Bishnu Tulsie vs Allen Chastanet

Bishnu Tulsie vs Allen Chastanet

Dear Mr. Editor,

Over the past few days our country has been abuzz with discussions as it pertains to the Saint Lucia National Trust and the Government of Saint Lucia’s decision to cut the Trust’s annual subvention by 100%.

At first, I was amazed that the Prime Minister would be foolish enough to make such a decision that in my mind screamed victimization and this raised concern amongst many Saint Lucians.

That was until I decided to conduct my own research on the Saint Lucia National Trust’s operations and its relationship with the Government of Saint Lucia.

Through a Press Release issued by the Trust in relation to the announced cut, the Trust revealed that it received an annual subvention of $500,000 for 20 years from the Government of Saint Lucia a total of $10 Million and $700,000 per year for the last 17 totalling $11.9 Million giving a grand total of $21.9 Million received from the GOSL since 1975.

According to the Trust’s release, in 2016 alone it collected a total of $2.64 Million from its operations. It also receives on average an additional $200,000 grant funds every year from regional and international organizations and has been able to consistently grow their revenue by 10% per annum.

The Trust via its Press release went further to state that it employs 36 full time employees at a cost of $1.4 Million annually making the average monthly salary at the National Trust $3,241.00. They also mentioned their plan to redevelop Pigeon Island by constructing a Head office and Conference centre amongst other things to the tune of $6.6 Million. With this information at hand I started to ask myself the following questions:

1)Is a Government subvention supposed to be forever, especially when an organization has their own revenue exceeding $2 Million dollars a year?

2)Will the National Trust give the public a breakdown of their monthly or yearly expenditure apart from salaries to make a better determination of whether the Trust’s finances are being managed prudently?

3)What is the average monthly salary in the Public service and average National salary when compared to the Trust’s average of $3,241.00 monthly?

4)Is the construction of a conference centre and offices at Pigeon island the best use of the $6.6 Million that the Trust proposes to spend?

5)Why didn’t the National Trust speak out against the Dolphin Park project when it was initially announced by the Dr.Kenny Anthony administration in his 2014 Budget address, since they oppose the dolphin park not only being setup at Pigeon Island but anywhere in Saint Lucia?

There are many other questions that I would like to ask especially in light of a recent revelation that the St.Lucia National Trust received a boat as a gift from the World Bank to monitor Maria Islands and to conduct tours on the islands but have never made use of this boat.

It in fact has since been revealed that this same boat was used by certain board members of the Trust to go on outings on weekends with their family and friends and that the National Trust has recently sold the boat without consulting or notifying several of their board members.

Most concerning however is that it appears that the St.Lucia National Trust has allowed itself to be hijacked by high ranking officials of the St.Lucia Labour Party which will be to its detriment.

We Saint Lucians are tired of party politics, and an institution which is mandated to protect our National assets should make all attempts to be seen and known as non-political. The deterioration of the National Trust via politics and mismanagement is a very unfortunate event and something that should outrage all right thinking Saint Lucians.

758 Patriot

Proud Saint Lucian

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21 Comments

  1. Anti Chas
    April 28, 2017 at 7:26 am Reply

    you idiot…the government of St Lucia pays the Trust to look after properties and so on all over St Lucia. The money the trust makes is for it’s day to day business and looking after properties since the Government subvention is not enough to do so all year. Yes that subvention should be forever, there is no point at which you could say…ok I think we have protected nature enough.

  2. Proud Saint Lucian
    April 28, 2017 at 7:45 am Reply

    Wow. That was such a ridiculous attempt at being unbias. Are you hearing your self? The Trust is paid by the govt to manage all the sites on the island. ALL! Have you on your own decided that none of the herritage sites are important enough that we should stop protecting them? If you were a proud Saint Lucian you would look beyond party colours as this isnt a fight between the PM and Tulsie, this is a blatant attack on the Trust if they dont do as they are told and not have opinions. We cannot sit back idly and allow this to happen. Tourism as a major contributor to our economic success, relies on the same heritage sites we are opting to make into concrete jungles (in some cases). Why are are giving persons jobs to do on our behalf….qualified persons….and then take tell them how to do the very job they are qualified to do? This abuse of power by the PM is only the start. Unfortunately, our PM lacks sufficient emotional intelligence which is integral in a leader especially one holding the highest office in our country. Sadly, many will read your loaded letter and feel comforted that they voted for UWP and would less shame for their part in this current situation. Please listen carefully, we are all one. Party lines should be erased and let us put the country first. Please do not be distracted and stay focussed. Saint Lucia is in trouble, let us work together to resolve this childish reactionary behaviour. Mr PM please act responsibly and stop punishing persons who go against whatever ideological idea you have, of your status. Country first.

