A horrendous and unacceptable deal

By SLP

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Ernest Hilaire

(PRESS RELEASE) – Last week the Prime Minister and Mr. Teo Ah-King held a press conference where they unveiled plans for that part of the so-called “Pearl of the Caribbean” project referred to as Site C in the Supplementary Agreement.

Before we examine what was presented, let us return to our last Press Conference on DSH. I will share with you copies of our presentation on that day for ease of reference.

During that Press Conference, we appealed to the Prime Minister to be transparent with the people of Saint Lucia. It was only because the DSH Agreement and Supplementary Agreement were leaked that we were made aware of the horrendous provisions in the Agreements.

For example, the Agreements required us to “give up” the George Odlum Stadium and Sandy Beach sites, allowing the developer to hold money earned from CIP in a foreign escrow account, the buy-back option, the security of investment clause, the leasing of land for $1 per acre, exclusive rights for betting and wagering with no sharing of revenue with Saint Lucia, giving away all productive lands in Vieux Fort and exempting the developer from paying all and every tax.

The Agreement is a bad Agreement. It is not in the best interest of Saint Lucia or Saint Lucians. The Saint Lucia Labour Party wishes to repeat its rejection of the DSH Project under the present terms, conditions and concept.

In trying to justify his support for Mr. Teo Ah-King, the Prime Minister presented contradictory details on Phase 1, the race track. First, he said that Clem Bobb had shown the then Governor General the DCA approval in order that the Prince could participate in the sod turning ceremony, then he told Rick Wayne that the developer has just gotten his EIA done and was hoping to receive his DCA approval.

The Prime Minister presented then, drawings for Site B – Sandy Beach which showed that a causeway would be built to Maria Islands and that high-rise hotels and condos will be built along the beachfront. There was vigorous opposition, locally and internationally, to any effort to desecrate our national reserve and beach.

To date, the Prime Minister has not informed the people of Saint Lucia whether these plans have been withdrawn.

The Saint Lucia Labour Party as well as many concerned citizens and groups have raised major issues about this bad deal by the UWP. In response, the Prime Minister argued then that the Agreements were just a framework and that he had every intention of making them public. He promised to negotiate the Agreement phase by phase and will inform Saint Lucians of the details. To date, we have not heard from the Prime Minister as to whether the horrendous provisions have been removed. Saint Lucians want to know the details of the new Agreements which were negotiated.

So Last week, a set of drawings and photos were presented for Site C – the area which takes up the back of Bellevedere, Bacadere, IL Pirata and Cocodan. We need to state categorically that no new photos and pictures of Site C can compensate for engaging and providing information to the people of Saint Lucia in general and the South in particular on all the outstanding issues.

With these new drawings, rather than answering questions, there are more questions to be asked.

The Prime Minister announced that the Hewanorra International Airport is now part of the ‘Pearl of the Caribbean’ Development. This is an alarming and worrying state of affairs which the Saint Lucia Labour Party rejects and all Saint Lucians must reflect upon. First, the World Bank/IFC managed international tendering process for a public/private partnership which would avoid a massive loan of over US$150 million to be repaid by the people of Saint Lucia, was abandoned by the UWP. Now we are told that our airport is part of Mr. Teo Ah-King’s Project. The situation is worsen with the Prime Minister announcing that the airport reconstruction will begin by the end of the year.

The Saint Lucia Labour Party wishes to ask the following:

1. Is Mr. Teo Ah-King involved in the design and construction of the new Hewanorra International Airport?

2. Will monies collected from the airport tax be used to pay Mr. Ah-King if he is involved in the design and construction?

3. Will Mr. Teo Ah-King be involved in the management of the airport as part of his DSH project?

The Labour Party wants the Prime Minister to clarify whether he has abandoned a World Bank/IFC partnership to hand Mr. Teo Ah-King the Hewannora Airport as part of his DSH Deal.

Ladies and gentlemen, fellow Saint Lucians, you may recall that the Prime Minister told us that Mr. Teo Ah-King will be providing the money upfront to build the Race Track and that Saint Lucia will repay him through the sale of our passports.

But the Prime Minister now says that that there was a need to lease the land to Mr. Teo Ah-King so that he can use it as collateral. In other words, we have leased our lands to Teo Ah-king for him to get a loan to build the race track! He then operates the race track where he will earn money through betting, waging and broadcast rights and ought to be able to repay that loan.

You will recall that Saint Lucia does not get a share of that revenue. We will then repay Teo Ah-King for the money spent on the race track by allowing him to sell our passports. This is totally unacceptable!

The Prime Minister does not tell us what interest is levied, how long it will take to repay Mr. Teo Ah-king, how many passports he will be given or what items are Saint Lucia repaying.

