Catholic Church issues statement on DSH, other issues

Catholic Church issues statement on DSH, other issues

Press Release:-In light of recent events affecting the citizenry of Saint Lucia, at home and abroad, with regard to the proposed plans submitted by Desert Star Holding Limited (DSH), His Grace, Archbishop Robert Rivas, O.P., in consultation with the clergy of the Archdiocese of Castries, have together reflected on the potential impact of the proposed project.

The following Statement is an expression of concern regarding aspects of the DSH project, and other issues currently prevalent in the country, from a standpoint of social justice. This Statement comes after a considerable period of reflection and discussion on the issues addressed below.

Our thoughts are guided by time-honored Social Teachings of the Catholic Church, which have at their heart seven basic themes that include options for persons who are poor and vulnerable, and care for God’s creation. We are concerned as the Catholic Church of Saint Lucia that, notwithstanding the potential economic benefits of direct investment and development, there must be a balanced focus on the relationship between investment, people and the environment.

Pope Francis, who serves as the spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church, has emerged as a significant moral voice on the global scene for people of all faith traditions, especially those who are poor and vulnerable. Our expression of concern finds support in his recently (2015) published Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si – On the Care for Our Common Home. Through the pages of that teaching, we read the following:

public pressure has to be exerted in order to bring about decisive political action. Society, through non-governmental organizations and intermediate groups, must put pressure on governments to develop more rigorous regulations, procedures and controls. Unless citizens control political power – national, regional and municipal – it will not be possible to control damage to the environment. Local legislation can be more effective, too, if agreements exist between neighbouring communities to support the same environmental policies. [179]

Within the context of caring for our common home, and assuming our responsibility to be a moral voice on social issues, it is incumbent upon us to take a stand on the following issues of major concern:

  • Possible displacement of persons and their livelihoods, who occupy and operate within and around the investment site. Particular concern is raised on behalf of persons whose voice may be lost in the process. These would include, but are not limited to, farmers, fishers, footballers, vendors, recreational-users, small-business owners, eco-tourists, charcoal producers. We feel the need to draw specific attention to residents of the Bruceville and Bacadare sections of Vieux Fort, as well as shop owners in the same area and the vicinity of Sandy Beach, also to young persons particularly those who frequent the use of Dames Field for athletic purposes, and persons living within the radius of the proposed Equine Disease-Free Zone.
  • Lack of priority articulated for local labor inputs. The DSH Framework Agreement gives the Master Developer “absolute discretion” to “engage and/or terminate” the procurement of labor contracts. [5.1] Such a clause leads to high speculation regarding the employment of local Saint Lucians, and if so, for what duration. No guarantee seems to be in place regarding employment priority and permanence for local citizenry.
  • Damage and depletion to cultural and natural resources. Phase Two of the DSH proposed plan (unveiled on March 9, 2017) has illustrated a link between the two Maria Islets and a proposed “Southern Causeway” to the mainland. We fail to see how such an idea could be productive to the environment and at the same time to the multitude of local persons who enjoy Sandy Beach for recreational purposes. The land there is of great value in its present state as a gathering place for citizens throughout the country and visitors who greatly enjoy the natural beauty and ambiance of the locale. The recent (April 13, 2017) Press Release from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) does little to ease fears of potential hazards of the Causeway to the environment and ecosystem. Furthermore, the mention in said Press Release that “part of the Causeway will belong to Saint Lucians and Saint Lucians will be allowed access to beaches built along the Causeway” further alienates support of the proposal insofar as access to the entire beach is not a matter of limitation for local residents. In line with the issues raised here, we also join our voice in support of those who have expressed fundamental dissatisfaction with the proposed use of Pigeon Island for commercial aquatic amusement. We applaud and endorse the efforts of the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) in their work of preservation. We wish to encourage continued and vigorous participation on their part and that of other Non-governmental Organizations (NGO’s), local citizens and all people of good will to preserve the authentic patrimony of Saint Lucia. The removal of the Mankote Mangroves from the original DSH plan is to be highly commended and should serve as a participatory model for further action in response to concerns raised by the SLNT, their supporters, and other concerned citizens.
  • Unsustainable relocation of the local landfill in Vieux Fort. One proposed site purported for consideration of relocation is in close proximity to a fresh-water source in the community of La Retraite. Movement of the landfill to that area, or a similar place, could prove detrimental to citizens, land and livestock. Moreover, the livelihood of those depending on the fresh-water source could be seriously jeopardized.

