Proposal to build Maria Island causeway in St Lucia is disturbing

By Melanius Alphonse: Not long after the general elections, it become clear, at least from my realism, what would become of an Allen Chastanet-led administration – the hidden consequences of change.

Recently, the state of affairs has come full circle, with similarities between the Dolphin Park, citizenship by investment (CIP), the “Pearl of the Caribbean” project by Desert Star Holdings Limited (DSH), which reverts to re-enslavement, the conversion from landlords to tenants and absolute rule in our country by “nefarious merchants”.
In the face of these, the county is open to geopolitical persuasion and economic espionage, walking a tightrope between diplomatic relations with Taiwan and China’s economic diplomacy, dazzling a gullible administration.

The consequences of this calculation enhance China’s growing geopolitical influence, quite visible in the Caribbean.

In recognition of the need to modernize and create a competitive environment for economic growth (jobs and revenue), emphasis has to take into consideration the needs of the people.
Additionally, to confront poverty and inequality, land use policy, agriculture and housing limitations, the food import bill and trade imbalance require sound policy and common sense. Without acting unilaterally and bullish, and eventually reducing national development and foreign policy in a format similar to 140 character tweets.

Addressing the unveiling of the DSH Project phase two, which includes mixed-used properties and building a causeway connecting the Maria Islands to the mainland (a desecration by most accounts), Prime Minister Chastanet did two things remarkably well.

He called for Saint Lucians to be “bold and courageous” in the face of new opportunities and introduced Jack Lam, a partner of DSH, oblivious to clause 28: No partnership ~ “Nothing in this agreement is intended to or shall be construed as establishing or implying a partnership of any kind between the parties.”

Likewise, he put the world on notice, publicizing Lam’s future business deals and whereabouts – a casino operator and gambling mogul, who reportedly left the Philippines last November 29, days before President Rodrigo Duterte ordered his arrest for bribery and economic sabotage.

Lam’s presence on Saint Lucia can be viewed more than a meet and greet opportunity, to bring “assets” to the table that Saint Lucia lacks: register business and trademarks for various merchandise licensing. What’s next, if not already!
Is Lam, Saint Lucia’s newest citizen under the CIP, armed with a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) passport?

According to associates, it seems there’s one common denominator for Caribbean citizenship by investment programmes prefaced on low cost and accessibility – “Come as a tourist. Leave as a citizen” – albeit there are programmes that are “generally well-run” and “do not pose a security threat”.

On the other hand, minister for economic development, housing, urban renewal, transport and civil aviation, Guy Joseph, acknowledged the realization that “the current administration is taking a risk, in relation to DSH. It was not a careless risk. It is a calculated risk because anything can happen that will not cause a project to go through.”
“The reality is that in this world of competition, countries must be willing to make bold moves and take bold initiatives if you are going to differentiate yourself from the rest of the competitors.”
“Teo Ah Khing, has a reputation for success in all the projects that he has undertaken. If one tenth of what I am seeing is going to materialise, then Saint Lucia will be a better place,” according to Joseph.

That said, Khing presented “preliminary artist’s impressions” touting “the potential benefits in the reclamation of land near Maria Islands in the south”.

“We are going to do three things in relation to the islands. We are going to continue to preserve, enhance; do detailed research on all the existing wild life and marine life on this island.

“You notice there are two islands, the Maria Islands. They are completely preserved with isolation and preservation.”

My initial thoughts of Khing comments, an architect and possibly a foreign agent, were: Do I need him to tell me what’s there, already protected in a natural reserve, bearing in mind, “The Escrow Account (7.1): “The Master Developer shall open a new bank account in its own name with a duly licensed international banking institution outside of Saint Lucia, and shall designate such bank account as the Escrow Account. The monies received for investment in the Project from CIP participants shall be deposited into this account and used in accordance with clause 7.2.”

