UPDATED: Protest outside Parliament over DSH project

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UPDATED: Protest outside Parliament over DSH project
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Bertrand Fevrier

Dozens of Saint Lucians gathered outside of Parliament on Tuesday to express their dissatisfaction with the government’s move to sign a multi-million dollar deal with Deserts Starts Holding Company Limited (DSH).

Most of the protesters were residents of Vieux Fort and surrounding communities.

The disgruntled men and women were all dressed in t-shirts bearing the slogan “Save our sandy beach.”

One protester, Bertrand Fevrier, said that the DHS project would negatively affect many individuals in the South of the island.

Fevrier said that people are upset all over and they have a right to be, because the project will not benefit Saint Lucians in any significant way.

House Speaker Leonne Theodore-John
House Speaker Leonne Theodore-John

He pledged to continue protesting with his colleagues and plans to march the streets of Castries.

Father Kevin Murray of Vieux Fort called it a travesty and said the peoples voices must be heard, because he too believes that the project will affect many lives in the South.

“This project is there to destruct, I will not use the word develop. It is there to destruct Sandy beach, to take away homes from poor people in Bruceville, to take away playing fields from people in the ghetto, and this is a travesty against your own people.”

He said the contract specifies that there will be no cattle rearing within a three miles radius of the hotel, and this therefore means that peoples livelihoods will be affected.

“This is not political, this is about preservation. It is not about party, but about principle and about people here who live, work and breath in the Vieux Fort area. Their rights and dignity have to be upheld.”

Other protesters were shouting as every Member of Parliament passed, saying that the project is “not good for Saint Lucia” and “we will not allow government to give away our land for $1 per acre.”

Supporters of both the United Workers Party (UWP) and the opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) were also present and were seen having constant verbal confrontations over the issue.

Police later arrived to calm the crowd and moments later, House Speaker Leonne Theodore-John also left Parliament Chambers to intervene.

Special reserved officers were also called in to disperse the crowds.

The protesters argued that the government moved too quickly to approve the project and has given the company enormous advantage over locals.

Some fear that this could set precedence for other investors to come here to set up shop, go into real estate, buy all the available pieces of land and house for sale, which can cause prices to rise, and thus putting the poor locals out on the streets in the long term.

The government continues to defend the project, stating that it will create opportunities for people in the South.

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Father Kevin Murray (orange t-shirt) and other protesters.
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49 COMMENTS

  1. Father Kervin Murray should be protesting about rape, injustice and the nonsense going all in the catholic system and not about development of the country. Father kervin now turn politician. In any case when you look at the cathedral, the court house and parliament they in line, 1.2. 3. Gold, Silver and Bronze. Three of the same so I am not surprise at our system. We talk only when it affects us directly, otherwise break for yourself. This country of mine. It's no longer a SAINT.....just name it Lucia.

    (16)(3)

  2. who says that the SLP did not accept the deal because they found that it was in the favor of the developer? That a whole load of CRAP. Has the SLP had any previous record to suggest this? NO.

    What is their record? The facts can be examined with Roachamel, Gryndberg, Juffali and Bau Panel. All of them ended up in Court, some still are in Court. Now tell me about believing anything that SLP or somebody pretending to speak for SLP has to say. It is easier to believe that they tried to collect quietly from the developers before they announced the deal and that's where I believe they got stuck. Do you remember the story of the guy who always shouted "wolf?" He was not believed even when he was speaking the truth because of his reputation. So whats SLP reputation?

    (20)(8)

    • My goodness there it is again political crap.... That's the point y can't Saint Lucians just put blame where it is.... Y'all are going backwards... Once upon a time we were ignorant and spouting that support yellow and support red thing.... The former administration was wrong.. And this administration is wrong.... For them to be speaking about the Greenburg issue up to now and for them to turn around and do the same damn thing... What does that say.... Stop this petty and game and see that it is not in our best interest to sign an agreement which is clearly not ready to be signed.... Thats just idiotic... What if the former administration jump a cliff they going to do it too? Smh

      (7)(0)

  3. WHEN SOME OF Y'ALL OUT THERE TALKING CRAP AND STRAINING POLITICS OUT OF THIS. I SAY BRAVO VFORT PEOPLE! RESPECT ALL THE! TALK AND ACT! IF THE GOVERNMENT GOES THROUGH WITH THIS ITS NOT BECAUSE VIEUX FORT PEOPLE SAT ON THEIR BUTTS AND DID NOTHING! IN THE NORTH THIS WOULD NOT STAND!
    THIS IS SELFISH AND INCONSIDERATE, NOT TO MENTION AN EXHIBITION ON OUR INCOMPETENT UNSKILLED AND FRANKLY UNEDUCATED GOVERNMENT!
    I

    (5)(2)

  4. I can't understand How and Why the Speaker of the house would leave her seat and go downstairs to talk to the Protesters..Really Madame Speaker??? This is of poor taste and disgusting!

