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Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has confirmed that the letter purporting to be a leaked missive written by former Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony to a developer in England does exist.
The prime minister has threatened to reveal the contents of that letter, which he said shows exactly why the former administration is opposed to the Desert Star Holding Inc (DSH) deal.
“And as I have said to people in Saint Lucia, there was an alternative reason as to why the Labour Party chose not to proceed with the DSH project, and it has a lot to do with that letter,” Chastanet said on Thursday evening.
The prime minister said strangely enough, the same things that the opposition are now criticizing, are the exact things that they have done in the letter.
The letter is believed to be an invitation for the developer to acquire or purchase lands in the south of the island amounting to 1,000 acres.
Opposition Leader Philip J. Pierre told the media on Wednesday that the letter in question does not contain anything that can be used against the previous government.
Pierre said the letter is not an agreement between the developer and the Government of Saint Lucia, describing it as a ‘Letter of Comfort,’ which he says had nothing to do with government.
“There was an investor who was given a letter of comfort, not an agreement that stated among other things that that investor would invest in the toxic area of Praslin Bay and manufacturing. He needed 1,000 acres of land in the south of the country to build these (manufacturing) plants. The government never said it would acquire or purchase land for the investor.”
Chastanet has since expressed shock at the opposition leader’s statement.
“Wow…the former prime minister who signed a letter didn’t do it officially as the prime minister? I don’t understand how a person can make a statement like that. How can a prime minister sign a letter and then another person say it had nothing to do with the government?”
The prime minister said the letter speaks volumes, as the previous government had proposed to give away more land in Vieux Fort alone, as opposed to the 700 acre that will go towards the DSH deal.
“When you look at the levels of incentives they were giving…So when you have the opposition leader or Ernest Hilaire saying we are giving away everything and there is nothing to be gained by the people of Saint Lucia, they were giving away more. And there is a particular clause in the letter which is even more disturbing.”
The prime minister continued,” The SLP claims that we didn’t do our due diligence on DSH and we rushed into the deal. So here is a letter in which initial contact was made in November, 2015. There was a physical meeting in December, 2015, and then there was a subsequent meeting in the early part of 2016. And a letter was issued on February 9, 2016.”
Chastanet said information about the investor for the DSH project is widely publicized on the internet, but the company that the previous government was seeking to ink a deal with was incorporated in November 2015 and another in January of 2016.
“It’s sad that the opposition would want to play politics at this level. When I was in opposition, I tried very much not to complain about everything and try to be specific about what we have problems with….the opposition has a lot to answer to.”
Chastanet promised to hold a separate press conference to address this matter in full.