PRESS RELEASE:- Opposition Leader Hon Philip J Pierre is advising Prime Minister, Hon Allen Chastanet that his unilateral stoppage of construction works without adequate examination of the contracts involved may lead to an embarrassing situation and cost to the tax payer of Saint Lucia.
Hon Pierre explains that contracts for government works are not between the Prime Minister or Ministers but between the Government of Saint Lucia and the contractors.
Hon Pierre says, ‘These are legal documents signed and agreed to by both parties. The terms of these documents give details of the processes by which the works will be executed and include exit clauses for termination. The legal way to terminate a contract is through these exit clauses. Therefore, it is unacceptable for the Prime Minister or any Minister to terminate a contract on site without even knowing what’s in these exit clauses. Such actions may lead to penalties which the taxpayers of this county may be called upon to bear.”
Regarding the Soufriere Square Project which according to reports circulating in the news media, the Prime Minister is reported to have said that “the works are on hold.”
The Opposition leader cautions the Prime Minister to be careful since there may be contractual obligations that have to be observed.
The Prime Minister is reported to have said that “The Taiwanese had already advanced the Government of Saint Lucia monies two (2) years ago…I need to go find out where the money is…”
The Minister of Finance is further advised by the Leader of the Opposition to have a look in the Estimates of Expenditure for the year of 2016/ 2017 on page 468 where he will clearly see the Soufriere Square is part of the Soufriere Enhancement Project with a total cost of $ 12,205,972 from which it was proposed that $3,688,210 would be spent by the end of this financial year in March 2017.
On November 20th 2015, a cheque of $2, 0308,600 was handed over by Ambassador to Taiwan, His Excellency Ray Mou to the then Minister of Finance, Hon Kenny D Anthony and deposited into the consolidated fund. This means that money for the Soufriere Square is available for use in this financial year.
For the Minister of Finance to imply that he does not know where the money is, is to say the least mischievous and irresponsible and demonstrates that Hon Allen Chastanet Minister of Finance, is not knowledgeable of the content of the Estimates of Expenditure for which he has been given responsibility for by the people of Saint Lucia.