Proposal to build Maria Island causeway in St Lucia is disturbing (commentary)

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Proposal to build Maria Island causeway in St Lucia is disturbing (commentary)

unnamedCOMMENTARY – Not long after the general elections, it become clear, at least from my realism, what would become of an Allen Chastanet-led administration – the hidden consequences of change.

Recently, the state of affairs has come full circle, with similarities between the Dolphin Park, citizenship by investment (CIP), the “Pearl of the Caribbean” project by Desert Star Holdings Limited (DSH), which reverts to re-enslavement, the conversion from landlords to tenants and absolute rule in our country by “nefarious merchants”.
In the face of these, the county is open to geopolitical persuasion and economic espionage, walking a tightrope between diplomatic relations with Taiwan and China’s economic diplomacy, dazzling a gullible administration.

The consequences of this calculation enhance China’s growing geopolitical influence, quite visible in the Caribbean.

In recognition of the need to modernize and create a competitive environment for economic growth (jobs and revenue), emphasis has to take into consideration the needs of the people.
Additionally, to confront poverty and inequality, land use policy, agriculture and housing limitations, the food import bill and trade imbalance require sound policy and common sense. Without acting unilaterally and bullish, and eventually reducing national development and foreign policy in a format similar to 140 character tweets.

Addressing the unveiling of the DSH Project phase two, which includes mixed-used properties and building a causeway connecting the Maria Islands to the mainland (a desecration by most accounts), Prime Minister Chastanet did two things remarkably well.

He called for Saint Lucians to be “bold and courageous” in the face of new opportunities and introduced Jack Lam, a partner of DSH, oblivious to clause 28: No partnership ~ “Nothing in this agreement is intended to or shall be construed as establishing or implying a partnership of any kind between the parties.”

Likewise, he put the world on notice, publicizing Lam’s future business deals and whereabouts – a casino operator and gambling mogul, who reportedly left the Philippines last November 29, days before President Rodrigo Duterte ordered his arrest for bribery and economic sabotage.

Lam’s presence on Saint Lucia can be viewed more than a meet and greet opportunity, to bring “assets” to the table that Saint Lucia lacks: register business and trademarks for various merchandise licensing. What’s next, if not already!
Is Lam, Saint Lucia’s newest citizen under the CIP, armed with a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) passport?

According to associates, it seems there’s one common denominator for Caribbean citizenship by investment programmes prefaced on low cost and accessibility – “Come as a tourist. Leave as a citizen” – albeit there are programmes that are “generally well-run” and “do not pose a security threat”.

On the other hand, minister for economic development, housing, urban renewal, transport and civil aviation, Guy Joseph, acknowledged the realization that “the current administration is taking a risk, in relation to DSH. It was not a careless risk. It is a calculated risk because anything can happen that will not cause a project to go through.”

“The reality is that in this world of competition, countries must be willing to make bold moves and take bold initiatives if you are going to differentiate yourself from the rest of the competitors.”
“Teo Ah Khing, has a reputation for success in all the projects that he has undertaken. If one tenth of what I am seeing is going to materialise, then Saint Lucia will be a better place,” according to Joseph.

That said, Khing presented “preliminary artist’s impressions” touting “the potential benefits in the reclamation of land near Maria Islands in the south”.

“We are going to do three things in relation to the islands. We are going to continue to preserve, enhance; do detailed research on all the existing wild life and marine life on this island.

“You notice there are two islands, the Maria Islands. They are completely preserved with isolation and preservation.”

My initial thoughts of Khing comments, an architect and possibly a foreign agent, were: Do I need him to tell me what’s there, already protected in a natural reserve, bearing in mind, “The Escrow Account (7.1): “The Master Developer shall open a new bank account in its own name with a duly licensed international banking institution outside of Saint Lucia, and shall designate such bank account as the Escrow Account. The monies received for investment in the Project from CIP participants shall be deposited into this account and used in accordance with clause 7.2.”

“7.2 The Master Developer shall use the monies in the Escrow Account to satisfy any Project related fees, costs and/or liabilities, including (without limitation): [too lengthy to list],” tooting his own horn with the physical and capital assets of the ingenious people of Saint Lucia. Good Lord!

The Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) has issued directives to ensure that no causeway is built to the Maria Islands Nature Reserve. Essentially, SLNT finds the proposal disturbing: “The disturbing news is that in addition to destroying the ecological, environmental, historical, archaeological and social assets enshrined in Pointe Sable, the DSH plan includes a proposal to connect Maria Major and Maria Minor and building a causeway to the mainland.”

Sir Julian Hunte’s advice is spot on: “If you want to build a causeway, link Taiwan to China!”

From my perspective Saint Lucians should be “bold and courageous” to pay for a one way ticket out of the country for the calibre of foreign investors involved with the dolphin park, and DSH in its current form. And their local interests granted access to custody suits.

Here’s why in simple terms!

• Nothing about the proposed Dolphin Park and DSH represents our common national interests and transformation for a sustainable future, except condemnation and further economic sanction;

• Nothing about DSH in its current form, shareholdings, return on national investment, etc, inclusive of conflict of interest and ethics concerns and “99 years for the consideration of US$1 per acre”, amounts to wealth generation for the ingenious people and the wider population beyond the trickle of crumbs from the plutocratic, autocratic table;

• Nothing about the proposed Dolphin Park and DSH has the semblance of compatibility to Saint Lucia’s national development and foreign policy objective.

But wait, the amazing similarities between the two smells of “nefarious merchants” propagating a corrupt agenda, alternate facts culture and social change towards the edge of our destruction.

Without restraint, this so-called US$2.6 billion development is a “calculated risk” with a very high probability of burying Saint Lucia in debt (budget 2015/16 EC1.4 billion) for generations.

However, in the consequences of change, the working class and poor are supposed to be dazzled with more smoke and mirrors, erupt in applause at enrichment schemes that dance the night way building the friends and family dynasty.

So far, partisanship, religion or creed is not having an identity crisis in the fight for our freedoms or patrimony and natural reserve.

However, last week, the Special Service Unit (SSU) of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) was deployed to the construction site of Desert Star Holding (DSH), fully armed and equipped.

Ideally, they should be put to better use rounding up white collar criminals, helping to solve countless unsolved murders and protecting our porous borders, mindful of alleged extra-judicial killings by the RSLPF, predicaments under the Leahy law and new external funding cuts, capable of further undermining national security.

Surely, Saint Lucia is worth fighting for — “I am Saint Lucia” — lest the use of the affirmation in celebration of 38 years of independence becomes feckless words and squandered opportunities, in the face of impending re-colonization.

Melanius Alphonse is a management and development consultant, a long-standing senior correspondent and a contributing columnist to Caribbean News Now. His areas of focus include political, economic and global security developments, and on the latest news and opinion. His philanthropic interests include advocating for community development, social justice, economic freedom and equality. He contributes to special programming on Radio Free Iyanola, RFI 102.1FM and NewsNow Global analysis. He can be reached at [email protected]

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Create the causeway. Now!

    What are we waiting for? National Geographic to send tourists photographers?

    (1)(0)

  2. Allen Chastanet is a business man born in Martinique which makes him a french man not a true St Lucian and now he is the Prime Minister of your country. Think St, Lucians ''think'' Days of slavery is over .

    (0)(1)

    • And where, perchance, my snowflake Victor, were you hatched?

      And your parents?

      And your parents' parents?

      His policy and management approaches aside, be they judged however by whoever, our PM is clearly, clearly obviously more more st. Lucian than you.

      Why?

      Because he had the kahoonas to get involved in our democracy and be truly engaged in making a difference by actually running for public office, for both the good and not so good that comes with representing the electorate and lboth eading and managing a path-forward (like it or not like it) for our nation.

      Perhaps I missed your name in the last set of elections, though I highly doubt it.

      If you care enough, or want to make a difference in whatever way perhaps consider not hiding behind your smartphone, and instead growing some [Expletive Deleted] and run for public office, get engaged and make a difference to our nation.

      Become a leader. Get meaningfully engaged in our democracy. Deeds speak.

      All the best.

