Thursday 26 November, 2020

UWP and SLP both claim credit for Soufriere projects

The ruling UWP government and the opposition SLP are both counting certain Soufriere projects as successes creditable to their parties. 

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet wrote today, August 2, 2019, on his official Facebook page, "If you are looking for evidence of the New Saint Lucia that we promised to build, then take a drive down to Soufriere. 

On Wednesday, we officially commissioned the latest project in Sulphur City which is the Soufriere Town Square. Since assuming office in 2016 the constituency of Soufriere/Fond St Jacques has began to experience the promised transformation, with the construction of 3 additional pools at the Sulphur Springs Park, the Hummingbird Beach Park Project, the new bus terminal and farmers market at the Old Trafford Complex, Rehabilitation of the Fire Station, ongoing rehabilitation of the Police Station, the rehabilitation of the Fond St Jacques Playing Field and many other constituency development projects all aimed at improving the social, economic and living conditions in such a promising constituency."

In an official statement released July 29, 2019, the SLP stated, "The Soufriere/Fond St. Jacques Constituency Group of the Saint Lucia Labour (SLP), joins with the people of Soufriere, in placing on record its profound gratitude to Mr. Harold Dalsan and the SLP, for the vision and foresight in conceptualizing, sourcing funding for, and facilitating implementation of two major projects in Soufriere: The Soufriere Square and the Old Trafford. 

The Soufriere Square was conceptualized in 2014 with the central objectives of enhancing the aesthetic beauty of the town and providing an area for community recreation. Following several community consultations, the plans for the project were finalized, and included the Freedom Monument produced by Mr. Ricky George. With a grant of EC$2.5 million from the Republic of China (Taiwan), works commenced on the Square in March 2016 and was due for completion in October 2016. Unfortunately, with the United Workers Party (UWP) assuming office in June 2016, Hon. Herod Stanislaus and Prime Minister Allen Chastanet unceremoniously stopped the project, which was more than seventy (70) percent complete at the time. This was done without any consultation whatsoever and without any rationale for their action; and the result was the creation of an eyesore in the heart of the town of Soufriere for the last 3 years.

With general elections fast approaching and their popularity plummeting, the UWP Government has hastily completed the very same project, hoping to receive credit and commendation for it. However, the people of Soufriere are adamant in holding Herod Stanislaus and Allen Chastanet “criminally liable” for delaying the completion of the Soufriere Square by three years. The people believe that “Justice delayed is justice denied” and they are determined to hold Herod Stanislaus and Allen Chastanet accountable in the ballot boxes at the next General elections.

Disturbingly, the Old Trafford project suffered the same vindictive stoppage fate as the Square. The project was also conceived in 2014 and with public consultation, a proposal under the Basic Needs Trust Fund Eight (BNTF 8) was submitted to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for consideration and approval. After much discussion and consultation, including a visit to the CDB Headquarters, by the then Chairman and Executive Director of the Saint Lucia Social Development Fund (SSDF), the EC$1.1 million grant was finally approved in 2015, under the broad profile of Drainage and Access, for the construction of the project.
The Old Trafford project was set in motion during the second quarter of 2016, but was similarly stopped by Hon. Herod Stanislaus and Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, without public consultation and for no valid reason. Again, with general election fast approaching they have hastily completed the project, hoping that it would compensate for their delinquency and their contempt and disrespect for the people of Soufriere/Fond St. Jacques.

However, the Soufriere Fond St. Jacques Constituency Group of the SLP, is confident that the people of Soufriere will not be fooled, by the desperate PR and propaganda of a failed government.

The Constituency Group again extends its gratitude and appreciation to Mr. Harold Dalsan, former Member of Parliament for Soufriere/Fond St. Jacques, and the Saint Lucia Labour Party; for conceptualizing, sourcing the funding for, and facilitating implementation of the Soufriere Square and the Old Trafford projects. The Group also extends appreciation and thanks to the Caribbean Development Bank, for the grant of EC$1.1 million for the Old Trafford project; as well as to the Republic of China (Taiwan), for the grant of EC$2.5 million for construction of the Soufriere Square."

Prime Minister Chastanet concluded his post saying, "I am extremely proud of the work that Hon. Herod Stanislas, Mayor Pius Gangadine and the teams from the Soufriere Constituency Council as well as the Soufriere Development Foundation have been able to achieve together. I am looking forward to the completion of the upgrading of the Soufriere Sports Stadium which is ongoing and the commencement of the new Soufriere Hospital. 

In the coming weeks, the constituencies of Gros Islet and Anse la Raye will begin to benefit from some Transformative projects as we work to create equal opportunities across Saint Lucia."

Herod Stanislas commented on both projects posting to Facebook on July 30, 2019, "The previous design for the Soufriere Square did not conform to my vision, the economic strategic plan and cultural historic preservation of the town hence a redesign. This redesign was constructed to create a public space for the Town of Soufriere, which appeals to the emotions of its user in a very direct way."

On July 29, 2019, he posted, "Another Promise Delivered. Today was indeed a remarkable occasion. The Old Trafford Complex was commissioned.

This First Phase of the project comprises of a Farmers Market for provision and fruit vendors and a Bus Terminal to accommodate the Mini Buses doing transfers for the Soufriere/Castries Route, Soufriere/Vieux Fort Route and the Soufriere/Fond St. Jacques.

I am very thankful to all stakeholders, contractors and workers who supported and worked diligently to open this facility. I applaud Mayor Gangardine and the Soufriere Constituency Council for their many deliberations and consultations with the Vendors and Mini Bus Operators which resulted in the smooth transition and operation of this complex and the creation of a home for vendors and bus operators.

The Old Trafford Farmers Market and Bus Terminal is part of my holistic development plan for the constituency. The aim is to foster linkages and make the tourism capital more sustainable to residents and attractive to visitors.

The second phase when it commences will include a craft market, additional concessions booths, duty free shopping and restaurant.

The official opening of the facility will be during the second week of August 2019."

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