CSA wrongly credited with housing scheme

Former CSA president Calixte George

On Wednesday’s Newsmaker Live, Timothy Poleon had as its guests the president and the vice president of the Saint Lucia Civil Service Association, to discuss a proposed housing scheme and how foreign landowners are making it difficult for CSA members “to own a piece of the land that gave us birth.”
The night’s first caller was former CSA president and communications and works minister Calixte George, who credited the allegedly victimized CSA with initiating the Vide Bouteille Housing Scheme.
Mr Poleon’s guests were obviously gratified by the distortion by a caller of Mr George’s caliber that seemed to prove “history repeating itself.” Another caller, Mr Kingsley St Hill, also a former CSA president, took the opportunity to declare Mr George a hero for having brought to light what appeared to be another undeniable and, until-Wednesday-evening, hidden truth.
Actually, both callers were misinformed, as the following taken from the Colonial Annual Reports St Lucia 1948, published by His Majesty’s Stationery Office, at page 32 proves. Headed “Vide Bouteille Housing Scheme,” the item states:
“In accordance with the proposed town-planning scheme for Castries and surroundings, and areas of Vide Bouteille Estate containing approximately 35 acres was compulsorily acquired by Government for the establishment of a housing scheme.
“This scheme is designed to relieve the slum areas of Castries and to make house plots available for the greater part of the
former residents in the burnt area of Castries, over 50 percent of whom cannot be re-housed in the new town plan.
“The sum of $35,145 from the surplus balances of the Colony has been made available for the purchase of the land, the clearing of the site and the establishment of the main roads and access roads to the area.
“The proposed scheme makes provision for about 350 house plots, sites for shops, school building and a playing field, with an overall density of nine houses per acre. The scheme has been divided into two sections, one providing for building sites and the other providing  for a small Government Housing Scheme of 40 houses, 20 of which are to be constructed in timber and 20 in concrete or hollow clay bricks.”
The CSA did not exist in 1948 when the Colonial Annual Reports was published. The association was registered in 1951 and this year will mark its 60th anniversary.
Confronted with the official 1948 report Mr George readily admitted his “heroic” statement on Wednesday evening’s Newsmaker Live was misleading.
As for Mr St Hill, he too acknowledged his mistake and blamed it on his date of birth.
“I wasn’t born in 1948,” he said.

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