  3. Anonymous
    April 28, 2017 at 8:54 am Reply

    you raise some pertinent issues here, but i would like to go further to ask why isn’t the trust making more money, cause they have management authority of practically all offshore islands are their uses being optimized? can we take example of what is happening in antigua where ecotourism has paid for cleaning up and effectively managing an offshore island which now generates tens of millions a year in revenue? what about the other sites which they own and manage, like the historical buildings they own up the morne and other areas, why aren’t these museums able to generate employment and at least raise the money needed for their maintenance. All around the world people use historical sites, landscapes, and biodiversity to the benefit of the resource and the people who live near them….the whole idea of SUSTAINABLE USE was borne out of the fact that the these resources are more resilient and better protected against human and natural threats when they are being effectively managed instead of just being left to re-wild.
    if the trust was really into effective management and optimization of the resource they could have been hiring 3 to 4 times their current staff and be generating tens of millions per annum instead of the current situation where the very resource they claim to be defending is left unmanaged and unproductive while the people who live near them remain poor

    1. Anonymous
      April 29, 2017 at 3:32 pm Reply

      So why don’t you join the Trust and lend it your expertise in making money? And how come the country broke, according to the current Prime Minister, when it has so many avenues to collect taxes? Do you think that the Trust is a private enterprise?

  4. Shame
    April 28, 2017 at 9:02 am Reply

    Wow evil doers can you put a price on history

  5. Anonymous
    April 28, 2017 at 9:18 am Reply

    I too have questions. Is Mr. Tulsie a sacrificial lamb? When the chairperson goes to a meeting with the PM and he tells her (she says) fire Mr. Tulsie (which is outrageous) her response ” he is retiring in October” is perplexing. If Mr. Tulsie had the authorisation or was directed by the SLNT Board to act as he did, where is the “collective responsibility”? If you are taking a stand, take a stand! Why pander to the PM? Is it normal practice for Saint Lucian prime ministers (in front of public servants as said by the chairperson) to demand staff of quasi-independent organisations be fired? If Tulsie acted outside of the SLNT Board directives by all means fire him! But if he was doing as he was directed, to have multiple c

  6. The Advocate
    April 28, 2017 at 9:27 am Reply

    Let’s see, 36 x 1000 = 3,600

    This is to say that the average full time employee gets less than 1000 per month. Hmm and you call yourself proud!

    I guess the trust will have to send some persons home now unless really proud St. Luciana step in to assist with the cause of the Trust.

  7. R
    April 28, 2017 at 10:06 am Reply

    Make an example of SLNT!

    1. Time
      April 28, 2017 at 11:44 am Reply

      While he is at it I hope examples are not made of the other NGOs, especially those that have not been half as active as the Trust or has even bothered to keep there financials updated, let alone submit their financial reports to the Government!

    2. You stand corrected!
      April 28, 2017 at 3:22 pm Reply

      Making an example of SLNT for doing their work above board! Sakwuay Embecil!

  8. Lisa
    April 28, 2017 at 10:12 am Reply

    To answer your questions:

    1) The St. Lucia National Trust is charged with the conservation of the the natural and cultural heritage of St. Lucia, and the promotion of values that lead to national pride and love of country. Do you really not think our heritage and our national pride are worth at least $700,000 a year?

    2) When the subvention is reinstated, we should definitely demand an expenditure breakdown from the National Trust, but in the meantime, why are you not calling for a breakdown of expenditure from all the other organizations that receive subventions?

    3) A more relevant question would be: what is the average work output in the Public service compared to the Trust’s average?

    4) The conference centre is probably a good idea given Pigeon Island’s huge popularity as a wedding and party venue.

