(SNO) — Mayor of Castries Peterson Francis is calling for legislation to be changed to allow for the demolition of derelict buildings in the capital after a fire from one such structure ravaged a part of Central Castries.
The mayor pointed out that such structures pose a threat to the public and he has been on record clamouring about doing something in terms of legislation to deal with them.
“I have particularly mentioned that building which was just there as a disaster waiting to happen,” he told Caribbean Hotfm.
According to the mayor, the only time certain agencies in St. Lucia wake up “is when something happens”.
Francis stated that he is relatively powerless to do anything of substance when it comes to such situations.
“The problem that I have is that the CCC (Castries City Council) has no teeth in law to attend to things that is within his jurisdiction,” he pointed out. “And that is a problem we are suffering from. I have mentioned it, and I am still working on that, to see that we bring some solution to these empty spaces which are dirty, sometimes we have to clean it ourselves at our own cost.”
Castries Central MP, Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, agreed that something must be done about such buildings.
“We have a lot buildings that really should be preserved, they are getting in a very deplorable state and nothing is being done about them,” she said. “Persons are abandoning their properties, not taking care of it and that is something that needs to be brought under control. You have abandoned places within the city, grass is growing, perhaps the owner is overseas, nobody is caring for these things.”
She added there are some laws dealing with such matters but they are not enforced.
“And that is what we need to do, enforce them,” she stated. “Enforce the laws because they are laws that provides that persons need to take care of their properties and so there ought to be a mechanism where the City Council or whoever is responsible will care for these properties and bill those people.”
The blaze took place last Tuesday morning, gutting several business places and a preschool.