Herewith, we express additional concerns that we see presently affecting the quality of life of all citizens of Saint Lucia and those who visit our shores.

  • The NICE program is seen as a valuable social safety net mechanism for vulnerable persons. We commend the retention of workers in various aspects of the program, particularly those caring for elderly and homebound persons. At the same time, we urge reconsideration of decisions that have impacted persons in school employment and ask for full reinstatement of services rendered to the youth through education and other means.  
  • Health Care, particularly in the south of the island, is of major concern for persons who are infirmed, their families, medical personnel and support staff. The current use of the George Odlum Stadium as Saint Jude’s Hospital is inadequate, and the deteriorating structure poses serious hazards to patients, staff and visitors. We are encouraged by recent news reports of progress regarding the original Saint Jude’s Hospital. The lack of completed renovations to the original site, however, threatens satisfactory health care in the south of the island. We thus urge that resources and efforts directed toward the completion and reopening of the original Saint Jude’s Hospital be accelerated.
  • Violent crime is an issue of grave concern to all Saint Lucians. The quality of life – spiritual, moral, physical – must be given serious priority and seen as paramount for human development.  The Church promotes a stance of non-violence which aims to foster and promote a culture of life and right relationship among all peoples. We urge and pledge cooperation with increased endeavors to stem the escalation of violence in our communities.

We respectfully encourage serious attention to the above issues. A way forward could be to turn political swords into plowshares and partisan spears into pruning hooks (see Isaiah 2:4), thus working to build a better Saint Lucian society with long-term goals that are supported by members of the incumbent Government and the Opposition.  

In consideration of the above social issues and following our moral imperative, we again join Pope Francis with words from Laudato Si as we conclude:

The myopia of power politics delays the inclusion of a far-sighted environmental agenda within the overall agenda of governments. Thus we forget that “time is greater than space”, [130] that we are always more effective when we generate processes rather than holding on to positions of power. True statecraft is manifest when, in difficult times, we uphold high principles and think of the long-term common good. [178]

In keeping with the gospel message, it is our view that the long-term common good always places high priority on persons who are poor and vulnerable, their human rights and dignity, and respect for the earth.

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58 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 3:10 pm Reply

    1, 2,3 and let the shaming of the Catholic Church begin…
    cause how dare them speak against the government!

    1. Anonymous
      May 4, 2017 at 6:27 am Reply

      Such idiots even the church has more power than Allan the church can call for elections anytime if the ppl cry out that they r not happy with what’s Goin on in the country

    2. Anonymous
      May 6, 2017 at 12:09 pm Reply

      The catholic church is not speaking up against fornication , adultery . Witchcraft and debauchery among its own regular members and abominable practices of its clergy ,not to mention obvious paganism but DSH .While leading people to hell with false confidence in religion and not in Jesus Christ ways.

  2. TC
    May 3, 2017 at 3:11 pm Reply

    y the church has to get involved in this… Y? There are so many issues of the day they need to consider like fornication, loveless marriages, single parent families, adultery, suicide.. and you want to tackle DSH.

    1. Anonymous
      May 3, 2017 at 8:06 pm Reply

      Why can’t they speak. How dare you? Are they not part of the population

    2. Anon1
      May 4, 2017 at 9:06 am Reply

      “TC” stop displaying ignorance.