      (2)(0)

  3. (SpellChecked)

    Over time, Melanius, when bored and need a diversion from realities of economics, I peruse your commentary, typically an assortment of rantings, exaggerations, and usually lacking with respect to proposing solutions and outlining any revised approaches. That said, having engaged management consultants throughout the food chain, from deloitte through to independent three person operations, I am not surprised in your unfortunately predictable meanderings, rich in sizzle, but lacking on steak.
    To your credit, I won't deny that I enjoy reading them for their sometimes inflammatory and often clichéd nature.
    From time to time, based on your alleged credentials and experience, I question myself as to whether it is actually you that writes this stuff.
    I also find it very interesting that you feel so informed as to comment on a detailed basis on island issues despite the time in Canada.
    This particular commentary screams of tabloid style, populist and somewhat uniformed hype.
    To wit, I have extracted and pasted below (indicated by quotation marks) your article and noted the following as indicated by the asterisks. My comments alternately support, question and challenge your writing.
    Of note, they are also entirely non-partisan in nature nor do I have any vested interest.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    *** Firstly, you take a very questionable liberty in perpetuating a perhaps mistaken impression, and what might perhaps be perhaps a knowing misrepresentation by the projects proponents. The proposal as related to Maria Island is not a simple "causeway". Causeways are simple elevated roads across water. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/causeway causeways are for buses, trucks and cars. One doesn't build structures on causeways, what is proposed is a complex, ambitious and habitat-effecting **land reclamation** transformational (good or bad) project.
    "Recently, the state of affairs has come full circle, with similarities between the Dolphin Park, citizenship by investment (CIP), the “Pearl of the Caribbean” project by Desert Star Holdings Limited (DSH), which reverts to re-enslavement, the conversion from landlords to tenants and absolute rule in our country by “nefarious merchants”."
    *** While I do not entirely disagree with the general point being made, there, factually speaking is no 'reversion' happening. 'Continuing', yes, which is even more unfortunate. Enslavement, as well as landlord tenant relationships have been on-going in the history of the island, as well as the world. With respect to the latter the negative inference is a simplification. Landlords, and even those with not such a legal status but that, rather, are stewards (also a big responsibility) in many cases make a conscious choice to become tenants depending on what the exchange involves, their interests, and what they want. For example, there's a burgeoning market in reverse-mortgages in other jurisdictions where a particular segment of the population is seeking to extract value from what they own in a managed, responsible, and legally structured manner. In the case of DSH, perhaps the latter is a factor in light of the land largely having been fallow for several decades with no ambitious proposals of note to grow its value in whatever way.
    *** Regarding the project's title, you might want to Google 'Chinese pearl strategy'. You might find it to be interesting reading given the recognized strategic value of St. Lucia, ranging historically from the navies of England, France, and most recently to America in WW2, the remnants of which we drive on to this day ("the ramp" in Rodney Bay and the taxiways come roadway adjacent to UVF.
    "In the face of these, the county is open to geopolitical persuasion and economic espionage, walking a tightrope between diplomatic relations with Taiwan and China’s economic diplomacy, dazzling a gullible administration."
    *** A statement of the obvious, applicable to most nations, including much of the G-8. Most St. Lucians are aware of that. You've simply stated an obvious reality. And what is your point from this?
    "The consequences of this calculation enhance China’s growing geopolitical influence, quite visible in the Caribbean."
    *** Agreed. See my earlier comment regarding googling "Chinese pearl strategy'. St. Lucia has, as a member of the U.N. has long played in the game regarding the trade-offs of ec-dev (say, funding for a new and improved wharf development for fishing) and giving the donor nation a favourable vote on a contentious vote (say, whaling).
    *** Again, you simply state the obvious regarding China's growing influence. Your value-added as to what point you are making is either missing or lost. It's simple, money speaks. St. Lucia is no different. You seemed to have missed an opportunity to use your knowledge and exposure to extrapolate and put forth an approach to leveraging an opportunity to its best in a global reality. Anyone can spout the obvious.
    "In recognition of the need to modernize and create a competitive environment for economic growth (jobs and revenue), emphasis has to take into consideration the needs of the people.
    Additionally, to confront poverty and inequality, land use policy, agriculture and housing limitations, the food import bill and trade imbalance require sound policy and common sense. Without acting unilaterally and bullish, and eventually reducing national development and foreign policy in a format similar to 140 character tweets."
