PRESS RELEASE – Government sought Parliament’s approval this morning to raise EC $8,407,800.00 and EC $5,092,200.00 to issue fixed rate bonds, to Marie Ann Cecilia Francis and Estate of Oliver Caliste Nicholas Francis, respectively, to settle outstanding liabilities for the compulsory acquisition of lands.
These lands were acquired by the UWP administration to facilitate the construction of a hotel that never materialized.
In his closing presentation, Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony reminded the House that the total cost of this failed project to the people of Saint Lucia is $67 million dollars. He explained,
“This represents $32 million dollars for the Roebuck Properties or the Black Bay Lands. The amount owed to the Jamaica Government and International Hotel is $21.6 million and $13.4 million for the families here. I have not even added the famous Daher Mall. If I did that the cost would be approximately $115 million.
During his presentation in the House of Assembly, Hon. Guy Joseph argued that in the end the lands will belong to the people of Saint Lucia and sought to justify the UWP Government’s poor decision.
In response, Dr. Anthony described the argument as a cruel twist of history. Dr. Anthony said,
“History is cruel. What a cruel twist of history by the Member for Castries South East! When it was Rochamel you never heard there was a hotel remaining. You never heard there was a hotel paying electricity, paying water, paying 600 workers. You never heard of the benefits of Sandals Grande. Never!
What a cruel twist of fate, a twist of argument and deceit!”
The Prime Minister added, “The point is, you have acquired lands for a useless project that did not materialize and the tax payers now have to pay for it. That’s the point. If the former government was not seduced into believing the developer these lands would remain where they are.
The former Minister for Tourism has to take responsibility for this cost, as he presented this investment and caused decisions to be made in favour of this non-existent project.”