IT’S TIME TO GIVE VIEUX FORT A NEW DEAL . . .

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - By Peter Josie

Af­ter the ground­work by the Ba­nana Sal­va­tion Com­mit­tee and their friends, a new voice arose in Vieux Fort ask­ing to give the town a prime min­is­ter. So went the pro­pa­ganda of 1997. Now twenty years later it’s time for stock­tak­ing. And what do we find? How has Vieux Fort changed for the bet­ter? Those who refuse to see can­not seem to free them­selves of an abu­sive sit­u­a­tion. The same lot is back op­pos­ing and now plans to make hay of the backs of the poor little rep­tiles on Maria Islet; a last desperate bid by those who will drown in the sea of their own de­ceit and hypocrisy. The mas­quer­ade of forked tongues knows no lim­its. But the mu­sic is all but over. It stopped with IMPACS and the Gryn­berg oil deal.

The ap­par­ent dis­sat­is­fac­tion with DSH is a di­a­bol­i­cal po­lit­i­cal ma­noeu­vre by po­lit­i­cal op­er­a­tives that have lost all pride. No one is fooled! As the say­ing goes you can fool some of the peo­ple some of the time but you can­not fool all the peo­ple all of the time. Un­for­tu­nately, that tru­ism can­not stop those who deal in un­truths from try­ing to fool whoso­ever will not learn from the past.

Vieux Fort has stag­nated in the last twenty years more than it had ever done. The town has re­gressed ever since the peo­ple were misled by the 1997 pro­pa­ganda. This is the truth it has to face. The peo­ple de­clined as po­lit­i­cal op­por­tunists and back-room mon­ey­chang­ers as­cended dur­ing the last 20 years. It was as if a curse had vis­ited Vieux Fort even as it drifted slowly north from its foun­da­tion near the mouth of the Vieux Fort River and the west­ern por­tion of Vieux Fort is one of the weak­nesses of the DSH pro­pos­als. If the orig­i­nal pro­posal by the de­vel­oper was to build a race­track only, whose idea was it for him to present in­stead a broader devel­op­ment plan ques­tions: 1. Why did the for­mer SLP govern­ment sit on the DSH pro­pos­als, es­pe­cially with an ap­proach­ing elec­tion, with­out a word to the peo­ple of Vieux Fort? 2. Had they won the last gen­eral elec­tions, how long would the for­mer SLP govern­ment have waited be­fore im­ple­ment­ing the DSH project? Would it have con­sulted the peo­ple of Vieux Fort? 3. Was the orig­i­nal DSH project for a horse race track only? If yes, did the SLP govern­ment en­cour­age DSH to sub­mit a larger scheme to in­clude all of Sandy Beach, Ma Coter and He­wanorra Air­port? 4. Was there any dis­cus­sion be­tween the for­mer SLP govern­ment and DSH for the devel­op­ment of the west­ern part of Vieux Fort, in­clud­ing a ma­rina at Coco Dan and af­ford­able hous­ing and restau­rants at Black Bay and La­borie? 5. How much in­come, research in­for­ma­tion and plea­sure have the peo­ple of Vieux Fort and the south de­rived from the poor rep­tiles which sur­vived the vi­o­lent rup­tures dur­ing the for­ma­tion of these is­lands? 6. When was the CIP of­fi­cially launched and who were the for­eign­ers is­sued with Saint Lu­cian pass­ports be­fore the CIP came into ef­fect? How much money did the govern­ment col­lect for the sale of these Saint Lu­cian pass­ports? 7. Why is the SLP cre­at­ing all this smoke screen over DSH when a new UWP govern­ment seems de­ter­mined to pro­ceed with a fairly broad and am­bi­tious DSH project? 8. Will DSH cre­ate em­ploy­ment and ben­e­fit the peo­ple of Vieux Fort and the south of Saint Lu­cia? 9. Fi­nally, I join my voice to that of the many thou­sands who say it’s time to give Vieux Fort a new deal. Any right­think­ing per­son must ask: what plans do those who op­pose DSH have for Vieux Fort?

I rest my case.

If the orig­i­nal pro­posal by the de­vel­oper was to build a race­track only, whose idea was it for him to present in­stead a broader devel­op­ment plan en­com­pass­ing the beaches north and east of Vieux Fort? Frankly, no se­ri­ous devel­op­ment plan for Vieux Fort can ne­glect the west­ern part of the town. This is tan­ta­mount to an act of be­trayal of the peo­ple of Vieux Fort.

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