    5) There are two issues at stake with the current proposal:
    i. The issue of protecting a National Landmark (this is a national issue and a conservation issue)
    ii. The issue of the cruelty of dolphin captivity (this is a moral issue and an animal rights issue)
    The St. Lucia National Trust opposes a dolphin facility at Pigeon Island because of the destruction it will cause to the Park and the bay; the members of the Trust oppose dolphin captivity anywhere in St. Lucia because they believe it is morally wrong and will have a negative impact on St. Lucia’s image.

    The St. Lucia National Trust is not a partisan organization; the members of the Trust are highly motivated citizens with one common goal: to protect our heritage. The Trust, in fact, is stronger than ever and not even slightly at risk of being hijacked.

    Yes. We St. Lucians are very tired of party politics. The assault on our protected areas and on the organization charged with protecting them should outrage all right-thinking St. Lucians.

    A right-thinking St. Lucian

    1. kalabash kohshee
      April 28, 2017 at 12:58 pm Reply

      Do you eat cows Denea? Don’t you have work to do other than campaigning for the SLP all over Facebook over the past year? How much are you paid? CGJ how much money did you make whilst labour was in power? Did your partner Kenny set you up with a cushy job for unproductive work by his side?

      1. Anonymous
        April 28, 2017 at 3:32 pm Reply

        How about we discuss the issues surrounding dolphins in captivity and leave the personalities out of it. Here are the reasons for the Trust’s opposition to a dolphin park at Pigeon Island:
        (1) Pigeon Island is an important historical Landmark that played a significant role in world history. To quote Robert Devaux, “There is so much history attached to that tiny 40 acre island from pre-Columbian times when the Amerindians had an outpost there to the last “foreign” occupation during the second World War when the US Navy had a radio station there that any physical altering of that island would inevitably efface and destroy so much evidence of that history”.
        (2) Of the four historic military areas in Saint Lucia – the Morne, Vigie, La Toc and Pigeon Island – only Pigeon Island has been preserved in its entirety. The proposed dolphin park will change this as its construction will cause the destruction of an 18th century cemetery, loss of pre-Columbian artifacts, and destabilization of Fort Rodney and ‘Saddle’.
        (3) The dolphin park will destroy the coral reef upon which it will be built. This reef is among the most diverse in Saint Lucia and plays a valuable role in the livelihoods of fisher folk from Anse la Raye, Canaries and Gros Islet.

        The Trust opposes dolphin parks in general because:
        (1) The waste generated by the captive dolphins is so concentrated that it diminishes the water quality down current of the dolphin pens. The diminished water quality is ideal for algal blooms which can smother coral and destroy marine ecosystems.
        (2) The dolphin park is expected to create 29 permanent, local jobs, however it will cause loss of jobs among current LOCALLY OWNED dive operations, and whale and dolphin watching tour operators.

        If you would like more information you may visit the Trust’s office at Pigeon Island or email [email protected].

        Cheerio!

    2. Informed
      April 28, 2017 at 2:47 pm Reply

      The Trust already submits its audited statements to Parliament!

  9. Anonymous
    April 28, 2017 at 10:25 am Reply

    Tell me more about the boat and who was getting good. Expose these corrupt ppl that now crying cause their supper not nice compared to the last 5 years.

    1. You stand corrected!
      April 28, 2017 at 2:54 pm Reply

      Ask Pinkly about the Trust’s boat, since he is the one making money off the Trust for keeping the boat in storage. Wait…. didn’t you all know that one of the UWP operatives is making money off the Trust! Perhaps the Trust is not so political after all!

  10. 666
    April 28, 2017 at 12:00 pm Reply

    When you take on the National Trust, you take on every Saint Lucian. What the hell is wrong with Allen Trump?

  11. SLNT
    April 28, 2017 at 3:35 pm Reply

    Response from the Trust:

    Your questions are legitimate and balanced except for the last point about political hijacking. If you look at the Saint Lucia National Trust Act (available on our website http://www.slunatrust.org) you will see the names of the persons who were appointed by Premier John Compton to create the organisation and will realise that they are from both political parties. Therefore, the organisation is a product of a bi-partisan effort. We do not discriminate when accepting members, neither do we prevent members from speaking at our membership meetings on political grounds. Membership to the Trust empowers you to speak to any aspect of the Trust’s mandate (Section 4 of the Act) and to influence, and give direction on how we handle issues. More importantly, perhaps is that membership to the Trust is secondary to constitutional rights.