      So can’t the express their view alongside all the issues you mentioned!

  3. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 3:14 pm Reply

    all the rapes, murders, incest and killings that what the church want to get involved in. the church go and find souls. let the uwp fill the bellies of the hungry please.

  4. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 3:23 pm Reply

    what sorcery is this. lol

  5. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 3:34 pm Reply

    What about the gay priest in vf his mates will have to relocate is that a concern

  6. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 3:49 pm Reply

    Well done church. We applaud you

  7. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 3:50 pm Reply

    I’m so impressed worth the Catholic church. Much better than the SDA which turn blind on ubaldos

  8. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 3:51 pm Reply

    I shall remain faithful to the catholic church

  9. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 3:54 pm Reply

    Hopefully this leads other denominations to be concerned about the welfare of the souls they seek to save. I have lamented the seemly uncaring attitude of the church towards these issues that affect especially our poor who flock to themake for hope on a weekly basis.

    I am happy my church has found its voice just as it did on abortion, crime and other issues.

    I hope good sense prevails. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  10. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 3:56 pm Reply

    Finally! If Chastanet loves God as he professes and demonstrated when he appeared clothed in a Pope’s robe on that great day in Micoud South, he will take heed. Listen Mr. Prime Minister before you feel the rage and anger of those you have left hungry, continue to target or ignore,

  11. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 4:08 pm Reply

    Churches are in politics now they join the labour gooroos to voice their concerns. Of all the things the previous government did we have not heard anything from the church. All kinda crimes happening in the country. Not a word not a word from the church. Is the same thing bishop Felix did to PM Compton. Until Compton told him if he want to be in politics put away the robe. So I think this bishop should do the same .these labour gooroos are setting up every body in positions to do their dirty works. And pretend they’re out of it.can they fool every body..

    1. Anonymous
      May 3, 2017 at 4:12 pm Reply

      Where were you when the church spoke about the abortion bill. Move your head in your backside. It is too far up for you to see.

  12. Society
    May 3, 2017 at 4:13 pm Reply

    Catholic. What a joke..I can still remember u’ll saying no to gambling..and if u’ll forget..when cable TV was introduced on island….u’ll was against it also…now this.smh

  13. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 4:14 pm Reply

    How in hell church get in that.SHUT UP u people mute on murders,rape,gang violence, robbery and u going to speak out on this.SHAME

  14. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 4:18 pm Reply

    We want jobs.. we pressure the government for jobs and Everytime they try to provide we turn around and chew them up regardless of party. Do we even know what we want and don’t Catholics have to eat. Smh

  15. Name not necessary
    May 3, 2017 at 4:20 pm Reply

    Well done my good Church. You have added your voice. Now we need to hear from the Bar Association, the mothers and fathers groups etc. As a country we need TO HEAR FROM EVERYONE so that our government may know what to do on our behalf. After all, it is our country and the governments represents US not themselves.

  16. R
    May 3, 2017 at 4:24 pm Reply

    Shivas Regal should be speaking about all these other issues in society! He should do so in a personal capacity and not associate his view with those of the Catholic church!

  17. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 4:44 pm Reply

    As of today I am a seventhsay Adventist as they have demonstrated what’s their role in societ. Rivass is Kenny’s yard boy

  18. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 5:06 pm Reply

    No wonder the Archbishop never said a word to the priest who took part in the protest outside parliament. Oh ye scribes and Pharisees HYPOCRITES! Jesus never commissioned you to get involved in political issues.

    1. Anonymous
      May 6, 2017 at 12:35 pm Reply

      We need to be wise- politics involve people. Church involve people. Separation from either is a personal choice. What impacts the nation affects everyone through gain or loss. The community in my view stand to lose tremendously. Satisfying people with ability to be employed, housed, educated should be sustainable- the saying is teach a man to fish….. We cannot at this time imagine the impact of this development including the annexation of our island by the Chinese, ah beg Google their doings in Tibet or their own country and let me know if you would sell your soul to the devil for a promise you have no idea will benefit St. Lucia like they say it will. Let the church, the school’s the fire station … The people speak.