“7.2 The Master Developer shall use the monies in the Escrow Account to satisfy any Project related fees, costs and/or liabilities, including (without limitation): [too lengthy to list],” tooting his own horn with the physical and capital assets of the ingenious people of Saint Lucia. Good Lord!

The Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) has issued directives to ensure that no causeway is built to the Maria Islands Nature Reserve. Essentially, SLNT finds the proposal disturbing: “The disturbing news is that in addition to destroying the ecological, environmental, historical, archaeological and social assets enshrined in Pointe Sable, the DSH plan includes a proposal to connect Maria Major and Maria Minor and building a causeway to the mainland.”

Sir Julian Hunte’s advice is spot on: “If you want to build a causeway, link Taiwan to China!”

From my perspective Saint Lucians should be “bold and courageous” to pay for a one way ticket out of the country for the calibre of foreign investors involved with the dolphin park, and DSH in its current form. And their local interests granted access to custody suits.

Here’s why in simple terms!

• Nothing about the proposed Dolphin Park and DSH represents our common national interests and transformation for a sustainable future, except condemnation and further economic sanction;

• Nothing about DSH in its current form, shareholdings, return on national investment, etc, inclusive of conflict of interest and ethics concerns and “99 years for the consideration of US$1 per acre”, amounts to wealth generation for the ingenious people and the wider population beyond the trickle of crumbs from the plutocratic, autocratic table;

• Nothing about the proposed Dolphin Park and DSH has the semblance of compatibility to Saint Lucia’s national development and foreign policy objective.

But wait, the amazing similarities between the two smells of “nefarious merchants” propagating a corrupt agenda, alternate facts culture and social change towards the edge of our destruction.

Without restraint, this so-called US$2.6 billion development is a “calculated risk” with a very high probability of burying Saint Lucia in debt (budget 2015/16 EC1.4 billion) for generations.

However, in the consequences of change, the working class and poor are supposed to be dazzled with more smoke and mirrors, erupt in applause at enrichment schemes that dance the night way building the friends and family dynasty.

So far, partisanship, religion or creed is not having an identity crisis in the fight for our freedoms or patrimony and natural reserve.

However, last week, the Special Service Unit (SSU) of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) was deployed to the construction site of Desert Star Holding (DSH), fully armed and equipped.

Ideally, they should be put to better use rounding up white collar criminals, helping to solve countless unsolved murders and protecting our porous borders, mindful of alleged extra-judicial killings by the RSLPF, predicaments under the Leahy law and new external funding cuts, capable of further undermining national security.

Surely, Saint Lucia is worth fighting for — “I am Saint Lucia” — lest the use of the affirmation in celebration of 38 years of independence becomes feckless words and squandered opportunities, in the face of impending re-colonization.

21 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    March 23, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Unreadable nonsense, filled with words.

    1. Anonymous
      March 23, 2017 at 1:05 pm

      Wait what is an article supposed to be filled if not words?

  2. Lobylong
    March 23, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    What’s wrong with development,I think we still.lucians are to backward.period

    1. Anonymous
      March 23, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      Sustaintable development is good, Reckless development thoughout consideration for future generations is wrong

    2. Invest One Dollar per dog
      March 27, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      Uwp yes try to tempt the people just like the devil tell what do have to sacrifice for the devil temple

    3. Ellen T
      March 28, 2017 at 2:24 am

      Why is the government selling out St. LUCIA to foreigners in the name of develooment. If a man is fleeing his country for bribery why should he be involved in the developent of St. Lucia. Chinese people will not employ St. Lucuans. They will bring their own. They have a plan for the Caribbean. ST. LUCIANS BEWARE! Let your voice be heard in the destruction of our beautiful island. You have the POWER!!

    4. Anonymous
      March 28, 2017 at 2:39 am

      Why is the government selling out St. LUCIA to foreigners in the name of DEVELOPMENT. If a man is fleeing his country for BRIBERY why should he be involved in the developent of St. Lucia. Chinese people will NOT employ St. Lucians. They will bring their own. They have a plan for the Caribbean. ST. LUCIANS BEWARE! Let your voice be heard, take action to stop the destruction of our beautiful Caribbean island. Our heritage is important. Stop The Madness. You have the POWER!!