Then the Prime Minister goes further to declare that the race track is not a money making business and when it is returned to Saint Lucia, a management agreement will be entered into with Mr. Teo Ah-King to manage and operate the race track. The Prime Minister also explains that a race track is just the cheese that attracts other investments like hotels that will make the money.

The Saint Lucia Labour Party wants answers to the following burning questions:

1. If the race track does not make money, will we have to further pay Mr. Teo Ah-King to manage and operate the race track?

2. If the race track is the cheese that facilitates other investments, why should Saint Lucia repay Mr. Teo Ah-king for an asset that he will use to attract money making investments?

3. Why should Saint Lucians get in return, only the part of the investment that does not make money, what about the other investments that make money and which will be built with our CIP monies?

The Prime Minister said that subsidizing rice, flour and sugar for poor people was idiotic but tell me isn’t this truly idiotic?

The Prime Minister announced that work has recommenced on the race track and that there are amendments to be made and designs to be refined along the way. Mr. Teo Ah-King indicated that the race track will have “temporary facilities” for now so that he can start races and bring in investors to see his proposed development. It is announced that races will start later this year or in February 2018. This raises some fundamental questions:

1. Has DCA approved the new designs for horse racing development? Did the Prime Minister attend a DCA meeting sometime last year to personally appeal for the project to be approved? If DCA did not approve the Project, then did Cabinet override the DCA and approved it?

2. Is Mr. Teo Ah-King and Allen Chastanet merely using Saint Lucia to speculate? Given that our land is given to him as collateral for the race track it is clear that he does not intend to bring in any investment capital and is using our resources and CIP monies as leverage to finance his DSH project.

3. What will now become of the Beausejour to La Ressource Road and the Beausejour to Grace Roads given the new designs for the race track?

3. What will become of the St. Jude’s Hospital given the new designs?

4. When will the Dump be closed? Is it true that two locations for the dump are currently being actively considered; in La Retriate Grace in Vieux Fort North or Black Bay Laborie? Where will it be located?

5. When will the Equine Disease Free Zone be implemented, how far into Vieux Fort North, Laborie and Vieux Fort South will the area stretch? When will farmers, owners of animals and residents be sensitized on the implications for their communities and livelihoods?

The People of Saint Lucia and especially the South have expressed concerns and the Labour Party has asked many questions on the DSH Project but there has been total disregard from the Prime Minister.

It is clear that the Prime Minister has no intention of telling the people of Saint Lucia exactly what is going on or the exact deal that he has made with Mr. Teo Ah King. You will recall that he had written a secret letter to Teo Ah-King making promises before he had even signed the Framework Agreement. His approach to governance continues to be arrogant and disdainful of Saint Lucians.

There is no greater example of this than in the DSH Project. There is a simple though misguided belief that flashy photos, glittering drawings and sweet talk of jobs to come are all Saint Lucians need to silence them. There is no commitment to provide genuine and sufficient information to address concerns, there is a constant dismissal of any dissenting view and a constant abuse of our laws and parliamentary procedures.

It is evident that the patience of the people of Saint Lucians is being tested over and over on this matter. The Saint Lucia Labour Party will continue to agitate against this bad deal and repeats its earlier statement that it will use all available actions within the ambits of the law to reverse this bad deal which has been imposed on the people of Saint Lucia.

(20)(12)
This article was posted in its entirety as received by stlucianewsonline.com. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

30 comments

  1. I believe these questions must be answered.

    (0)(0)
  2. Barry Wyndham DSH-FOUR HORSEMEN

    First of all, Hillaire does not write press releases. His unstable press person writes press releases on government time. Secondly, DSH will happen. You cannot stop it. What we need to talk about though is the open ploy to remove the current Leader of the opposition from his perch both in the house and at the top of the party ranks. The current leader is scared as hell of a palace coupe as we get closer to a convention. Chastanet was smart enough to have made a move by this time in the last cycle when his party was out. Hillaire is obviously timid. The memory of the early eighties still stings the party. So no overt moves which may publicly open already festering wounds and factions can be allowed to surface. Pierre is true labour. Hillaire is technocrat labour. Hillaire holds the loyalty of the kennyites. Pierre holds the loyalty of the old guard laybahs. The fight will happen. Alva and Mussa are ready to pounce when the war starts. Kenny is waiting in the wind to save the day. Practice writing press releases my big shouldered press release writer, you will be doing it for a mighty long time.

