Alva Baptiste, former Minister of External Affairs, International Trade & Civil Aviation, has criticised the government’s scheduled public consultations on the controversial $US 2.6 billion Desert Star Holdings Limited (DHS) project planned for the South for Saint Lucia.
He has accused the Allen Chastanet administration of putting the cart before the horse.
“Basically you sign an agreement with serious implications for Saint Lucia and then you are going to consult with the people of Vieux Fort or the people of Saint Lucia?” Baptiste said.
He declared that the consultations are tantamount to no consultations whatsoever.
The Laborie MP observed that the people of Vieux Fort have a development model for themselves.
Alva Baptiste said there are ‘authentic intellectuals’ in Vieux Fort South and in other constituencies who are quite capable of emerging with a rational and convincing proposal for their development.
He stated that he was aware that many groups in Vieux Fort held consultations in the past and continue to consult on the way forward for Vieux Fort South.
“So the Prime Minister cannot go and sign an agreement and thereafter when the agreement is in the public domain and we understand the implications of the agreement, what can the Prime Minister say to anybody in Vieux Fort, Laborie, Pierrot, Laborie, even Micoud South to convince them that listen ‘what is in the agreement is not true and will not have implications for us?'” The former Minister told reporters.
“We are not without understanding. We are people with the cerebral competence to understand things and to proffer new solutions for the problems that beset us as a people.”
According to Baptiste, the consultations should have preceded the signing of any agreement by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet and the developer.
The opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) has criticised the DSH project, asserting that the current agreement is not in the best interests of Saint Lucia and should be renegotiated.
However the government has hit out at what it described as ‘fear mongering’ in connection with the mega project.