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Secret SLP Castries Port Deal Leaves Vieux Fort Dead In the Water, Again

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The SLP Government’s continued secrecy on the details surrounding the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for our main seaport to Global Port Holdings sparks a blatant indifference to the people’s right to know and the perpetual hypocrisy of the current administration.

Scant official information has been released about this deal which will have a major impact on the operation of our ports and affect the livelihoods of stakeholders including vendors, taxi drivers, tour operators, tenants of facilities at the Castries port and significantly impact the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports ability to be viable.

There has been no consultation at all on this issue, as has occurred with so many other issues since this administration took office.

Even more alarming is that the Government reportedly invited no media to the signing of the October 20th 2022 Memorandum of Understanding with the foreign entity who will reportedly own Saint Lucia’s main port and the Government only released a vague report from the office of the Prime Minister.

There was no opportunity for questions or additional information about the project. Neither has the Government, which campaigned under the banner of transparency and challenged the signing of a framework agreement with DSH, released the MOU with GPH to the public.

The question must be asked: What is the Government hiding? What was the temptation to rush this deal?

I have noted that neither the citizens that this project will directly impact nor the media or the wider public have been given the opportunity to review the deal before the MOU was signed.

There is also growing concern that the signing with GPH for the Castries and Soufriere ports will mean that the southern Home Port project which was scheduled for Vieux Fort is dead in the water.

The Home Port plan for Vieux Fort was expected to attract a certain class of ships, which would enable Saint Lucia to be more competitive as well as provide increased economic activity in Vieux Fort and surrounding southern communities, such as Laborie, Micoud and Choiseul.

The agreement by the UWP administration with Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean would have seen the Government achieve both the southern port and the upliftment of Castries, without sacrificing much needed revenue.

The Vieux Fort port would have been able to accommodate the latest and most innovative ships in the cruise industry, with the additional attraction of the proximity of the Hewanorra Airport, the construction of St Jude hospital and the horse racing track, as well as hotel projects earmarked for the south. This would by extension spread the economic activity throughout Saint Lucia.

During my tenure as Prime Minister, I prioritized the south as a strategic area for development. The prospect of the Home Port project in the south is being shelved as well as other southern projects.

A home port generates significantly more revenue to the state than any other type of cruise business that would be coming into St. Lucia. Home porting would pay your airport tax, hence more people would be contributing toward the cost of the airport. Then you would have pre- and post day visitors who are coming in early and are staying a couple of days before they catch their ship.

There’s also a greater opportunity to grow attractions in the South than there is in the North. The prospects for increased business for taxi drivers, the impact on the improved value for Saint Lucians that own property, the employment that would have been created in the south is all out the window with this deal.

The Opposition notes that it’s more alarming that SLP MPs for these constituencies would turn a blind eye as this deal was signed.

The expectations of the people of the south have been dashed once again by the SLP who continuously show that the development of the south is not a priority and that it never would be. They stopped St. Jude, stopped road developments and now an item that was included in the Labour Party manifesto has gone the same way.

Questions also surround whether Saint Lucia is forfeiting too much in the GPH deal, with the developer expected to put in $47 million, yet make an estimated over $300 million.

There are so many more questions than answers. Revenue collected by Invest Saint Lucia and SLASPA, could be in jeopardy.

Will rents increase for tenants at Pointe Seraphine or La Place Carenage? What about the vendors arcade? Will they be able to afford the costs imposed by the new company?

We’re talking about a private concessionaire, who is primarily concerned with generating a return.

When the United Workers Party received the GPH deal this was among the reasons it was not signed as well as the condition that there would not be a Vieux Fort home port project.

The UWP’s plan was to build a hotel at Pointe Seraphine, improve the city of Castries, move the container port to Cul-de-Sac in order to free up that land and create more commercial activity.

Why has the Government rushed into this deal?

Why have they not been made public?

What are the terms of the deal?

Has due diligence been done on GPH and other ports they manage?

What are the terms under which GPH will receive a return on their investment?

What will be the role of SLASPA?

What will happen with the rental costs for the vendor’s facility?

Meanwhile, I am still hopeful that a Home Port will be built in Vieux Fort and that the SLP Government will honour the agreements made with Carnival Corporation and consider the benefits for the entire island. The Opposition calls for consultation and for the full agreement to come before the public for scrutiny.

I am also calling on previously vocal pressure groups to find their voice once again and demand that the SLP administration fulfill its campaign promise of transparency. Based on the current trend there has been no evidence that they intend to practice what they preach.

SOURCE: Office of the Leader of the Opposition, Allen Chastanet

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25 COMMENTS

  1. Chas hush your rAss hole! Who was more secretive than you? The gas tax; DSH; Range deal; etc, etc. You are just a piece of 💩 and the death of UWP!

  2. This has got to be the pot calling the kettle black… where was the transparency with CABOT? .?.?.?.?. “…..There was no opportunity for questions or additional information about the project. Neither has the Government, which campaigned under the banner of transparency and challenged the signing of a framework agreement with DSH,”….. Cap Estate has been turned upside down thanks to youREUWP PHOCKIN Underhandded deal wit Canadian mfs Cabot, that 0ver 200 acres of land that’ cabot covered in sand is now SAND the SEABED descecrating and suffocating our sensitive precious reef systems on the north tip of St. Lucia ….yh but who’s talking about that!? nOONE SMPH…….

  3. The Chinese is coming for us. The money hungry politicians is selling St. Lucia at a extremely rapid rate. Please learn the Chinese alphabet and language because it is inevitable at this point no turning back. Also watch what the IMF, CDB and other US link organization will do to us in the near future. Chinese buying out the air and sea port. Talking about that what happen to the millions that was collected from the increase of TAX under the UWP? We pay premium cost for entering and exiting our country. Politicians don’t put the people 1st the put their pocket as priority everyday.

