PRESS RELEASE – Members of the Vieux-Fort Concerned Citizens Coalition for Change (VFCCCC) were taken aback, when in the HTS Newscast of March 20, 2017, the Prime Minister Chastanet maliciously sought to characterize the group as a mouthpiece of the St. Lucia Labour Party.
This is utter rubbish being spewed from the mouth of the Prime Minister and is further testimony to the disregard, disrespect and contempt that he harbours for democratic rights of citizens of this country such as the right of association and the right of free speech.
The VFCCCC has said before that it was in conceptual phase when DSH Agreements were leaked to the public. However, the outrageous, ridiculous and insensitive terms and conditions of these agreements, which gave all the benefits to the Master Developer while St. Lucia would bear all the risks, necessitated an urgent response by the VFCCC.
From the outset the group identified this and other main issues of concern and invited the Prime Minister to speak with the people of Vieux-Fort. This was done no less than three times and that expectation of a meeting with the Prime Minister was being echoed throughout the town and district of Vieux-Fort. The large turnout at the VFCCCC’s first Town Hall Meeting bears overwhelming testimony to this.
The Prime Minister treated these requests with absolute contempt including a petition signed by over 3000 persons, hand-delivered to his office. It is also perplexing that the Prime Minister can travel thousands of miles to England, the US, Canada and elsewhere to present his case to the St. Lucia diaspora but arrogantly refuses to travel to Vieux-Fort, just about 35 miles from his office, to answer the burning questions of the farmers, fishermen, cattle, breeders, charcoal producers, bee-keepers and local residents who will be deprived of 900 acres of prime, investment lands, traditional recreational areas, natural and sensitive environments which protect the land and provide habitats for numerous life forms and resources to support many livelihoods, and land for their future development needs.
Instead of attaching unfounded or ill-advised labels to the profile of the VFCCCC, Allen Chastanet should be thankful to the group for undertaking, at personal cost to its members, activities to inform residents and generate discussion on the pros and cons of the DSH Project.
This is what we expect in a functional democracy Allen Chastanet. A responsible government must incorporate the views, suggestions, /concerns, etc. of the people into the final decision-making exercise. Good decision-making is not an exclusive right or ability of a sitting Prime Minister and his Cabinet.
Referring to the VFCCCC as a “mouth-piece of the St. Lucia Labour Party” does not address the numerous concerns of the residents of Vieux-Fort and other citizens of St. Lucia regarding the DSH Deal.
Your response lacks the maturity, objectivity, thoughtfulness, reasonableness, insightfulness and political savviness expected of a prime minister. The residents of Vieux-Fort and other citizens of St. Lucia want clear, factual and reassuring answers and are waiting to hear them from you, Prime Minister Chastanet.