St. Lucia National Trust (SLNT) members have accused the government of selling the birthrights of St. Lucians.
“I am tired, I cannot take it anymore. I am fed up waking and finding out another piece of the island is being sold. It seems like everything we have is up for sale and that cannot be,” said Firming Vernege.
Vernege was among several SLNT members who voiced their concerns on March 16, 2017, during a press conference held by the National Trust to highlight their disagreement with the proposed dolphin park on Pigeon Island.
Vernege said he, like many St. Lucians, cannot afford the right to own anything on the island.
“Everything cannot be for sale because some things are sacred,” he said.
The young man felt “it was cruel to place a dishonour on things St. Lucians have died defending”.
He explained that every St. Lucian has the right to inherit what is rightfully theirs. Referring to the theme of this year’s Independence celebrations, ‘I am St. Lucia’, Vernege pointed out that the theme highlighted the need for St. Lucians to keep what’s theirs.
He further stated that tourism has not benefited St. Lucians as it should.
“I am St Lucian and I have not gotten anything from tourism. It has not benefited us much. All the money that comes into this country goes out with these people and these people are quick to come here because they know this land has value,” he said.
Anton Volney, another Trust member, appealed to St. Lucians to join the organisation, as he highlighted the need for money and resources to allow the organisation to effectively carry out its works.
“We are tired of people using up our land and so on, so if you are St. Lucian I beg you to register for the National Trust, whether or not you have any interest in using the National Trust’s facilities,” Volney said.
Naturalised St. Lucian Pamela Devaux, who is a member of the Trust and head of the Animal Protection Association, stated that many of her family members were born in St. Lucia and has made it their home.
“This is a very personal and emotional issue for us. I love this island and my children and grandchildren all love it,” Devaux said.