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“What was the money used for?” Hilaire asks as Montoute, employees comment on DSCG debt issues

By SNO Staff

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Hilaire

Opposition MP Dr. Ernest Hilaire wants to know what the government has done with a “huge sum of money” it said were borrowed for the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground (DSCG) in Gros Islet – as news surfaced recently that the facility is hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to the water and electricity companies.

Hilaire, former chief executive officer of the West Indies Cricket Board, said the loan was to carry out repairs and pay bills for the stadium.

“What makes it even more disturbing is one of the first acts of this government, I think it was July or August last year, was to come to this House to approve a huge sum of money. I think it was almost $1 million, and when asked why it that one of the first things they doing is to borrow so much money for Daren Sammy Stadium, they said it was to do with repairs and paying bills at the Daren Sammy stadium.”

“And you’re hearing just about a year later, that water has been cut to Daren Sammy stadium, electricity is about to be cut, groundsmen are not being paid, staff is not being paid, and you have to ask that question: what was the money used for?” Hilaire asked.

The Daren Sammy Cricket Ground.

The Castries South representative and Saint Lucia Party (SLP) spokesman on investment and Citizen by Investment Programme, said he expected better from the government.

“And what really is going on at the Daren Sammy Stadium? Because you would want to believe it’s a government where you have a minister in a ministry or a cluster responsible for sports, who is also the president of the National Olympic Committee, that there would be a serious focus and priority given to sports in this country,” the former youth and sports permanent secretary added.

The facility owes power company, Saint Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC), and Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO) hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid bills, HTS News4orce had revealed.

The television station reported that a WASCO bill for the stadium, dated November 14, 2017, showed that it owes $312,316.32 in unpaid bills. In addition, a $250 reconnection fee and VAT on that fee of $31.25 is also due, since the stadium’s water supply has been cut.

While the DSCG still has electricity, it is believed that it owes a similar amount of arrears to LUCELEC.

Montoute.

Parliamentary Representative for Gros Islet and former sports minister, Lenard Montoute, said the financial issues at the DSCG is nothing new.

Montoute, who is also the minister for equity, social justice and empowerment, said there is a need to devise new measures to put an end to the problem.

He said: “…So very often government has to come in, the National Lottery has to come in to assist. I remember when I was minister responsible for sports we tried to see how we could come up with some measures that would in some way reduce the expenses by digging some ponds outside. Unfortunately it turned out that the salinity of the water in those ponds was too much for the grass and so on, and the technical people indicated that there was some bacteria in the water as well that wasn’t good for the facility and so on. We had to abandon that, but I think what we need to do now is to begin to look at other measures.”

He continued: “WASCO is nearby with the treatment plant. I don’t know if we can, in consultation with WASCO, look at means of ensuring that the water is purified to an extent that we could use it. I think what we have to begin to do is to look at sustainable ways of being self-sufficient, providing for ourselves what we want and minimising the cost, but as far as that is concerned, that is no new deal. I mean, when I became minister of sports in 2006 we inherited outstanding bills. When I left, there were outstanding bills, when we returned we inherited outstanding bills, so it’s nothing new really. So I do not make too much of it except for the fact that we need to begin to devise measures that would bring this problem to an end.”

In January 2012, sometime before Saint Lucia hosted an international cricket match between West Indies and Austrailia, the public learnt that the stadium, the Beausejour Cricket Ground at the time, owed LUCELEC over $541,000 and a similar amount to WASCO. The stadium’s electricity supply had been interrupted.

The then Youth and Sports Minister, Shawn Edward, had confirmed that the facility had not paid utility bills for three years.

Subsequently, the utility companies and the DSCG were able to develop a payment plan which was honoured by the National Lotteries Authority on the stadium’s behalf, because the company which managed the stadium, Sports St. Lucia Inc., was unable to meet these expenses.

In the past, the facility has also had troubles paying National Insurance Corporation( NIC) dues. A few years ago, the NIC wrote to the Sports Ministry that there was over $100,000 in contributions owed by the stadium for its staff.

The stadium is managed by Sports St. Lucia Inc., which reportedly receives a yearly government subvention of $300,000 to manage various sporting facilities. DSCG has a monthly wage bill of $40,000, according to news reports.

Employees of Sports St. Lucia Inc., such as head cleaner, Louisa Mona Ambrose-Montoute, are feeling the brunt of the debt issues. She told HTS that they had a tank from an activity several weeks ago but that ran out.

She said: “It’s unbearable now. [In] the toilets, the odors [are] coming up and it’s unbearable. As you can see, if you go through the toilets now you can see the area needs mopping and the there’s no water to mop it out. So we are in dire need of water, and as you know, water is life and nobody can do without water and the stadium lives on water.

She added: “Personally, no one has sat with us and discuss anything with us. All we are hearing is that this week it’s going to be sorted out this week… and as we speak right now, absolutely nothing [happened]. Well I get my directives from the facilities manager and I report to him so he is telling me what the directors are telling him, that this week it’s going to be sorted out, but this week is another week.”

