pay hike.

“You have to work to­gether,” he ad­vised the coun­cil­lors.“Unite in the job you are se­lected to do.” At least, he didn’t say Cas­tries was clean or beau­ti­ful or a touris­tic basin that col­lects all the waste from the sur­round­ing hills via Marc­hand, his own con­stituency!

Shirley Lewis (hold­ing mace) sur­rounded by newly ap­pointed coun­cil mem­bers.

Stand­ing: Harold Dal­san (ex­treme left) and Phillip J Pierre (ex­treme right).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saint Lucia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.