Opposition leader Allen Chastanet has called out the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) administration on several issues in a New Year address, warning that Saint Lucia will become a failed state.
“The fact is that Saint Lucia Labour Party is a failed party and under its current leadership Saint Lucia will soon become a failed state both internally and internationally,” the former Prime Minister declared.
The Micoud South MP called attention to ‘out of control’ crime, the cost of fuel and other items, and what he described as the worst road conditions in Saint Lucia’s history as among the factors that demonstrated the Pierre administration’s shortcomings.
“Dark days are approaching,” he lamented.
Chastanet described the Pierre administration as being bereft of new ideas and clueless.
“Their incompetence can now be appropriately classified as criminal,” he declared.
“They are simply operating in ‘protecting the victory’ and the reality is that this survival mode is destroying our country economically, socially and culturally,” Chastanet lamented.
He said the government’s decision to enter into an agreement with a foreign entity for control of the Castries and Soufriere ports for thirty years with an option for a further ten-year renewal, was one of the more sordid deeds of the SLP in the last year.
“All for an investment of $47 million,” Chastanet told his audience, adding that the sum would be repaid in 40 years.
He asserted that for the next forty years, Saint Lucia would have no control over its ports and the millions the cruise sector would bring to Saint Lucia.
The former Tourism Minister explained that Saint Lucia currently earns $6:50 per cruise ship passenger and recorded one million passengers in 2019.
“We know that we can get the additional minimum of $5 per passenger because the cruise industry has collectively agreed to increase the head tax. This calculates to $11.5 million a year in revenue for thirty years, or about $345 million to get an investment of $47 million. Is this the craziest thing one could ever hear?” Chastanet said.
In this regard, he questioned whether someone was personally benefitting from ‘this lop-sided deal.’
“Why on earth do we need a middle-man in running our ports and collecting this kind of money when SLASPA and Invest Saint Lucia can do the same for us?” The UWP leader stated.
“We demand that the Prime Minister make public the MOU for this agreement,” Chastanet said.
“This Prime Minister has the gall to say that no decision has been taken to sell our ports. We suggest to him that leasing them for thirty or forty years is as bad as selling them outright,” he argued.
According to Chastanet, one of the conditions of the ports deal is there should be no development in Vieux Fort port while the agreement is in effect.
“It means that for the next forty years, no development can take place in the South of Saint Lucia. Truthfully, my heart is crying out for the people in the South,” Chastanet said.
“Where are the self-proclaimed patriots who should be standing up for Vieux Fort?” He asked.
“Saint Lucians, we must stand up to this government. If Kenny, Musa and Alva will not stand up for the people in the South, I will. Bradley (Felix) will and all of us must,” Chastanet stated.
And on the reconstruction of St. Jude Hospital, he said the public was interested in answers to when it would start, how long it would take to complete, the cost, and what type of medical facility it would be.