Black Bay: Natural disaster or comedy of errors?

Count on it: if our political leaders have anything to do with it, the promised ‘better days’ of the last election campaign will forever be coming, never arriving.
Three months after taking office the government has said little to explain why it has not honored its pledge to invest—“immediately upon taking office”—$100 million dollars in the private sector for the purpose of job creation. Evidently the nation is expected to wait in silence until next month when, conceivably, we’ll learn from the prime minister’s budget address where those millions might spring from—whether from Brazil, Venezuela or China—and how that money will be invested, to say nothing about cost to the nation, one way or another. But hey, that’s just fine and dandy; nothing new here. It’s the political culture: tell the people what they want to hear at election time and leave reality to the gods of voodoo.
The Kenny Anthony government would be crackbrained beyond measure if it did not expose to public scrutiny whatever suspicious behavior on the part of its immediate predecessors has come to light. Forget crackbrained; it would be nothing short of traitorous on the part of the current government if it turned a blind eye to corruption in the time of the Stephenson King administration.
I should add that I, for one, am not particularly interested in what the former prime minister might have to say now in defense of his stewardship. For his own reasons he had chosen to ignore the wall-to-wall insinuations when he held office and was accountable for his decisions to both
the people who
supported him and those who did not.
The issue of the Black Bay lands was paid much opposition attention before and throughout the 2011 election campaign. There was hardly a day when the programmed callers to Newsspin did not predictably say something outrageous about the alleged loss of some 500 acres of prime Saint Lucian land to foreigners.   Even when the allegations were obviously far-fetched and beyond ordinary imagination, the day’s government kept its mouth shut.  Was this silence rooted in contempt or was it simply a case of the right hand not knowing what went on with the left? Even when it sought answers from the government’s hired mouths the press came away disappointed. The government’s PR machine was as uninformed as the population that clearly the government took for granted.
Of course, Black Bay was not the only ignored matter of public interest. We need not go into the others here. Suffice it to say the government had in five years held less than five press conferences, never mind that the opposition dominated the media.
Pity that Allen Chastanet, who had sadly permitted the opposition to mangle his credibility following the disastrous Tuxedo case, chose only this week to speak out—and even then, only on the phone to Newsspin. What he said on the day’s hot button issue sounded disconnected, near apologetic. My information is that he spoke from somewhere overseas, possibly unprepared. In that case, he had been twice ill-advised.
The Black Bay issue demands of Chastanet and his colleagues no less than a press conference. Better yet—and what a fine precedent it would set—a joint press conference featuring both Allen Chastanet and his accuser the current prime minister. After all, the issue involves their respective administrations. From all the nation has so far been told, the Kenny Anthony government, before demitting office in 2006, had decided on selling outright the Black Bay lands now in contention.
With Senator Ausbert d’Auvergne’s taking over responsibility for the National Development Corporation following the 2006 elections, the Compton and King governments had decided on investing the lands in Roebuck Properties (Saint Lucia), rather than selling, in return for shares in the company.
On the face of it, so far, so good. Governments are elected to act in the best interests of the people. If their decisions are well intentioned, then fine, no problem. In all events, Roebuck’s bankers Kaupthing, Singer & Friedlander belly-upped, as have so many other banks all over the world over the last five years or so. The consequences to construction, so reminiscent of graveyards, are evident all over Florida and other American states, to say nothing about the local scene, Paradis and so on.
I am informed that five other local and some 25 regional projects also bit the dust in the aftermath of Kaupthing, Singer & Friedlander. It seems there is truth, after all, in the axiom that describes the road to hell as paved with the best intentions!
I am uninformed, for the answer has so far not been revealed, as to why the King government delayed signing a US$11 reclamation agreement until four days before the elections that returned the United Workers Party to the opposition benches. Would waiting another week or so have made a disastrous difference? Had the signing been delayed, what then would the new government have chosen to do?
Predictably, both sides in this matter are putting forward their convenient arguments about who did what and when, though not why. One thing for certain, the people will pay the price, as they have always paid when projects have gone awry.
I thought the prime minister’s press secretary Jadia JnPierre was especially adept on Monday, when she ducked Newsspin’s invitation to comment on caller comparisons   between the Rochamel and Black Bay issues. Quite deftly, she avoided the first mentioned, while blasting Stephenson King and Allan Chastanet, whom she declared “absolutely without credibility.” At least listeners were spared any mention of de lyin’ King! In the meantime I will refrain from pronouncing on the latest two-wrongs argument. At least, until more verifiable information has surfaced!

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