    (5)(4)

  5. Hey its a DEVELOPMENT PLAN, we are not selling land to the developer. Investors will buy land subject to the terms of the of the Government and country. The government has simply delegated some of its authority to the developer to attract and scrutinize investors. Why not some St. Lucians form a consortium of investors and approach the Developer with a plan for Sandy Beach? I guess that too difficult so lets fight the project. That's having belief and a good outlook on investment. The other investors are eyeing this as a business opportunity, so why can't we? I guess we were not taught that way. We were always taught to get things for free and there is no give and take in business. enough with that childish crap. No one can take away the beach and put it in another country. It will be there long after us and the investor/developer is dead. Development in the right way can enhance it.

    (5)(12)

    • Loooool and You believe what you just said.. Our own invest st lucia won't lease/sell the land to locals it's when they practically give it to foreigners we will get a good shot.... Smh

      (4)(0)

  6. I say to Bertrand Fevrier and the priest the present government has done things the public are aware of and you have a chance to protest. Things are in the open.

    Did you all have a chance to protest against Roachmel and Grynberg. No. Where ere you both. Reason being they were both secrets hidden in the dark. Not even Dr. Anthony's cabinet colleagues knew. Parliament did not know.

    Hypocrisy

    (7)(15)

  7. We need to go out and get out facts straight before we cast aspersions. The SLP chose not to reveil the DSH plans because they were in the negotiation stages, while in those stages they were in disagreement with a number of request and proposals (1)they the Master developer wanted. As a result the developer went back to the drawing board with his plan and came back with a newer plan(2), the SLP still wasnt in agreement with the plan and the Master developer gave them the option to take it or leave it. SLP decided to leave it, because that proposal was benefiting the Master developer and not the Government or people of St.Lucia. They contacted the SLP informing them that a new plan had been drafted (3) and they wanted the SLP government to go through it, that never happened because of Elections etc.
    When it comes to the new administration UWP, they received the first draft and signed it. And in addition added a supplementary agreement. The SLP had three (2) opportunities to sign off on this, didnt. They didnt receive the third and who knows if they would have signed off on the 3rd, whereas the UWP signed off on the first copy they received.

    (7)(4)

  8. A fool alone wud say not stop it and had to b an ignorant too from the north dat wud say shate n u are one of them that snatching the tourist's chains in the city fool money supporters of the uwp I will hear y'all singing another song when things get too hot yes give them a chance ...it's not 5 to stay alive but FIGHT to stay live

    (11)(0)

  9. Do we really know what is 5 acres of Land ? That is a significant amount of Land ,Think about almost 1000 acres of land being given to a Hong Kong company at the value of $1 an acre per year for about 100 years . 1 Acre = 43560 Square Feet .How many of us will ever be able to buy an acre of land in St.Lucia even if it is sold at $2- $5 a square foot .The persons that signed that stupid contract in the behalf of St. Lucians should spend the rest of their lives in prison. Chastanet will never enter in a contract like that for any of his businesses.

    (9)(2)

  10. Did you say that the house speaker left the house to intervene? Is'nt that one of the Lawyers representing DHS??? whagondere.

    G.J

    (4)(0)

  11. Desperate minds make for dangerous decisions. These guys are so in need of results that decisions are made without due deligence. Those are very bad combinations which leads to disasterous circumstances. I do still asked and also all St. Lucians should ask.....,WHY THE HASTE TO SIGN.

    (8)(1)

  12. You know what? Politics will destroy this country if the politicians and the populace at large do not change that mind - set of party bickering. This whole episode is centered around party lines. If you are SLP, oppose. If you support UWP, support. While I agree that there was not adequate consultation and this entire DSH project must be revisited and renegotiated by all stakeholders involved, I really have not seen the need for such protest action. As a St. Lucian, let me offer a word of advice to the leaders and people of this country: " LEARN TO RESOLVE DISPUTES/ISSUES WITH DIALOGUE AND CONSULTATION RATHER THAN CONFRONTATION."

    (3)(0)

    • Bit of a silly comment if I say so myself.

      Were the citizens of St Lucia privy to discussions/negotiations when they were taking place!

      The powers that be left the people with no choice but to demonstrate.

      Another thing a "demonstration does not equate to CONFRONTATION"

      (2)(2)

  13. I don't think that the people are against the project, I believe that their is with regards to the land lease deal. There is to much prime land at stake here. There is more land in this negotiation here than the entire size of the town of vieux fort. The city of Castries is already taken up by the Syrians . What's happening in this island. Gentle people we need to take this thing very seriously.

    (29)(8)

    • They are all against it and it because of politics. You know what I wish as a VFortian? That the government would get a place in Castries to do this project and leave VFort where it is today. The country will still benefit but we VFortian will have nothing but a empty piece of land which Kenny Anthony saw no potential in until now.