    *** One reads this, and, again, is compelled to remark, Thank you, Captain obvious, where are you going with this that goes beyond with insights and analysis. These types of aspects of your "commentary" read more like a more pedestrian letter to the Editor.
    "Addressing the unveiling of the DSH Project phase two, which includes mixed-used properties and building a causeway connecting the Maria Islands to the mainland (a desecration by most accounts), Prime Minister Chastanet did two things remarkably well."
    *** See earlier comment regarding your use of the condescendingly deceptive term "causeway". The Government uses that term to low-ball and manage this issue. You perpetuate and reinforce this approach by continuing to parrot this term.
    He called for Saint Lucians to be “bold and courageous” in the face of new opportunities and introduced Jack Lam, a partner of DSH, oblivious to clause 28: No partnership ~ “Nothing in this agreement is intended to or shall be construed as establishing or implying a partnership of any kind between the parties.”
    *** A couple of interesting reads on Jack Lam:
    http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/2052562/gaming-tycoon-jack-lam-flees-philippines-has-casinos-shut-down-amid
    http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2017/03/09/Senate-Jack-Lam-probe-Bureau-of-Immigration-bribery.html
    https://news.worldcasinodirectory.com/jack-lam-alleged-to-owe-almost-279-million-to-philippines-government-40983
    http://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/iq/154552-jack-lam-gambling-tycoon-macau
    http://www.arabnews.com/node/1017251/world
    http://calvinayre.com/2017/01/19/business/philippines-starts-deporting-jack-lams-1316-chinese-workers/
    "Likewise, he put the world on notice, publicizing Lam’s future business deals and whereabouts – a casino operator and gambling mogul, who reportedly left the Philippines last November 29, days before President Rodrigo Duterte ordered his arrest for bribery and economic sabotage."
    *** See link above re: Chinese workers imported to build his casino. Jobs for St. Lucians? We can only hope that's the case. Keep in mid the soccer stadium regarding imported chines jobs and minimal jobs at all skill levels for St. Lucians.
    "Lam’s presence on Saint Lucia can be viewed more than a meet and greet opportunity, to bring “assets” to the table that Saint Lucia lacks: register business and trademarks for various merchandise licensing. What’s next, if not already!
    Is Lam, Saint Lucia’s newest citizen under the CIP, armed with a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) passport?"
    *** It is interesting that St' Lucia does not have any extradition treaties with Macau/China/etc. A coincidence?
    "According to associates, it seems there’s one common denominator for Caribbean citizenship by investment programmes prefaced on low cost and accessibility – “Come as a tourist. Leave as a citizen” – albeit there are programmes that are “generally well-run” and “do not pose a security threat”."
    *** You mention this in passing when there is much more analysis and insight, i.e. value-added that you could have provided, and didn't.
    --- http://www.thenational.ae/business/the-life/michael-karam-the-lebanese-know-all-about-passport-loopholes
    --- http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/08/world/venezuela-passports-investigation/ (keep in mind the very recent highly publicized meetings between Venezuela and SLU on strengthening ties and addressing trade, as in flow of people, goods and services between the two nations)
    --- http://www.traveller.com.au/worlds-most-powerful-passports-brexit-vote-sees-surge-in-demand-for-irish-passports-gt1brd
    On the other hand, minister for economic development, housing, urban renewal, transport and civil aviation, Guy Joseph, acknowledged the realization that “the current administration is taking a risk, in relation to DSH. It was not a careless risk. It is a calculated risk because anything can happen that will not cause a project to go through.”
    *** As an allegedly experienced management consultant very eager to opine, I find it somewhat curious that you have nothing to comment on with respect to corporate risk management analysis and profiles, and their structure and use in both the public and private sector. And, as someone who infers a deep acquaintance with the governance of the island, one would have thought based on this that you have the contacts and knowledge to comment from a St. Lucia context on the aforementioned subject, not simply reporting on it in the manner of a tabloid stringer.
    “The reality is that in this world of competition, countries must be willing to make bold moves and take bold initiatives if you are going to differentiate yourself from the rest of the competitors.”
    “Teo Ah Khing, has a reputation for success in all the projects that he has undertaken. If one tenth of what I am seeing is going to materialize, then Saint Lucia will be a better place,” according to Joseph.
    "That said, Khing presented “preliminary artist’s impressions” touting “the potential benefits in the reclamation of land near Maria Islands in the south”."
    *** Mr. Khing's spectacular success in the world of horses as a 54-year old billionaire is undeniable. And, to his credit, it is worthwhile to note his candor --- use of the word "potential", as in the deal is not done, and at least one or both sides have an exit clause. Also, his use of the word "reclamation" -- he calls it as it is, simple.
