The Tet Paul Nature Trail located in Chateau Belair, Soufriere is now open and back in business following a period of closure earlier this month. The trail, however, is now under new management and with a slight change in name.
The facility was initially owned by the Soufriere Regional Development Foundation (SRDF) but according to an official, it is now operated by the Fontenelle and Didier families – the ones who own the land upon which the trail sits.
The Tet Paul Scenic Trail, as it is now called, was officially re-opened with a ceremony on Sunday.
Speaking to Saint Lucia News Online (SNO) in an interview, Operations Manager Gracious Octave said that despite the ownership change the prices and services offered at the trail remain the same.
He noted however, that the trail is going to be focused on community development.
“A priority is to make the trail benefit the people of the Chateau Belair community first and foremost…,” he said.
There are currently eight persons employed on the trail, including Octave.
The Tet Paul Scenic Trail was closed on July 1, 2014 and reopened on July 27.
Octave would not comment on an ongoing dispute between the SRDF and the Fontenelle and Didier families, but only said that the closure was due to some disagreement between the foundation and the families.
“Unless the two families agree to decide otherwise, it is going to continue to be runned by the two families together,” he said.
A press release from the Foundation issued on July 29, supported reports of conflict between the foundation and the families. According to the SRDF, the dispute has to do with outstanding rental payments.
The foundation said, “As per the issue with one of the five landowners on the Tet Paul Nature Trail in Chateau Belair, the Soufriere Foundation to the best of its knowledge has conducted business honourably with the family and thus vehemently disagrees with their claim of outstanding rents.”
It further stated, “… there is absolutely no correlation between the matter under dispute and expenditure on Soufriere jazz, as the former is solely an unsubstantiated claim of rent and not one of the Soufriere Foundation’s inability to pay. Again, contrary to the contents of the news release, the staff of Tet Paul remains employed with the Soufriere Foundation. Presently, the Tet Paul matter is in the hands of our legal consul and thus it would be inappropriate for the organisation to comment further.”
The foundation was speaking in response to a UWP branch media release in which it was accused of being a “reckless spender.”
According to the SRDF website, Tet Paul Scenic Trail is nestled on six acres of land and is located in the Piton Management Area, Saint Lucia’s World Heritage Site.