Local Government Minister, Senator Fortuna Belrose, has commended Castries Mayor, Peterson Francis for the ‘great work’ he has been doing in the capital City.
“Mayor of course we want to commend you for the great work you have been doing, you and your team,” Belrose declared during a ceremony last week to renew a sister city arrangement between Castries and Taipei.
Belrose made the comments amid rumours that she and Francis have not been seeing eye to eye and that moves were afoot to remove him.
The rumours were fueled by a review of the operations of the Castries Constituency Council (CCC).
Belrose informed Francis of the review in a letter dated July 13, 2018.
In addition, Francis virtually accused Belrose of interference in the affairs of the CCC when the process of appointing a Chief Executive Officer for the CCC was ‘unilaterally’ stopped, reportedly on the instructions of the minister.
The Mayor and the council nevertheless went ahead and appointed Wilfred Pierre to the position.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, who also spoke at last week’s ceremony asserted to applause that some of the things done by the Castries Mayor that were deemed to represent ‘bad behaviour’, had to do with confronting a bureaucracy that inhibits the ability to get things done.
“There becomes a conflict between governance and getting it done,” Chastanet declared.
He said that the minister has rightfully recognized that there is a danger in that.
“The danger is, if you continue not to fix the system and to then cause people to be revolutionists in achieving what they want to achieve, this could potentially undermine exactly what you are trying to do.”
“So the intention here is to look at what are those bureaucracies – how do we create a system in which we do the right thing? And we can look around Castries and realise that we have not been doing the right thing,” Chastanet lamented.
“You walk into building after building and see we are not meeting the codes. Look at the condition of the washroom facilities in Castries, and I hate it when people tell me :’ Oh! The poor tourists.” The tourists have a choice to come or not to come. We as Saint Lucians have no choice- this is home. Isn’t it right that we do it for ourselves?” The PM asked.
He said that Saint Lucians have become ‘incredibly tolerant’ because they see the inadequacies but are powerless to change them and have almost come to accept the situation as the norm.
Chastanet explained that there are great plans for Castries.
He disclosed that major renovations are about to take place in the capital.
“One of the things I am trying to get done as quickly as possible is the demolition of the printery building, the parliament building and the courthouse,” the PM explained.
He revealed that he would like to achieve that before the end of the year.
“Our plan is to keep that as an open space and to develop it as a park. So it means when you are coming into the City the first building that you are going to see is going to be the Catholic Church and certainly to help support the plans we have for our 40th anniversary of independence, having that as an open space will help enhance some of the things we are going to do.”
He asserted that the support given to the Mayor by cabinet is because the change is needed.
At the end of Chastanet’s address, he and other officials present, including the Taiwanese Ambassador, were invited to participate in a group embrace as a symbol of the sister city twinning arrangement between Castries and Taipei.