  19. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 5:09 pm Reply

    Yes, what about the A&H Society and the Archives and other Heritage organizations…what do they have to say!! What about NCA, aren’t you responsible for beaches and parks too…Please say something…anything…but then again if you do they might cut your subvention…it’s OK keep y’all mouths SHUT tight!!

  20. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 5:39 pm Reply

    HYPOCRITES ! HYPOCRITES! HYPOCRITES! This country is saturated with HYPOCRITES! Was anything said about ROCHAMEL, GRYNBURG, JUFALLI? Why was the church silent on those issues? I cannot refrain from the word HYPOCRITE. Would the church provide JOBS for the souls they so HYPOCRITICALLY pretend to defend. What about the corruption within the church that they don’t address?

  21. Terence Joseph
    May 3, 2017 at 5:51 pm Reply

    Yea good now! I want the Catholic church to investigate the amount of priest that sleep with boys and underage girls back in St lucia. How much food the vatican provide for the poor. They worth billions of dollars yet still there are millions of Catholics starving .

  22. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 5:53 pm Reply

    HYPOCRITES! HYPOCRITES! HYPOCRITES! The church’s primary concern should be the salvation of souls NOT politics. Stop your maliciousness.

  23. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 6:24 pm Reply

    Like I said let the UWP operatives start the shaming of the church. All of you are hypocrites….It is the churches duty to speak on all of the issues! All….And for your information they speak on fornication, love, peace, and they focus on the saving of souls…Some of you need to visit sometimes.

  24. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 7:55 pm Reply

    Ccwilson,let’s work together to bring our country forward great job,God bless our country of St Lucia.

  25. HIDY
    May 3, 2017 at 8:12 pm Reply

    BRAVO to the Catholic church! Stand for something or fall for everything. Capturing animals; destroying their homes is not the way to create employment. ST Lucia last year was awarded for its natural beauty what will be left when chastanet is done. We need to stop this mad man sooner than later.

  26. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 8:45 pm Reply

    The money the labour gooroos couldn’t spent they now spending it to protest against the UWP .tricks and tactics are their no.1 priorities they will go the extra mile to see it works.
    And the idiots following that.

  27. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 9:05 pm Reply

    DSH should really turn their back on St Lucia. Let the church invest in Vieux Fort. What a shame. if i was that developer i jump ship already. Barbados has flat land like VF and they need the investment.

    1. Anonymous
      May 3, 2017 at 9:31 pm Reply

      But Barbados already has horse racing!

  28. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 9:12 pm Reply

    I’m an Adventist but damn. I commend the Catholic Church.

  29. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 9:21 pm Reply

    No one is saying don’t invest, the church and others are saying ensure that all the clauses are in the best interest of the people and not just the developers! They need to relocate the garbage dump and the proposed site would affect the water source…not because you might not live in the area it means this is not grave enough for those who do.

  30. Love
    May 3, 2017 at 9:22 pm Reply

    The church has been silent on meany issues affecting society. The Catholic society has been the most lawless set of people in society. They disregard most of what’s written in the Bible. They live a lawless life and cause their members to do the same. The souls of man is no concern to you’ll and while these souls are being lost u talk about DHS. The crime rate is escalating, immorality, fornication, divorce,we can go on. U have not used any of the medium given to you’ll to address these issues. Andre and Russel has called you’ll to speak on certain issues and to no avail and now you want to speak on political issues. SHAME ON YOULL

    1. Anonymous
      May 6, 2017 at 12:50 pm Reply

      A church acts as or like a Shepard if the sheep want to stray they will stray. Individuals act according to their own depravity and understanding and choices. The society of any denomination is a large one!!! We have all sinned and fallen short of glory because we have lost our WAY, don’t understand or seek the TRUTH and refuse the LIGHT. We have lost connection with the SOURCE of ourselves.