    My initial thoughts of Khing comments, an architect and possibly a foreign agent, were: Do I need him to tell me what’s there, already protected in a natural reserve, bearing in mind, “The Escrow Account (7.1): “The Master Developer shall open a new bank account in its own name with a duly licensed international banking institution outside of Saint Lucia, and shall designate such bank account as the Escrow Account. The monies received for investment in the Project from CIP participants shall be deposited into this account and used in accordance with clause 7.2.”
    “7.2 The Master Developer shall use the monies in the Escrow Account to satisfy any Project related fees, costs and/or liabilities, including (without limitation): [too lengthy to list],” tooting his own horn with the physical and capital assets of the ingenious people of Saint Lucia. Good Lord!
    *** More populist hysteria. Given how allegedly connected you are, you might want to chat with a corporate real estate lawyer from a top-shelf firm about the text as you've quoted it. There is not tooting of the horn. A reader of your column might almost detect a tone of jealousy. International real estate agreement has certain basic terminology. You might want to familiarize yourself with it before dismissing it in what is obviously a biased and uniformed way.
    *** Given your recent proclivity to focus your "commentary" on DSH, for the purposes of transparency, it might be considered ethically appropriate to disclose the nature of any of your clients or other business dealings that might be perceived as biasing your commentary.
    Sir Julian Hunte’s advice is spot on: “If you want to build a causeway, link Taiwan to China!”
    *** Brilliantly humorous and thought -provoking at the same time. Nicely played.
    "From my perspective Saint Lucians should be “bold and courageous” to pay for a one way ticket out of the country for the calibre of foreign investors involved with the dolphin park, and DSH in its current form. And their local interests granted access to custody suits."
    *** Your perspective as expressed is both disappointingly simplistic and bitter. I find it hard to believe that someone who writes a column under the premise of being an accomplished management consultant chooses to pen something might instead expect to overhear from an embittered school drop-out at a rum shop. Unfortunately, it appears that you have chosen to wallow in the swamp of jingo-istic, clichéd utterances. Either that or someone far less qualified that you document as is instead writing your articles for you.
    *** The contributors of regular commentaries submitted to media are paid for their submissions, which you undoubtedly are based on the proliferation of these commentaries in Caribbean on-line media. Quite honestly, some of what you contribute, the aforementioned paragraph as a prime example, is something that anyone can read in an un-remunerated Letter to the Editor by someone that does not feel the need to follow everything they write with a biography implying that their comments are any more value than anyone else's. That approach also has hints of the very bourgeois haughty better-than-you attitudes that first colonized this nation
    Here’s why in simple terms!
    • Nothing about the proposed Dolphin Park and DSH represents our common national interests and transformation for a sustainable future, except condemnation and further economic sanction;
    *** You are not in any position to represent yourself on so-called national interests. That what we have democratically duly elected officials for. If you choose to simply, or dumb down 'national interests" into a series of altruistic generalities, then, yes, most everyone will agree on them. Unfortunately, broad visions, as altruistic as they are, need to somehow translate into reality and recognize the global context and social, political, economic, and environmental imperatives in which we have no choice but to function within. We must also recognize in a practical sense our place at the global table. There is nothing wrong with altruistic visioning. That must be accompanied with a pragmatic recognition of the realities of implementation at the strategic, tactical, and operational levels. That's where reality comes in. Your comments, particular coming from someone representing themselves as a management consultant seems to lack a startling lack of grasp of the strategic, tactical, and operational levels, seemingly stuck in the colloquial '60,000 foot level'. A reader might take your comment as that of someone from another country with decidedly unrealistic utopian visions of a country that they do not know at an intimate level from firsthand experience across the socio-comic spectrum.
    • Nothing about DSH in its current form, shareholdings, return on national investment, etc, inclusive of conflict of interest and ethics concerns and “99 years for the consideration of US$1 per acre”, amounts to wealth generation for the ingenious people and the wider population beyond the trickle of crumbs from the plutocratic, autocratic table;