  3. Anonymous
    March 23, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    That jus der so u could scroll through it.

  4. Bobby
    March 23, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Brilliant article – foreign investment is welcome but must have the interest of future StLucian generations at the core.

    1. Anonymous
      March 23, 2017 at 10:42 pm

      How is this investment going to affect the future generation of st.lucia?

  5. Anonymous
    March 23, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    Look at the unemploment rate it is throught the roof, you are crying for jobs or otherwise willing to move to were the grass is green like so many has done already. Ok, when you make your move to the green side and start talking to your bubbies simple things are tough no jobs on your island. How the hell you think the grass is growing green on the other side of the ocean…. it’s all invesments people that’s the nature of the world today INVESMENTS.. I can give you a math test Esy one just for you what is 1+1=2 “ok good” you got it right! One investor + government = JOBS, job improves lifes styles, cut down on crime they will get job too instead of think negative move will be. The g8 countries are all about investing… they are welcoming investors everyday especially India. The amount of investments we are truning away the employment will never improve.
    The government is all about jobs they know it can’t happen with St.lucian investors alone they have to bring the big ones. There are other places right now who would be happy to get the kind of investment opportunity we are getting here.

  6. Anonymous
    March 23, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    And what are your contribution to investment in St. Lucia? Can you do better?

  7. As it is
    March 23, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    To Anonymous:

    There is an old saying “If you want to hide something from a black man, put in a book”. Looks like you are cool reflection of that statement.
    Growth and development is always good and welcomed but on a phenomenal scale like this one, whats wrong in asking for all “I’s and T’s” to be dotted and crossed by the populace. I think asking for such is a sign saying we are waking up.

  8. Terence Joseph
    March 23, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Why does people read this guy article anyway all of them are hypocrites. My time is too important.

  9. Terence Joseph
    March 23, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Why should people spend time reading this guy article when he is critical of everything about this administration, this guy is not balance he is like an old scale.

  10. Khayti
    March 23, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    Why capture dolphins? Why destroy part of our national heritage? Now that is backward thinking. Can we not come up with a better solution to our unemployment situation? I am pretty sure there are other ways but we choose to take the easy way out. Leave the dolphins in their natural habitat and leave our heritage alone.
    How many of us would enjoy being cooped up in a cage for others to watch just for pleasure? Come on now. Di we have to follow everything these so called developed countries do? Are we reading up in the repercussions of these so called projects? After animals are placed in these environments, after a while they actually turn on their caretakers. No to the dolphin park! I could see some people doubting that dolphins can attack people but Nature have a very funny way of dealing with those who interfere with the natural order of life. Leave the dolphins where they are for crying out loud!

  11. Susan Brown
    March 23, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Been to many Caribbean island, St. Lucia best hands down! Do not cage dolphins, i am telling you the truth. Most Americans are against any abuse of animals, mammals, basically any of God’s handiwork. Especially the more educated, richer Americans. We are closing most circus’s as inhumane. You may get an initial bump in tourism, this wont be for long. You will not get the type of tourists you want to attract. I think you are smart by picking and choosing slowly how you want to grow. Can’t wait to come back and visit you good people of St. Lucia.

    1. Raymond Whitehead
      March 28, 2017 at 5:36 am

      I agree

    2. Richard
      March 28, 2017 at 5:05 pm

      Canadians are not to happy about caged animals. Nor do they lime poluted beaches!

  12. Johnny Wishbone
    March 26, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Johnny says idle hands are Lucifier’s helpers. Man need to work to provide for his woman and the product of his seed. Jah will provide but only to those that venerate Him! Turn away from evil

  13. Anonymous
    March 28, 2017 at 1:33 am

    All the ministers take moo moo pills.

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