Prime Minister Allen Chastanet went on tour of the Castries Market Saturday, declaring that before the elections several visits were made to the facility and his ruling party felt that the place was ‘grossly underutilised.’
“I think that when you go and meet the people who work here on a daily basis, you can see the level of frustration that they have,” Chastanet told reporters.
” For once and for all we want to be able to come here and fix up the place,” he explained.
The prime minister noted that he was accompanied by architects, representatives of the Saint Lucia Trade Export Promotion Agency (TEPA) and the Saint Lucia Manufacturers’ Association with the aim of ‘re-looking at an entire market.’
According to the prime minister, the goal is to ensure that primarily Saint Lucian products will be sold.
“Certainly we should not be selling any products, idealistically, outside of the OECS – worst case scenario, from the Caribbean – and then making sure that the market is properly divided and that the facilities are there for the fish, for the meat, for the fresh produce and for the artisans and making it a comfort area,” Chastanet stated.
He said he has seen one of the most successful markets – Borough market in London, which boasts cooking stalls, fresh produce, cottage industries and bars.
The former Tourism Minister observed that when locals and tourists visit, the market becomes a place for interaction.
He disclosed that the government is hoping to have the plans for the Castries Market completed very soon.
Chastanet said he has identified two sources of funds to get the project started hopefully before Christmas.
The prime minister said that ideally, he would like to have the project completed before Christmas.
He said it would be the beginning of the redevelopment of Castries.
“Right now we have an outside agency that’s reviewing the plan that was done in 2008 and basically bringing it up to date – that was the plan that was left to us by Sir John, and once that’s completed and everybody has had the opportunity to vet it, then it’s about executing,” Chastanet noted.
He said that Castries Mayor, Peterson Francis, who was part of the delegation, and the Castries Constituency Council(CCC), are ‘intimately involved’ in the plans.