    *** I will assume that the SpellCheck feature, as it sometimes does, erroneously corrected a typo that was instead meant to read "indigenous". With respect to "indigenous' a now popular and often undefined phrase of convenience, given St. Lucia's rich and diverse history of people that have come here many corners of the globe over hundreds and hundreds of years, settled here, and made good, and made St. Lucia better, you have taken the coward's way out and not, at risk of controversy, identifying what you consider to be "indigenous". Given your somewhat careless use of a populist term of convenience, that, without definition, utterly has no meaning, you necessarily imply that there is some type of pure-bred, "native" St. Lucian. Or is your use of this term a round-about way of not simply saying "the black race." i suspect that if you DNA test all St. Lucians, you will be hard-pressed to find any undiluted Arawak or any pure blood quantum descendants of African slaves. It simply doesn't exist, for a number of reasons. As someone familiar with Canada and the America, you should be aware of the century long machinations that have occurred in attempting to define who qualifies as an "indigenous person". If you raise the term indigenous, you'd best be ready to have a public discussion about interracial children, long-time residents and their descendants that are not from St. Lucia, and so on. I believe that there is a lot more to what it is to be St. Lucia than the blood quantum definition implied by use of the term "indigenous". For example, I have never thought of the late Sir Derek Walcott as anything but a St. Lucian, and a national treasure, renowned in the world. I have a picture of him in my home that he autographed, and it's located such that I see it every day. One of his parents was not black. So what? Who cares? Does that make him any less of a St. Lucian, or any less "indigenous"? No. All that to say, as you have no doubt encountered in your presentations to clients, if a term is raised, you need to be able to speak to it. More than once, in my personal experience as the client, I have asked a question on a point seemingly buried in a consultant's report as they give the presentation on it, and they have had to pause and grasp. It is my hope that in your capacity as a media columnist that you are prepared to speak in more detail to the potentially contentious points that you post through media outlets for public consumption.
    • Nothing about the proposed Dolphin Park and DSH has the semblance of compatibility to Saint Lucia’s national development and foreign policy objective.
    *** Perhaps I missed the e-mail or the government web page or the public representation on the "national development and foreign policy objective" to which you specifically mention. For the benefit of myself and likely other readers, could you please point us to where exactly we can find said policy? Thank you. It's interesting that national development and foreign policy would be both included in one specific policy objective, I'd love to read it and learn more.
    "But wait, the amazing similarities between the two smells of “nefarious merchants” propagating a corrupt agenda, alternate facts culture and social change towards the edge of our destruction."
    *** In the interests of attribution and journalistic ethics, I find it suspiciously curious that you do not attribute the quote your reference, "nefarious merchants". If made in specific reference to a stated person or entity, in my opinion as a simple 'man-on-the-street' you might want to check with your media clients' lawyers with the slippery slope regarding slander/libel.
    "However, in the consequences of change, the working class and poor are supposed to be dazzled with more smoke and mirrors, erupt in applause at enrichment schemes that dance the night way building the friends and family dynasty."
    *** I do like your occasional colourful analogies, whether I agree or disagree with them.
    "So far, partisanship, religion or creed is not having an identity crisis in the fight for our freedoms or patrimony and natural reserve."
    *** While I get your point, your wording is unnecessarily convoluted and almost legal-like where it doesn’t need to be, despite that much of your writing is draped in a plain, lowest denominator style phrasing.
    "However, last week, the Special Service Unit (SSU) of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) was deployed to the construction site of Desert Star Holding (DSH), fully armed and equipped."
    *** From time to time your writing is somewhat condescending and superfluous. "Fully armed and equipped" Thank you for pointing out that distinction for the 5-year olds that may be reading your column. Police forces deployed to an occurrence, unless there's been a change in their standard operating procedures, don't show up unequipped. That is why one calls police in the first place --- they are needed in a situation that may require use of force. Again, superfluous yap-yap.
    "Ideally, they should be put to better use rounding up white collar criminals, helping to solve countless unsolved murders and protecting our porous borders, mindful of alleged extra-judicial killings by the RSLPF, predicaments under the Leahy law and new external funding cuts, capable of further undermining national security."
    *** You hit the hammer on the head.
    "Surely, Saint Lucia is worth fighting for — “I am Saint Lucia” — lest the use of the affirmation in celebration of 38 years of independence becomes feckless words and squandered opportunities, in the face of impending re-colonization."
    *** Congratulations on adapting a now hackneyed and tired tag line from the multimillion dollar advertising campaign of a mass-produced Canadian beer that you have no doubt seen publicized in Canada. Surely you can come up with something instead original and not essentially copied from somewhere else. What's next, a column with some type of adopted and clichéd phrase like "Not My Prime Minister". Please save the adaptation and propagation of hackneyed populisms for American politics. St. Lucia is no place for it, and St. Lucians deserve better. And if you "are St. Lucia", bear in mind that there are a whole lot of others that may not fit your definition (whatever that may be) of indigenous that are also "St. Lucia", through and through.
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    Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

