After the groundwork by the Banana Salvation Committee and their friends, a new voice arose in Vieux Fort asking to give the town a prime minister. So went the propaganda of 1997. Now twenty years later it’s time for stocktaking. And what do we find? How has Vieux Fort changed for the better? Those who refuse to see cannot seem to free themselves of an abusive situation. The same lot is back opposing and now
plans to make hay of the backs of the poor little reptiles on Maria Islet; a last desperate bid by those who will drown in the sea of their own deceit and hypocrisy. The masquerade of forked tongues knows no limits. But the music is all but over. It stopped with IMPACS and the Grynberg oil deal.
The apparent dissatisfaction with DSH is a diabolical political manoeuvre by political operatives that have lost all pride. No one is fooled! As the saying goes you can fool some of the people some of the time but you cannot fool all the people all of the time. Unfortunately, that truism cannot stop those who deal in untruths from trying to fool whosoever will not learn from the past.
Vieux Fort has stagnated in the last twenty years more than it had ever done. The town has regressed ever since the people were misled by the 1997 propaganda. This is the truth it has to face. The people declined as political opportunists and back-room moneychangers ascended during the last 20 years. It was as if a curse had visited Vieux Fort even as it drifted slowly north from its foundation near the mouth of the Vieux Fort River and the southern seashore. No one told the money changers that the barrier created by Hewanorra Airport would limit the northern spread of the town. Who cares that the western part was slowly dying? Who cares that the bridge over to Coco Dan and Black Bay lay in ruins as the former SLP administration claimed it built 14 new bridges island-wide?
It bears repeating that one does not need to be a town planner to see that the town has remained stunted and continues to cry out for a visionary leader. A visionary leader would do whatever it takes to adjust any development plan for Vieux Fort and try to build linkages between Vieux Fort, Laborie and other centres of population in the south.
I said on ‘Mr. Chairman’ (the Dave Samuels TV show on Calabash Television) that the apparent neglect of the western portion of Vieux Fort is one of the weaknesses of the DSH proposals. If the original proposal by the developer was to build a racetrack only, whose idea was it for him to present instead a broader development plan encompassing the beaches north and east of Vieux Fort? Frankly, no serious development plan for Vieux Fort can neglect the western part of the town. This is tantamount to an act of betrayal of the people of Vieux Fort.
Save and except that omission, I fully endorse the DSH proposals for the town. There is no plan from DSH to link the Maria Islets to the mainland. To appease the voices of those who have suddenly found themselves friends of Maria and her hidden little reptiles, appropriate steps ought to be taken to dry their tears. I would employ a reputable research foundation to remove the little reptiles for safekeeping in a new negotiated location. Those who are interested would be given free access to visit as often as it pleases them.
This real purpose of this article is to pose the following questions:
1. Why did the former SLP government sit on the DSH proposals, especially with an approaching election, without a word to the people of Vieux Fort?
2. Had they won the last general elections, how long would the former SLP government have waited before implementing the DSH project? Would it have consulted the people of Vieux Fort?
3. Was the original DSH project for a horse race track only? If yes, did the SLP government encourage DSH to submit a larger scheme
to include all of Sandy beach, Ma Coter and Hewanorra Airport?
4. Was there any discussion between the former SLP government and DSH for the development of the western part of Vieux Fort, including a marina at Coco Dan and affordable housing and restaurants at Black Bay and Laborie?
5. How much income, research information and pleasure have the people of Vieux Fort and the south derived from the poor reptiles which survived the violent ruptures during the formation of these islands?
6. When was the CIP officially launched and who were the foreigners issued with Saint Lucian passports before the CIP came into effect? How much money did the government collect for the sale of these Saint Lucian passports?
7. Why is the SLP creating all this smoke screen over DSH when a new UWP government seems determined to proceed with a fairly broad and ambitious DSH project?
8. Will DSH create employment and benefit the people of Vieux Fort and the south of Saint Lucia?
9. Finally, I join my voice to that of the many thousands who say it’s time to give Vieux Fort a new deal. Any right-thinking person must ask:
what plans do those who oppose DSH have for Vieux Fort?
I rest my case.