(PRESS RELEASE) — The Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) is calling on the Allen Chastanet administration for full disclosure on the recent purchase of horses for the proposed DSH Piton Cup races.
The government has a responsibility to be honest and transparent and to demonstrate accountability to the citizens of the country. In this regard, the statement by Senior Communications Director Nicole McDonald leaves more questions than it answered.
The SLP notes that the government has denied that the initial Framework Agreement was final and had promised to make available a copy of the Final DSH Agreement. This is extremely necessary as it is only through the Final Agreement can Saint Lucians know exactly what our obligations for the DSH project are. It is only through public scrutiny of the Final Agreement can Saint Lucians know the full scope and extent of the DSH project.
In her statement, Ms. McDonald claims that the government of Saint Lucia did not purchase or facilitate the purchase of the horses. However, McDonald failed to inform Saint Lucians who purchased the horses and under what terms and conditions such a purchase took place.
Accordingly, the Saint Lucia Labour Party seeks answers to the following:
1. If the government did not purchase the horses, were they purchased by Mr. Teo AH-King, through the Royal Saint Lucia Turf Club?
2. If the answer is in the affirmative, does the purchase form part of the arrangement earlier announced by Prime Minister Chastanet in a televised interview, that Mr. Theo Ah King is merely upfronting and spending all monies now to be reimbursed through the CIP?
3. If Mr. Teo Ah-King will be reimbursed later as stated by the prime minister, then who currently owns the horses?
4. Who is currently responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the horses?
5. Further, should any of the horses die or become injured does Saint Lucia still have to pay for that horse or horses?
6. And should it be the case that the CIP is unable to generate the monies to repay, how will the government repay the Royal Saint Lucia Turf Club for the horses?
7. If the horses belonged to a private investor, why was it necessary to use official police escort and security for the transport of the horses? Could that not have been handled by private security?
Ms. McDonald also stated that government’s only involvement in the project has been to relocate the Meat Processing Facility. She further stated that the investor would pay for the rebuilding of the facility. However, the Saint Lucia Labour Party notes the orientation of the track was changed causing it to cross the La Ressource Main Road and requiring a new by-pass road to be built.
Accordingly, the Saint Lucia Labour Party also wishes to ask the following:
1. Did Mr. Teo Ah-King pay for the new road since it is the race track which crossed the road and caused the road to be closed?
2. Is Mr. Teo Ah-King going to be upfronting the building of the new facility and will be reimbursed through CIP funds?
The Saint Lucia Labour Party strongly condemns the government’s preoccupation with staging a horse race – which by the prime minister’s own assertion will be a money-losing venture – whilst there are crises facing the country in health care, education and crime.
Saint Lucians are crying out for resolute action and focused approach from the government but instead we see an arrogant and uncaring government hell-bent on delivering on a horse race which was promised by the prime minister.
The Saint Lucia Labour Party is of the view that whether these horses are being paid for by the government or by DSH, in either case it is obscene and unconscionable. Whilst our hospitals are not commissioned as yet and our people continue to suffer and endure the indignity of substandard health care, horses will be well taken care of in our country. It’s an affront to our sensibilities, an insult to us as a nation.
The Labour Party strongly believes that the same effort to have these horses purchased and cared for to participate in a race on our National Day is the same effort that should have been given to complete our hospitals and repair our schools.