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  4. This article, very well said.
    Saint Lucians please open your eyes, look, Listen, understand what is happening around you, please don't be color blind. The land that gave us birth is slowly being taken away from us. This Prime Minister lies about everything. He is not concerned about Saint Lucia. He is only concerned about the power that he is holding and how far he can go. He treats us like slaves and he is the slave master. All decisions are his and his alone. Saint Lucians please do not let Allan Chastanet take your land from you'll to give to his partners in cr....... to benefit him and his family only

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  5. Please spell out the debt obligations associated with the DSH. If that cannot be done, this is an exercise in alternative facts. The island does not belong to radio talk. Nobody and everybody owns them. So much foolish talk. Let him die for them.

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  6. Couldn't agree more with this article. However, sadly a relic of our past and the reality of our present circumstance is that the greater majority of St. Lucians lack the fortitude to stand up for what they believe in and find it more difficult to make educated decisions as to what is in their national interest. The society is one which finds little stimulation in investigative reasoning, reading and comprehending the real issues in any matter. Most persons prefer "hearsay" rather than making calculated and educated decisions about life, unless of course there's some form of inducement (chicken and rum). The country settles for mediocrity and remains passive on just about anything related to their national interest, leaving the so-called educated few to make the decisions when they get into "political office". Take for instance, the use of a stadium in Vieux-fort as a medical facility. Why hasn't there been a greater appeal from those affected in the south for a proper facility!? Why haven't the nurses and doctors picketed the working conditions and with the rest of the south demanded better from their government (whatever the political administration)!!? You see St. Lucians are a sleepy, passive people who remain content with the "pittance from massa" because they've really never left the plantation. The few who've stood up, face ridicule and become ostracized by the masses. I couldn't help but notice the composition of SLNT membership, descendants of the plantocracy, educated blacks, white expats, and naturalized educated citizens who are passionate, driven and determined. Where are the farmers, banana belt mothers, sons and daughters ( on de block??), Bruce Ville people, hotel workers and the lot? Where are all those persons who directly stand to lose and suffer from those irresponsible decisions by the government? Do St. Lucians know what the word "SACRIFICE" means? The mediocre jobs are of more value than protecting the interests of posterity. I remember a small island just west of St. Lucia during a time of economic hardship the citizens accepted pay cuts just to see the island remain afloat. It's a sad day for this pitiful island when foreigners see the value of the land more than its inhabitants. Perhaps they are more worthy of this blessed land and should be free to do as they please, since St. Lucians enjoy the tread of oppression to the freedom of standing in their national integrity. Shame!!! Shame!!! Shame!! the backbone of these people is gone and they clamour for the crumbs from the table of "massa"!!!

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