A Saint Lucia opposition MP has responded to critics who have questioned his position on the allocation that the Saint Lucia government is giving to the CPL for the hosting of Saint Lucia Zouks matches here.
Doctor Ernest Hilaire, who is the representative for Castries South, noted on his official Facebook page that there were numerous comments in response to his posted position on the issue.
“Some of the assertions were predictable while others were simply laughable. While I have long accepted that some people will remain steadfast and vehemently defend their party line, what I found notably amusing is the invariable exposure of the double standard and brazen hypocrisy that accompanies this narrative,” Hilaire, who is the former CEO of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), observed.
“So all of a sudden the expected defense came out that a subvention to the Zouks ($950, 915 in 2017) is acceptable. Out came the line of – benefits to taxi drivers, hotels, restaurants, television advertising, etc.,” he wrote.
“Now does CPL actually bring in visitors? Well except for Trinidad and Tobago Knightriders there is very little evidence that anyone comes in for matches. What the evidence says is that tourist arrivals for the months when CPL matches were held in Saint Lucia are nothing to shout about! ”
Hilaire pointed to August 2018 as an example.
He recalled that it was a month when both Mercury Beach Festival and CPL were held.
“There were 768 more people visiting Saint Lucia than in 2017. So if we believe the huge figures given for Mercury Fest then CPL scored badly,” he declared.
“Back to those who were loudly supporting subsidising CPL. Why won’t they support subsiding Radio Saint Lucia? After all we do need a national radio station. Why won’t they support a grant to the National Trust? After all we do need to protect our patrimony? Or do we? Given our credit rating. I can go on and on. But the one that struck me is why don’t they support subsidising Virgin Airlines?” The Castries South MP enquired.
“Virgin Airlines was reported to make an opening request of $20 million over three years, say EC$7 million a year. Virgin Airlines brought in 28,000 visitors last year. Almost every single visitor needed a room, meals, taxi etc for at least 7 days. Millions of dollars spent in the economy. Based on their request and number of persons brought in, Virgin was asking for EC$250 per person,” he stated.
“CPL got EC$950, 951 in 2017. At EC$250 per person, to equal Virgin request CPL would have to bring in 3,804 persons to Saint Lucia for the Zouks matches. And even then they would have to be rejected, like Virgin Airlines. I am convinced they did not bring in 3,000 or 1,000 for that matter. So tell me how do they really justify subsidising CPL?,” Hilaire said.
He disclosed that CPL had requested the same from Doctor Kenny Anthony.
“He refused and instead the Tourist Board took a shirt sponsorship package. The Zouks still played in Saint Lucia. Did we really have to pay CPL that money? And why again?” He stated.