The Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) has expressed concern about the future of the Walcott Place and Grass Street enhancement project.
SLNT Council member, Calixte George Jr, told the Times that the project, in honour of Nobel Laureate, Derek Walcott and his brother, Roderick Walcott, was meant to be an initiative that would bring a lot of benefits to the Grass Street and Chaussee Road area.
He explained that the SLNT saw the urban renewal initiative as being critical for the entire country, celebrating Saint Lucian culture in a very tangible way.
“What was being proposed was the redevelopment of the house, which I think most people have seen was done and beyond that the creation of a museum and an interactive arts education space, a black box theatre and there were also some elements in terms of urban renewal in terms of improvement of the landscape, as well as designing out crime with respect to the extension of Grass Street,” George observed.
He recalled that the project took time to develop and was ‘well studied’, attracting grant funding from Taiwan in the sum of $US 2.8 million, plus support from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for the road extension component.
“We are now hearing that the monies for those projects is going to be removed,” the SLNT official stated.
George said the trust is concerned because the organisation saw the initiative as being one that would be ‘transformative’ for Grass Street and the people who live there who are greatly challenged economically.
He said the Walcott place project was intended to create forty jobs.
“It is something we need to dialogue on and ensure that there is some movement forward,” George said.
He said that the SLNT is to be written to indicating that the government intends to withdraw funding for the initiative.