      (1)(5)

  14. This DSH thing in relation to Chastanet is a true case of haste make waste. As a contributor said this agreement whether it was in principle or however chastanet described it, must be renegotiated. St Lucia deserves a better deal.

    (26)(2)

  15. guess what slp? the uwp govt doesn't care what you say. the slp started this project and could not finish it. now that the popular govt has taken over, the slp continues to whine and cry. these people are not going to stop it. give a rest and please go in hibernation. I wish the uwp continued to do nothing for vieux fort and developed an area that would favor those who are in majority support for the govt. let vieux fort stay the same old airport town

    (17)(50)

    • "Luciaboy" I don't think you should be commenting on grown up issues, you're still a boy.

      Wow because UWP came and signed in haste means that it was a good deal!

      There is no way the new Gov could have renegotiated a deal of that magnitude in such a short space of time.

      Stop sprouting immature nonsense and always ask questions.

      1 to ask why is there a secrecy clause between a Government and Investor????

      The Gov acts or should be acting on the behalf of the people of St Lucian.

      (4)(0)

      • Anon, I did comment on this guy, but somehow my comment was not published. This guy doesn't mind if we sell out to the developers of this I'll consieved plan. If Laba thought it was good for the country they could have signed this agreement an use it to their benefit during the past election. They didn't....country first. Look before you leap works backwards for some.

        (3)(0)

    • Listen "lucia boy"you need to take several back seats. Your level of thinking shouldn't be expressed here. Let me address the crap you wrote on here...First off it isn't an Slp / Uwp issue, its a matter of what is right and beneficial to the people of Vieux - Fort and by extension St.Lucia, this is something which will tremendously affect the people of the south... u want to take away so much from us and we are suppose to sit idly by and say nothing?

      If this is the favor u think the government is doing for Vieux - Fort then u are right... take it! Take it and put it elsewhere nou pas vlais!!!! Leave our Airport town alone! Every little avenue that Vieux -Fortians hv yall hongree for it! The stadium, u and Fortuna will get it Lucia boy, ok? Without it Vieux - Fort will still continue to produce excellent sports men and women, we will still continue excelling academically....

      Point number 2. Enlighten me lucia boy when did Slp begin this project and couldn't finish it??? Ur level of stupidity is baffling!!! This is a newly signed contract... There were several proposals made to Slp and they did not accept it! They couldn't accept it because of what it would mean for Vieux - Fortians.

      So Lucia boy do u understand how this is not a red or black issue? Ok... u don't.... Dear Uwp please do the world a favor and invest some money in lucia boy... this is what really needs developing!!! It's heart breaking when people stoop so low and make such idiotic comments about not developing a certain place and develop places "who are in majority for the gov't". I will say it again... if yall think this is your great favor to Vieux - Fort we don't want it!!! Take it and put it in yall back pocket...hell ask them to develop yalll business with those funds... hell...develop lucia boy!!!

      We will stand in solidarity.. we will stand for what is right! We will not sell Vieux - Fort!!!

      Sincerly,

      A VIEUX - FORTIAN!!!

      (6)(4)

  16. I am super proud of those st Lucians who had the "balls" to stand up for something they believe in! Too many times lucians just talk and talk and talk and accept all mediocrity. Hopefully the corrupt politicians get the message- "we will stand- we will fight for our rights- no more taking us for a wild ride!

    (37)(9)

    • Guy F i agree with you 100% most of us who who have the time to make stupid comments live in the Castries basin,sometime seldom goes to Vieux Fort except when we have to use the international airport .Most of us have not familiarized our selves with that DSH deal and it impact on the people of Vieux Fort, and the country by large .These Asian companies like to run their business with their people .you may hear the caption word 1000 jobs but only a small percentage of the locals will be working. Look around all the Asian businesses we have and see the ratio of their own people working verses the local,plus watch the pay that they offer .they are usually the lowest paying companies on island .Even Stephenson King admitted that there are lots of jobs that people get work permit for that should be reserved for the Locals .

      (2)(0)

  17. The whole of Gros Islet has being occupied by hotel (foreign Investors) and nothing was said even when they had no space. The last I read Sandals Grande was located at Pigeon Island Gros Islet as addressed. Isn't pigeon Island a landmark. There was not protest. i do not condone it. My concern is that the area for DSH is not prime property or landmark. It has been under utilized forever, until now. I strongly believe if this project was in the North nothing would have being done, again. With regards to the priest who appear to be spear heading this protest, this is unprecedented. You cannot put your church in disrepute. You cannot use the church to try and unsettle a country when there are more pressing Godly issue we need to deal with and he is not. You can use your pulpit for the most. Is it because you were promised citizenship by Dr. Kenny Anthony you are behaving this way. The SLP has continue to use VFortian and the people from the south as puppets.

    (28)(61)