    You have done a good analysis of the funds generated by the Trust since its creation. Note, however, that the funds generated (you mentioned 2016) includes the subvention we receive from the Government. Since 2000, $200,000 of the subvention we received was for the Pigeon Island redevelopment. We have these funds in reserve for the project. It was not used to fund our operations.

    Allow me to respond to your specific questions:

    The Trust is an organ of the State and as such receives support from the State to help fund its operations. This was the intention from the beginning. If you look at the Trust’s mandate (Section 4 of the Act) you will see the words “for the benefit of the State” referenced a few times. This was the thinking that created the organisation and at the time it was the intention to provide this support with the understanding that over time there would be phased reductions as the organisation becomes financially capable of meeting its obligations on its own. This is why the Trust’s subvention, which started at $1m, was reduced to $750, 000 and then $500,000. These reductions were the result of consultations with the Government and based on financial programmatic considerations. We are trying to get approval for some investments that would improve our income, but approval is stalled.
    The Trust’s audit reports and annual reports are made available to our members annually both via email and on our website in the members’ area. They are also submitted to the Para Statal Monitoring Unit and laid before Parliament. In terms of financial management, we have very strict protocols under which staff makes quarterly budget requests to Council based on an approved work programme which is based on our Strategic Plan (also on our website) and must account for the funds when making subsequent quarterly budgetary requests.
    On the matter of salaries, I am not at liberty to divulge what we pay staff. I can say, however, that our salary structure is based on the public sector salary scale. For example, if we hire technical staff they will be appointed at some point between the equivalent of Government’s grade 10 – 16, based on qualifications and experience. We also follow an increment scale based on the public sector model.
    The $6.4 million is not for a conference facility (events centre) only. The project includes a gift shop, reconstruction of Admiral Rodney’s home to accommodate out offices, documentation centre and interpretation centre, converting the officers’ mess into an events centre, upgrading the Captains Cellar into a full restaurant and reconstruction of the gatehouse and security building. A lot to do, but will be done on a phased basis to minimise interruptions and/or negative impacts. Last year we hosted over 100 events at Pigeon Island but we do not have a covered space in case of rains. The facility will be used for both events and conferences to maximise income.
    With regards to the 2013 dolphin proposal, the facts are as follows: In 2013 there was a Cabinet conclusion granting approval in principle for the land use, pending the submission of the application. We did not see the cabinet conclusion until it was leaked in March this year – therefore we could not have commented at the time. A pronouncement was made in the 2014 budget as a project to come on stream. We did not comment on the budget address, as it is not something the Trust does. At the time we were on the DCA Board and would have been involved in determining the application. However, no application reached the DCA, therefore, there was nothing to comment on. Had the application been submitted, we would have referred it to our members for guidance, as we have done with the current application.
    With regards to the boat, I assure you that except once, when we first received the boat, two members of council and I accompanied the Marine Police for its first run, no member of the Council has been on the boat thereafter personal reasons. The boat has been on dry dock because it was costing us more to take the boat from Rodney bay to Vieux Fort and back than to rent a boat in Vieux Fort to do our monitoring work. In the mean time we pay rent to keep the boat in dry dock and insurance. The decision to sell the vessel was purely economic.

    I trust I was able to allay the concerns you have. We invite you as a patriotic Saint Lucian to join the Trust and help to fulfil the organization’s mandate as an active member.

  12. Anonymous
    April 28, 2017 at 6:56 pm Reply

    The people of Saint Lucia gave the UWP a mandate to run this country under the PM Allen Chastened. He will take decisions that are in the best interest of this country if Bushnell Tulsie do not like what the PM is doing then he and the board should resign. The P.M was voted in 11 to 6 don’t forget that. All those political stooges should shut up they were kicked out because the people were fed up with them and now all of them are singing for their supper supported by those idiots in the media.

  13. Rm
    April 28, 2017 at 9:33 pm Reply

    Whom the gods seek to destroy he first make mad: watch and see

  14. Anonymous
    April 29, 2017 at 10:39 am Reply

    The SLNT is in a position to sustain itself financially. What is in this that people cannot understand? The NT has admitted this. Politics is destroying in this country. Stop the damn politricking and try to work together to develop this country. St. Lucia is grossly underdeveloped all because of these dumb$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ politicians!

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