  31. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 9:23 pm Reply

    U are the idiot for not seeing pass the party politics!

  32. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 9:24 pm Reply

    Maybe you should invite your church to speak to Andre and Russel!

    1. Anonymous
      May 3, 2017 at 9:35 pm Reply

      Good idea!

  33. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 9:51 pm Reply

    Yep

  34. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 11:13 pm Reply

    Allen , DO NOT BE DISTRACTED. THE CHURCH HAS NO BUSINESS IN GOVERNANCE. THIS IS NOT THE VATICAN. FIRE PON THEM BABYLONS. THAT SAME POPE ALLOWED CONVICTED CHILD MOLESTERS TO PREACH AND EVADE PERSECUTION. FIRE PON THEM VATICANS. DSH MUST BE BUILT. WE ARE WAITING. GOD DO NOT LIKE UGLY AND THE CHURCH JUST SHOWED ITS BAIS. GOD WILL DEAL WITH THEM_ SELLING THEIR SOULS FOR SLP READ DOLLARS>

    1. Anonymous
      May 4, 2017 at 5:08 am Reply

      the word is *BIAS. you’re welcome

  35. Anonymous
    May 3, 2017 at 11:40 pm Reply

    So now even the church are called laborites.smh

  36. Anonymous
    May 4, 2017 at 12:01 am Reply

    The church need to deal with the high level of fornication that is giving rise to the population. Such a rise is the leading cause of crime and poverty. Sin is the cause of all the problems in society and Jesus is unquestionably the only answer.

    1. Anonymous
      May 6, 2017 at 12:56 pm Reply

      Humans created fornication as they lack self control and respect for each other. Fornication is someone else’s guilt and shame.

  37. Anonymous
    May 4, 2017 at 6:36 am Reply

    He can’t even lead his floor k he talking g lazy man

  38. joe
    May 4, 2017 at 7:33 am Reply

    This is an unambiguous political statement by the Archbishop that has damaged the credibility of the Catholic Church in St. Lucia.
    This is the same individual who said nothing about the large increases in public debt under the SLP or the unemployment or poverty. Much less anything about the issues under the remit of the Church such as the breakdown of the family or overall violence or gender violence.
    He states that ‘in consultation with the clergy’ and we know that the priest in VF who is marching with placards, is smack in the middle of the constituency of the former leader of the SLP. We also know that the leading liberal priest with connections with the National Trust is a die hard SLP with strong connections to the former leader of the SLP. He is one of the Arch Bishop’s chief advisors if not the main one.
    The Archbishop has not said if he held any consultations with the Prime Minister of anyone in his Cabinet on these topics. Is not one member of Cabinet a strong Catholic? Did the Archbishop speak to her on these issues? Is that not how you spread discord in a society when you refuse to have dialogue? A dangerous or foolish individual!
    He is also a coward hiding behind cherry picked statements by the Pope and also spreading the potential fallout by his self serving ‘consultations’.
    For the past 40 years the Caribbean and St. Lucian have been let down by these narcissistic individuals pandering to their own interest groups and happy with the sound of their own voices. Well fed , driving big cars, going to all the cocktail parties they live in a bubble of like minded people only interested in their own welfare.
    He has abandoned the Church with this drivel and muddled the message of Christ.

  39. STraight shooter
    May 4, 2017 at 8:11 am Reply

    All churches in St Lucia are part of St Lucian lives and have the right to speak out on what is happening in St Lucia . Weather it is S L P or U W P our churches should come out and speak for the masses. NO party must be targeted.

  40. Anon1
    May 4, 2017 at 9:09 am Reply

    Well it was about bloody time you’ll said something!

    I like “public pressure has to be exerted in order to bring about decisive political action.”

    So folks you’ll have got the Church’s backing to continue applying the pressure by any means necessary.

