As the story goes, on the morning of March 2, 2016 a freelance videographer got wind that an illegal structure on lands divested to invest Saint Lucia was to be demolished. On arrival at the site at Pomme, in Augier, he encountered a crew from Invest Saint Lucia, including police detailed to carry out the demolitian. By some accounts the videographer contracted the area MP, Alva Baptiste, who arrived at the site in short time in his jeans and white T-shirt. With cameras rolling, Baptiste said, in essence, that actions like these affected families.
The STAR has since learned that Baptiste was not privy to the facts and, contrary to his assertion that “families and persons would be affected”, only one individual – a squatter – was involved. Invest Saint Lucia has since issued a statement on “the removal and allocation of an illegally erected storage shed.” According to ISL the area in question is the subject of an on-going rationalization process, earmarked for management by the Programme for the Regularization of Unplanned Developments (PROUD).
“In this particular instance,” Invest Saint Lucia has stated, “the said lands had indeed been allocated to another family for the purpose of erecting a dwelling house within affecting the continuing unregularized occupation of other adjoining occupants”. For those reasons, its actions were defensible, never mind the MP’s intervention.
Reliable sources have told the STAR that it was Baptiste’s involvement that was contrary to the law. So why did ISL back off? A reliable source told the STAR that ISL CEO McHale Andrew “received a telephone call reminding him that this is election time – no time to shake up party supporters”.
ISL board was not amused and has asked its officers to stand by their actions. The collective attitude was that once a site had been marked for demolition, political involvement should not be tolerated. Last we heard ISL was “determined to pursue its legal options in the matter”.