SLNT issues statement on Le Paradis development

Press Release:- The proposed developments at Pigeon Island National Landmark and Pointe Sable Environmental Protection Area have prompted much public discussion on the merits of these developments. Comparisons have been made between the stand taken by the Saint Lucia National Trust on these proposed developments, and that on the then proposed Le Paradis development.

We are pleased to provide the following information, in order that the ongoing debate can be supported by the facts.

The Trust’s involvement with the Le Paradis lands, including Fregate Island, predates the sale in that the then owners of the property allowed us to conduct tours along what we called the Eastern Nature Trail, and to set up a small interpretation booth with educational material about the flora and fauna of the area.  

Following the disclosure of the sale, the Development Control Authority (DCA) requested input/comments in its conduct of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the development.

Our concerns about possible impacts on both the terrestrial and marine environments were expressed, including threats to the White Breasted Thrasher, the Fer-de-Lance snake, the coral reef and related near shore ecosystems, as well as the impact on the livelihood of sea moss farmers active in Praslin Bay.

We compiled a list of twelve areas of concern in collaboration with other local partners and raised these with the developer and his representatives.  

The Trust convened community meetings – one with the Micoud Development Foundation and two with the Praslin Development Committee. The developer was invited to present the project to the communities and to respond to their concerns, especially the status of Fregate Island.  

Although Fregate Island was included as part of the security for financing for the project, in the ensuing discussions, and with the assistance of the Forestry Department and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, the developer agreed to transfer ownership of the islet to the Trust once it became free of the loan. Following DCA approval, the project was launched and the rest is history. We now assume that the Islands are in the care of the receiver.

Early indications of the adverse impact – undermining the public roadway due to diversion of a waterway – invited some media comment. This prompted discussions between the Trust and the Developer on remedial work. We conducted site visits with the developer, and were able to agree on some aspects of the way forward.  Once the dialogue started, the matter was no longer in the public domain.

Notwithstanding the ongoing discussions and agreements, the Trust still had concerns about the way the development was progressing.  The clearing of a large track of land for the golf course was a major concern to us.  Discussions on this were led by government technical staff and resulted in the installation of a silt trap.  

However, this proved inadequate during high rainfall events.  The developer suggested that the resulting siltation was not caused by their project.  We commissioned a study of the reef and near shore environment, and were able to present evidence of the damage caused to these resources by the development.

The Trust continues to strive for the preservation of the White Breasted Thrasher (Goj Blanc in Creole). 90% of the world’s population is found only between Dennery and Praslin. In 2016, we conducted a survey in Dennery village and Praslin with support from partners to ascertain the knowledge of the residents about the Thrasher.

The information from the survey was used to educate and create awareness.  Brochures and signage have been developed on this endemic bird. A video documentary, and collaboration with an environmental group from Dennery are scheduled.  In February, the Department of Forestry and Lands conducted a survey to ascertain the numbers of the White Breasted Thrasher with support from Trust staff.  

The Le Paradis development project differed fundamentally from current proposed projects, in that: there were ongoing discussions with the developer; the lands involved were the private property of the Dennehy family, who opted to sell. In contrast, the Pigeon National Landmark, the Maria Islands Nature Reserve and the Pointe Sable Environmental Protection Area are entrusted to the National Trust, to be managed as public goods and in the national interest.   

The Trust remains committed to the protection and preservation of Saint Lucia’s patrimony, and to working tirelessly, with equally committed partners, to ensure that development and conservation can complement each other.

12 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    May 8, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Good clearing the air on that one. Without information there will always be speculation.

    1. Just Saying
      May 8, 2017 at 5:00 pm

      Yes, I agree with you … but what about the half finished development project? Will it remain that way? I am just curious. Not that I would like to see the project completed, no way!

    2. Anonymous
      May 8, 2017 at 5:04 pm

      Clear what air. Our rating on the environment was downgraded, internationally because of Le Paradis. My and I am guessing the nation’s question to the SLNT is where was the agitation then?

      1. Anonymous
        May 9, 2017 at 9:46 am

        You hypocrites!! The Trust can not be everything to everyone!! Why didn’t the rest of Saint Lucia agitate with them, no instead you stayed in your corner and thought well this is a Praslin matter and it doesn’t bother me. What is the DCA’s role and the then government’s role in all of this! Blame if you must but stop picking on the Trust!

  2. Just Saying
    May 8, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    I don’t get it … what happened to the “developers”? Why did the work stop? What will happen to the half completed development? Have I missed something?

  3. Poseidon
    May 8, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    Wasn’t Fregate Island the Trust’s responsibility? Even though the lands were owned by a family it did not absolve the Trust’s responsibility for PUBLIC lands and the environment. In everything that has been stated here the Trust essentially treated this proposed development, and eventual problems, with kid gloves. The comments here are almost indicating that the Trust was helpless. How times have changed.

  4. Anonymous
    May 8, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    The Le Paradis developer, Design Construction Group Properties Limited (DCG), had no experience in undertaking such a large project and the development company was established just for the Le Paradis project. Managing Director Visionary of the Le Paradis Hotel Kieran Dolby had never managed such a large project before. THE REST IS HISTORY AND SOMETHING ABOUT THE DSH PROJECT IN VIEUX FORT SMELLS LIKE THE FAILED DCG LE PARADISE PROJECT!

  5. Anonymous
    May 8, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    The developer was never faced with having to utilize such a inexperienced work force. This is not a pick & shovel development. Importing skilled labour proved to be too costly, and local labour is plain useless.

  6. YO Fache
    May 8, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    Did the National Trust have a dream? Take a hike corrupt losers

  7. Anonymous
    May 8, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    “the lands involved were the private property of the Dennehy family, who opted to sell.”

    Sell to who, the developer or the Government?
    You confirmed that 90% of the world White Breasted Thrasher was in that location. like the lizards on the Maria Islet being the only one in the world. You also indicated that meetings were held with the people in the communities there. What was the purpose of these meeting. Was it to inform them of the project or to get their opinion of the project taking everything into consideration including jobs?

    My biggest problem with the Trust is the hypocrasy .
    1. Why didn’t the Trust got the VFort community involved with The Pearl of the Caribbean. Their only visit to VFort was when Richard came to Vfort to discuss the DSH agreement.
    2. If the land was purchased by the developer through the then government, why didn’t you advised the government of the damages this project can do to the environment?
    3. You never informed St Lucian of the damages such project can do to the wildlife and the environment including the coral reef.

  8. Anonymous
    May 9, 2017 at 12:45 am

    To answer a few questions raised:

    1. The land was sold by the Dennehy Family to the developer, DCG.

    2. The Trust was involved in the process of the Environmental Impact Assessment for Le Paradis. As such, it made many recommendations regarding environmental safeguards. However, supervision during the development process falls to the Development Control Authority which must ensure the developer complies with recommendations. So, to say that the Trust did not flag concerns is not correct.

    3. The Frigate Islands belongs to the Trust currently.

    4. Since the advent of the DSH Project, the Trust has visited Vieux Fort on many occasions. It had a stakeholders meeting on DSH as far back as September 2016. It had a membership meeting later in April of this year to discuss DSH.

    5. The Le Paradis Project failed because of financial issues with the Clico Investment Bank which was financing the project. This was tied to the collapse of CLICO at around the same time of the Global Financial Crisis.

  9. Anonymous
    May 10, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    Nice to hear the facts for once

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