  4. This article is the biggest joke ever. Stop with the smear campaign and let it country heal. PWU not in power any more so they want to take down the whole country with their nonsensical claims. Do not be fooled by wicked men and their gullible goons.

  5. Look what they did in Jamaica,they own the port take a look at Dominica. St.Lucia is no longer ours..

  6. The Chinese are devaluing their currency to increase trade because they have aciculate their wealth is mass reserved don’t let no one fool you. The key industry the Chinese are interested in are Natural Resource, Air & Shipping Ports, Telcom and Technologies. You cannot lay blame at them because right under our nose our said politicians refuse to cut spending by building government structure instead, they are splitting up one ministry into several sections renting from a certain private business here. Again, i won’t blame such private individual because if we have numskulls for politicians this is what happens. We can bark all we want, it won’t change anything. We are still to develop a vibrant Agriculture industry to feed our nation and to foster local manufacturing, they have ZERO interest in that regard. In the short tern the Chinese will take over our seamoss industry and generate income for there country. All the Chinese companies that are outside of China including your fav. Chinese restaurant are sending back money to the Xi Ping (china economy) when Lucians send money back home here for their family where does it go – MASSY & S&S. lmao

  7. THESE CHINESE WILL CONTROL THE PEOPLE OF ST LUCIA LOOK AT DOMINICA SAD DONT WORRY OMG IM SCARED OUR PORTS ST LUCIANS WAKE UP..THESE CHIN CHON PJP WHAT ARE YOU DOING SLP NEVER GOOD FOR ST LUCIAN LOOK AT GRINBERG

  8. Blockhead..cap estate is private property not government owned…..what about the st.lucians in the diaspora HELIAR was saying wanted to come an invest here..where are they…how many have come??..bunch of brainless gullible jacka55e5

  9. Hilaire should be jailed. This type of illegal deal has this guy’s name all over it. The uwp opposition should take the government to court over this purported sale to push it dead it the water. They should make sure to do that. wars are going on, Hilaire is selling St lucia’s ports to the Chinese? is Hilaire crazy? we need this guy in jail and handcuffs asap.

  10. You st lucia times, where is comment on jailing hilaire and taking the government to court over this sale? this is serious!! you dont understand what is going on in ukraine? you dont understand that the americans have already declared that covid was leaked from a chinese lab and therefore a bio-weapon? you dont understand that china coming for taiwan soon? you dont understand that there can be war soon and that hilaire has forking sold the caribbean’s most valuable deep habour to some chinese entity? u morons are ill-educated!! when it comes to my country’s interest i dont give a fork about politicians ! jail this forker and pieree!!! i not suffering under chinese control just because hilaire wanted to add to his offshore accounts that he made during the juffalli deal. he worst than the castries central rep!! at least everybody know who he is!! hilarious is dirty dirty dirty!!! when the chinese have you all in chains with no one to rescue your black asses, then you will understand !

  11. St lucia times is hiding every comment that speaks out against this sale. you old sutiwez. dont call yourself news. you people have a nasty agenda to hide the truth.

  12. When China retakes Taiwan And they will We will have no choice but to deal with them.. Question to you Yellow Fools What investment as Great Britain made or is making in St Lucia. ??? What investment are the US making , name just one fools??? What investment has France made ??? Can’t figure it out huh jackasses ???

  13. These UWPs San honnt we! As if DAH was local. The name is China Horse Club. It is Chinese and your mindless leader got hoodwinked into sighning some bullshit agreement and now we paying for that. The country has gotten absolutely nothing from that. Not during Crazy Chas’ government and certainly not now. What y’all have to say now, UWPs?

  14. @105SMPH, I fail to see the need to reference Cabot. I had issues with Cabot and I have issues with the sale of the port too. Why was such an important matter not made public. This not how SLP promised to govern. I did not like the way DSH was done and the SLP was right to criticize it. Now SLP doing the same sh!t if not worse. SMDH at these politicians.

  15. Gas tax; DSH; Range deal; etc, etc was wrong and so is the current government keeping us in the dark about our ports. You are only a damn hypocritical hack if you will vex about gas tax; DSH; Range deal; etc, etc and not be equally concerned about our ports. And that makes you a hypocritical hack which is equal to damn idiot.

  16. “The secret to FREEDOM is in educating the People,
    Whereas …
    The secret to TYRANNY is in keeping them ignorant”

    And that is what ALL politicians of ALL administrations want to do – keep us IGNORANT, and we are falling into their trap!!

    SLU needs to be educated more and more – move away from the Tyrants. Too much ignorance.

  17. Now I heard all the crap I need to hear!!! How can Cap Estate be private property, not government owned, but you still need to go to government planning dept to build!! Does your rhetoric make any sense? NO!!!

  18. I’m young and not dumb chas I support you all the way and I encourage my ghetto yuts to do the same we the youths have to prove a point to them old hacks

  19. Why am I seeing another Jufalli deal unfolding right before our eyes? this time with the chinese? you lucians are being used to fill one man’s pockets.

  20. “The Chinese are devaluing their currency to increase trade ”
    Some one has been getting drunk on CNN propaganda..

  21. All I have to say is China debt trap. Clueless Hilaire purports to be bright, smears others reputations to make himself look good but he is totally clueless on international relations….even something as simple as knowing that you don’t pay VAT on exports could have saved him all the unnecessary shame of rovergate… but when you corrupt and like to play like you know it all you get caught up in all types of shady deals…..this man he lies has brought this government to an all time low. Kenny raised this monster and now he wants to wash his hands off him. Too late sir. I smell dodginess that only he lies can bring in this deal

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