  41. A patriot
    May 4, 2017 at 11:26 am Reply

    As a born Catholic over the years I had lost a lot of regard for what they represented. I can see now in light of such a comprehensive well put together statement,that they have found their voice their moral campus. I came close to tears knowing that the cause of the less fortunate is be champion by rightfully the church. Wow all is not lost, the Catholic church is beginning to gain back my long lost respect.

  42. Anonymous
    May 4, 2017 at 12:09 pm Reply

    Why hasn’t the church spoken about the witches conference held in St Lucia during the time of the former administration? HYPOCRITES!

  43. Concern Citizen
    May 4, 2017 at 1:40 pm Reply

    I am a catholic I have a Job! but I think the Catholic Church needs to help create some Jobs in this country, because people are hungry, jobless and needs to be fed. The bishop can talk on behalf of him and his clergy not on behalf of all Catholics. Many of us are waiting for the Jobs in the South of St. Lucia. We need Jobs we need to feed our families. All the persons who are apposing the Project are employed they live comfortable lives. Look at the marches all persons there have a job to take a pay home, even those who lives on the drug trade in Vieux Fort, but they don’t care with others.
    The other thing is there is a St. Lucy’s “National Shrine” in Micoud but the Bishop has not seen it fitting to post a permanent priest at that parish. The bishop has no respect for the parishioners in Micoud. There are so many priest at Cathedral one cannot be sent to the St.Benedictine Centre? every time a priest is sent to the “National Shrine” he is taken away. The people from that parish should say no permanent priest no collection!! Give their collection to another denomination. Look at the US, Catholics voted tramp in office and now he is too much for them.
    I need the Prime Minister to start that project and put me on the hiring team those who didn’t support the project them and their families no jobs for them. Some of us are just Hippocrates many of you out there can open a business and hire a least two persons but you don’t want someone else to eat a bread so you won’t do it. You don’t think of others but only you! Some of you Politicians are “Power Hungry” The Catholics who tithe feeds you Sir you are never hungry! The other Christians who tithe can’t even eat well but their pastors can buy BMW, Some have 4 Vehicles parked in their yards.
    Mr. Prime Minister Please do what you can to bring employment in the South. Those who are not from the South Shut the Bread up!! Especially the foreigners who wants to run things down here! Stop playing politics!
    If something is not done now! Vieux Fort will soon be a ghost town!!!

    Concern Citizen…

  44. Fed up Catholic!
    May 4, 2017 at 3:50 pm Reply

    As a born and raised Catholic I want to take Lucians to years ago and ask the joker’s in the clergy which Great Prime Minister told them to Please take care of the peoples souls and let me take care of their bellies?

  45. Anonymous
    May 4, 2017 at 4:19 pm Reply

    This statement was written, not by the bishop but by Father Kevin Murray, the parish priest of Vfort. The priest who have attended every SLP meeting both indoor and public. He led the first protest by parliament and his slogan then was “Save our Sandy Beach”. This is the same priest that led the Bishop into suspending Father Quinlan. Now he has influenced the Bishop in endorsing his statement. He immediately emailed it to the VFCCCC and not the Vfort Parish Council.

  46. Anonymous
    May 6, 2017 at 12:36 pm Reply

    Too much soaps in a d lucia.
    Let’s pray dat our volcano doesn’t erupt.
    I had a dream………
    Destructive earthquake’s
    Tsunami
    Soufriere volcano erupting soon
    I eh know wat dat means…… . ..

    1. Anonymous
      May 6, 2017 at 1:08 pm Reply

      Well I dreamt last year, I was visiting St Lucia as as I am leaving VFirt airport, water coming every where. Dead bodies floating… We have no idea how the un-natural transformation of land strcture will impact low lands in VFort. The environmental impact to create that causeway could be fatal – who will we blame then ….. God! ? JAB in a sack is this development.

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