Former Saint Lucian diplomat launches “distress fund” for fire victims

Former Saint Lucian diplomat launches “distress fund” for fire victims
Peter Lansiquot

(SNO) — Former Deputy Head of Mission for the Embassy of Saint Lucia in Washington DC, Peter Lansiquot, has launched the “People’s Distress Fund” to assist residents who lose their homes in fires and other disasters.

The Fund was officially launched on Wednesday, April 24 inside Wilton’s Yard, Castries (also known as ‘the Graveyard), near the spot where three houses were destroyed by fire on the night of Thursday, April 18.

Several houses were damaged by the fire which started around 11 p.m., but there were no reports of death or injuries. The cause of the fire is unknown but investigations are ongoing, according to sources.

Lansiquot also announced his “first personal donation” to the Fund.

“This is a progressive response to the government’s repeated failure to allocate resources to the Distress Fund, which normally contained about half a million dollars, and which provided significant resources to families whose homes got burnt,” Lansiquot stated in an email to the media on Tuesday.

Lansiquot, who also the former head of mission for the Embassy of Saint Lucia in Cuba and a former CARICOM diplomat, said he aims to raise $100,000 in the first month of the Fund and “to reverse the tendency for Saint Lucians to have to beg for assistance when they lose their homes overnight!”


Opposition Leader Philip J. Pierre assured that when the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) returns to office, the Distress Support Fund, which was budgeted annually for the purpose of helping fire victims, will be re-instituted and the annual allocation increased, according to a statement from the country’s main opposition party in January 2019.

Pierre said the Fund, which was in the region of $500,000 yearly, was eliminated by the Allen Chastanet Administration “with no regard for the critical role that such a fund was intended to play during such events”.

He made the comments after he visited fire victims at Rose Hill on New Year’s Day.

“We have a responsibility to provide relief to the less fortunate people among us who do not have the means to provide property insurance to protect themselves from such disasters,” Pierre said.

In the statement, the SLP also expressed its “deepest sympathy” with families affected by the devastating fire which ravaged several homes in Rose Hill, Castries, in the early hours of New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 2019.

According to the statement, Pierre, who is also SLP political leader and parliamentary representative for Castries East, visited the site of the fire, on the same day, to “view first-hand the damage suffered by the unfortunate residents of Rose Hill at a time of year when most people should be celebrating the start of a new year and looking forward with optimism to fulfilling some of their hopes and aspirations in the coming months”.

Pierre expressed “his sadness” that the Distress Support Fund which had been established by his party was removed by the present United Workers Party (UWP) government.


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  1. why would they rebuild in the same spot that's insane give the victims some where else please those houses are too close to each other ,people think! that can happen again.nonsense


  2. Without the necessary safeguards in Spacial separations in the constructions of Houses (Buildings )
    it is futile to construct anything in that location unless it is entirely fireproof. These dwellings are just
    too close to each other and are vulnerable to the spread of fire. First check with the Planing Department
    then with your Insurance Co. Too often when fire starts, four or five houses are gone before the Fire
    fighters get there. wholesale re-planning is a must in that area, if not disaster is not far away, so watch it.


    • This area needs to be demolished and the residents scattered. This is how God almighty dealt with the ills of the Tower of Babel. But which politician has the will to clean up Castries? The "pit stop" of the Caribbean as per Minister Fortuna Belrose. And so right she is.


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