    (5)(8)
  3. This deal is a form of exploitation, only that we are willing participants. Our willingness is due to the following . One is greed . The greed is in the form of conflicts of interest with direct material gains and to satisfy a selfish ego, to hold on to power by appearing to have accomplished,but at National cost . Two, partisanship, combined with self interest are the main cause of our blindness to things not in the public's interest and to others that may be even illegal.

    (5)(1)
  4. Tell me who came up with CIP scheme to make money for themselves? hilarious isn't it? and how it is that now it is coming to bite us back in the butt? karma aint pretty. fact is none of you including this deranged press release writer has the welfare of lucians at heart. the passport for profit scheme and DSH are bad deals. the man in charge of DSH is much smarter than Chastanet. he is getting all those concessions just to run a horse farm in vieux fort. he even taking control of the airport too. one of them went to school and learn and the other went to school and did not learn jack shit. this is a poor deal. and it should be scrapped.

    (7)(0)
  5. I remember when this current government campaigned on transparency. Now in power they never want the people know the facts. Hopefully this will be a lesson to us all. I doubt it though

    (8)(2)
  6. CIP and DSH are extremely bad investments with extremely long term and irreversible damages. I have been against SLP for introducing CIP, just like I am against UWP's DSH. Bad deal for the people who are understandably job hungry and will easily be deceived by the promise of jobs. What jobs and at what cost ? Is gambling ever sustainable ?

    (13)(2)
    • Can you justify that the jobs promised by DSH is a hoax? I can understand that we were deceived by the SLP JOBS, JOBS, JOBS. Can you also inform us as to what will we be loosing and the irreversible damages. I want some one to tell me what irreversible damage any investment has done to our country starting from all the hotels in the north to all the Factories in the south. The only one I can think of is La Paradie in Mon-Repos. We said nothing even when we knew of the damages to the wild life (snakes and bird) were obvious. The locations for all the DSH projects has no damaging impact on the environment in my assessment and with all such project and environment Impact Assessment must be done. . The existing reef will not be tampered with as shown in the presentations. Most of the land used are waterlogged or back filled lands. We need Job jobs jobs and this time it is here.

      (4)(13)
      • Anonymous, the irreversible damages are the low paying jobs these hotels produce, top paying jobs goes to foreigners, the continued trade deficit that ensues due to an escalating import deficit, the outflow of profits and hard currency from the nation, all-inclusive properties discourage visitors to patronage local businesses except for guided tours, little or no reinvestment of profits, no emphasis to promote a domestic manufacturing base given that 95% of products will be imported to keep the hotels functioning, just to name a few. All of the aforementioned facts do not encourage job growth.

        (4)(1)
        • SAY IT AGAIN TO THE DYSFUNCTIONAL SHAMELESS COMRADE "no emphasis to promote a domestic manufacturing base" Well said ! Well said indeed ! They think everyone is so caught up so much in red and yellow (and that's exactly their plan keep them distracted, keep them partisan good old divide and conquer and blame the boggy man suckers it works every time ) some of us will not see thru their smoke screen. Land is land bad or good is a precious asset because God is not creating anymore, equity rich pound foolish and they are willing to give it away for a dollar for jobs, jobs, jobs . Ask them same ones to list the kind of "jobs" that will come if this project goes thru ? Nuff mediocre like sixty percent of the workforce is right now. Do they believe Chinese would ever have Non Chinese at the helm of their business ? Where in the world do you see that ever.

          (5)(2)
  7. As I follow this story from the UK with family and friends in St Lucia it seems that supporters of the prime minister think it's a good deal and the Labour Party thinks it's a bad deal . As an Outsider it doesn't look like a good deal for the majority of St Lucians, with much needed jobs I can see why the government are courting investors but surely if Theo Ah-king can use St Lucians Land to get a loan to develop a race course with out paying anything for it ( $1 per acre) he is not investing he is asset stripping .The Govenment and the opposition Should have sat down together gone to the World Bank themselves and used their own land to secure a loan to build the race course this way the whole of St Lucia would benefit . I know people will say we haven't got the funds to pay the loan back these payments could have been offset once the race course was up and running as only the course is being built with temporary stands i am sure this could have been achieved It is what Theo Ah-King is doing !

    (15)(3)
  8. I am baffled that politics and party affiliation are keeping us in the dark and unenlightened. How do we expect to progress as a Nation if we continue to accept the status quo. Ignorance is the lack of knowledge or information. Remember, the Germans were afraid to question Hitler motives and they paid a hefty price. Why shouldn't Dr. Hilaire bring forward his comments about the project....Is it because he is Labor and therefore his point of views are skewed? I beg to differ. We should hold our government accountable irrespective of our political affiliation. Awareness and access to information allows us to make informed decision. Dr. Hilaire, there are more Lucians (including those affiliated with UWP) with similar concerns about the project but are not brave enough to come forward. Please DO NOT relent. Stand firm and continue to ask the RIGHT questions.

