PRESS RELEASE:-Vieux Fort, St. Lucia – July 21, 2017 – The Vieux-Fort Concerned Citizens Coalition for Change (VFCCCC) will undertake a number of activities to increase and sustain local and national interest in the DSH Deal and to ensure that the substantive issues relating to this deal are fully understood by the public through disclosure, discussion, dialogue and debate.
The first of these activities is a Whistle-Stop Tour to be conducted on July 23, 2017. This Tour is intended to sensitize, inform/educate or heighten the awareness of residents of some southern communities about the potential impacts of the Desert Star Holdings Ltd. Project being implemented in the Vieux-Fort Area. The targeted communities are Micoud, Anse Ger, Desrusiseaux, Belle-Vue, Morne Cayenne, Pierrot, Aupicon, La Ressource, Cantonment, Augier, Laborie, Vieux-Fort. There will be brief stops in these communities for short presentations on the project. The tour will conclude at Independence Square in Vieux-Fort.
At the selected communities the VF4Cs will highlight some main concerns (key talking points) arising from the DSH Project including: Guaranteed jobs for St. Lucians; Loss of existing local jobs/livelihoods; Loss of St. Lucia’s patrimony in particular Ma Kote Mangrove, Sandy Beach & Maria Islands; Loss of 900 acres of prime land for agriculture, housing, food production and ensuring food security; The negative consequences of establishing an Equine Disease Free Zone; Financing the DSH Project from the sale of St. Lucia’s passports and the track records of Teo Ah Khing and Jack Lam as investors.
The VF4Cs reaffirm its support for foreign investment to boost employment and economic development in this small island state. However, there has not been adequate disclosure to and engagement with the citizenry of St. Lucia by the Prime Minister on this enormous project that will impact St. Lucian lives, livelihoods, businesses, natural resources, patrimony, present and future development programmes. The legally binding terms and conditions, decisions and pertinent implementation details of the DSH Deal and Project cannot be the exclusive domain of the Prime Minister and the Master Developer. These must become public information so that the citizens can review them and make a determination regarding how they will potentially impact their lives and future.
It is worth reminding the Prime Minister of the universal acceptance of the principle of citizen participation in development. That includes letting those in power know and understand their views on issues which concern/affect them. There are numerous examples to show that leaders of different government regimes who have consistently and contemptuously disregarded this principle plunged their countries into chaos and paid the ultimate price. Therefore, it is imperative that the citizens of this country have access to information on the DSH Project.
The VF4Cs will continue to insist that there must be a broad national debate on the DSH Deal leading towards negotiation for a better deal. The Prime Minister must understand this and replace his aloofness, disrespect and contempt displayed so far towards the citizens of this country on the DSH Deal with sensitivity, maturity, transparency, openness and all-inclusive engagement. The DSH Project is not a simple 200-room hotel. It is a huge project proposal that will more than likely have, for 99 years and beyond, enormous negative consequences for St. Lucia than positive ones. It is this that remains a frightening prospect to the VF4Cs and the group will continue to share this concern with as many people, including nationals of St. Lucia resident on the island and elsewhere on this planet.