    (14)(3)
  9. .......And the balless " agitators" (of course they know them selves) with their relentless egotistical fortitude are more concerned about the loss of the sea bed. Mind bottleing, to say the least not that it comes as any surprise they are willing to sell out at any cost in the name of development just to say "we did it " before they die, but when they are long gone and pushing up daiseys it's their children grand children will still be paying thru their ass for their birthright . Stay focus Lucians; "the thesis" is not we are against "development" but rather we are against the present deal that is presented to us.

    (17)(4)
  10. So much fake news. Sing a better country & western song instead. More people will be able to follow. Right now, you are so damn boring.

    Every time you see DSH, your erupt into your nonsensical jabbering. Did you take your meds? Poor fellow. Have you lost all your marbles, man?

    So much fake news.

    (12)(21)
    • Theres a reason why you remain anonymous... sounds more like you need your meds and a wake up call for once stop with the politics and take a look at whats happening around you

      (12)(8)
  11. Lucians watch your bread!

    (9)(4)
  12. Wasn't Juffali and Grynberg horrendous and unacceptable deals?

    (19)(11)
    • Idiot!!!!!!! Because one party did shi then you must do shit? Shame..we cannot think beyond red and yellow.

      (18)(10)
      • The thing is UWP is not doing shit. There is transparency. These Jufalli and Grynberg is far worse than DSH. In my view there is nothing wrong with DSH if the Environmental Impact Assessment is ok. With all these jobs anticipated I believe the $1.00 least should he $0.00.

        (1)(8)
  13. All of a sudden you are a good deal maker. We just want to know about the Jufalli deal please. DSH will be bringing us needed JOBS in the south. The land that as been under utilized is going nowhere nowhere. With all these jobs created it should be leased for $0.00. Lets look at The Brewery, Winera, Halcyon Days etc. They are all here for over 40 years and has employed thousands of people from the South. Would you as government regret leasing these land for $1.00 an acre?

    (16)(15)
    • So you would sell your home to get a job and wonder later where would you live. No one isnt saying that there is a need for jobs but you must read the fine prints have you hear about reading all the fine print details of the contract before signing because once you do its hard to fight back. I do hope St Lucians are ready for what they're about to do, cherish what you have now because you just my need it later.

      (11)(5)
      • That is so stupid. Are we really selling our home to get jobs? Did we sell our home for the hotel investors in the north or the manufacturing investors in the south? We all are benefiting today. The portion of the land for the DSH project is only for the horse race track at Beausejour and this is small when compared to the anticipated benefits. The other areas are either waterlogged or back-filled area. Also remember that without jobs you cannot buy land. Now just imagine what would happen if over 70% of the youth in the south remains unemployed. Lots of Ghettos.

        (1)(4)
        • What jobs, shoveling horse manure over the entire track is a job? While our passports are being sold for thirty pieces of silver?

          We better chase dem craze baldheads out ah town, kah north ah dem ah circus clown!

          (4)(2)
  14. Did the DCA approve Kenny's planned carbuncle in Vieux Fort using NIC money? Who were the contractors and the suppliers for that building. Labour is so pathetic. Pot calling kettle black.

    (12)(15)
  15. We want to know about the unauthorized deals in London. Please tell us. Never mind they are coming to light very soon.

    (12)(7)
  16. There they go again! Everytime DSH surfaces or inches towards inception SLP gets delirious.

    (10)(13)
  17. So Chastanet selling us to the Chiney man and you sold us to the Sheiks in the desert; remember Jufalli? As for Chastanet deal, I hope he put out his own press release to let people know what is truth and untruth. them voliares does lie. so right now, i taking that with a big dose of salt.

    (10)(6)
    • You won't ever know, basically the country is being sold left right and centre and these politicians are crocks. I think this one is the worse of all he's pretty much selling the country right under the locals under the pretences of jobs meanwhile most St Lucians don't realized what will be after 5-10 years you won't have your land, you won't probably have jobs, most likely the country will be in huge amounts of debts and not to mention the Asians would be owning the Lands with full rights to it. What a joke when you come to think of it. By then Chastnet will be long gone...

      (11)(4)
      • Travis, stop being a political whore!

        (2)(5)
      • Some of them don't care .Its all partism politics.God is not making anymore land and before they tread dangerous waters carefully when it comes a deal of this magnitude they are willing to give it away for little or nothing without reading the fine print. All they see are shiny buildings and the promise of jobs but at what cost. Read the fine print people. Its all in the fine print.

        (1)(0)

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