“We have been patient and we will continue to be patient. We just want our directors, our employers to understand what we are going through so that they can make a move. It seems that, you know, it’s a laissez-faire attitude with them and we’re tired. We want something done, we want to get the place clean. We have visitors coming in. We have the young cricketers here every single day using the toilets and sometimes you know, they use the toilet they don’t flush it and they just leave and…coming to clean the toilet and then there’s no water, you can imagine what that is.”

Groundsman, Jonas Matthew, an employee for almost a decade, also told HTS: “With our directors, the way they try to boss us around, and sending us outside on other fields and work, that’s one of the major, major problems we have with them.”

“That’s the next problem we have, our job description have we are contracted to work Beausejour, Lindo Phillip Park and George Odlum Stadium. And up to now, from time the directors, our employers entered, they said they would talk about fixing our salaries, fixing up our description, nothing had been done for a whole year. And right now…what they do, they just boss us around to go Vieux Fort, go there, go there, and we as groundsman don’t like that,” Matthew said, adding that overtime pay to employees was stopped from November.

The head cleaner, Ambrose-Montoute, also spoke on the labour/wage issues.

She said: “We sat down with our directors and our union and they promised us zero percent.. So we felt that perhaps we were dreaming, we were somewhere else. So we asked them to think about [it], we are giving you all sometime…and we stepped out. When we came back in, we told them we want five percent, we’re not accepting nothing less. They offered us three percent and some other issues they had to discuss so… we told [them]…’we’ll give you all a week’ to discuss and to sort out the issues. Up to a day like today, they have not found it fit to call us and sit with us to discuss the situation. Right now, we had to write to the labour commissioner to sort out the matter. We’ve not heard from the labour commissioner so we are now waiting.”

“I want to say to the directors, we are a resilient, hardworking, sympathetic staff, and we understand the situation we just want you all to meet us halfway. Come and sit with us and discuss the situation. We will understand.

Matthew echoed similar sentiments: “I want to send a message to the directors. I want to tell them to fix their act inside there and pass on the information as properly as they can.”

(7)(10)
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35 comments

  1. I now understand why st lucian has a big baby brat for their leader Chastanet. No one is asking the lazy Spider to explain what is going on isn't he getting a fat cheque every month to do a job? St Lucian Spider is not doing a favor he is getting paid to do a job. Spider get your lazy ass off that web stop catching flies and start doing the people work for them. Spider you are too dam lazy.

    (1)(1)
  2. Well we can't just talk, although Hilaire only asked to account for the money but we know that politicians always have ulterior motives. If water bills and electricity bills were in the hundreds of thousands, plus other commitments such as NIC also in hundred of thousands, and on top that to deal with repairs would 1 million be enough? We would have to question what was the position there before the loan and then after it if we have to get a true picture before we can make an opinion. Politicians always blurt out things which they know the answer to just to either get attention or to create controversy to hide their own misgivings or relieve some pressure off them.

    If Hillarie continues on this tract it would be difficult to ask him about the proposed Diabetic Research Centre which was promised by Juffali in exchange to upending the world's diplomatic protocol. We would remember that St. Lucia made the world news when it was revealed that our country was seemingly defying protocol by allegedly protecting Juffali from legal claims. If you ask me that's is a significant claim of obstruction for which St. Lucians themselves got nothing but our reputation was sullied as a nation that would go out on a limb to protect wrong doers in exchange for cash or kind. Lets see if St. Lucians can be smart enough and ask the right questions.

    (0)(0)
  3. Masters of illusions at their best. Asking the obvious questions they have the answers to. Your government never paid the bill but expect someone else to pay immediately. This seems like a big joke. Who are they fooling?

    (1)(1)
  4. My Lucian people are doltish can they read and understand If money's were borrowed for a particular project and that project have not been attended too. Doesn't the minister have the right to ask where the money went to . Is this wrong to ask
    Has this become a joke whereby my comment is always a duplicate
    Can't you all post my comment and let the readers think for their self thanks

    Are you all part of the ones who have fair Helen in the quagmire that it has found itself by allowing fake news and keep the population in darkness

    (1)(0)
  5. My Lucian people are doltish can they read and understand If money's were borrowed for a particular project and that project have not been attended too. Doesn't the minister have the right to ask where the money went to . Is this wrong to ask
    Has this become a joke whereby my comment is always a duplicate
    Can't you all post my comment and let the readers think for their self thanks

    (0)(0)
  6. My Lucian people are doltish can they read and understand If money's were borrowed for a particular project and that project have not been attended too. Doesn't the minister have the right to ask where the money went to . Is this wrong to ask
    Has this become a joke whereby my comment is always a duplicate

    (0)(1)
  7. My Lucian people are doltish can they read and understand If money's were borrowed for a particular project and that project have not been attended too. Doesn't the minister have the right to ask where the money went to . Is this wrong to ask

    (0)(1)
  8. Hilaire you have no credibility. You were given an opportunity to be an Ambassador to the U.K. but
    instead - the rest of the story is history. Jufalli's money helped out 100%. today you are am M.P.
    Now you are here questioning people on mismanagement of finance. You, you of all people???
    You have a good education, but please, use it on the positive aspects of government - not money.

    (1)(1)
  9. That same question was asked him and the slp dozens of times during their catastrophic reign. he should know exactly how to answer it. these guys have no shame and no memory of their failures. they just like to shift the blame to others.

    (1)(1)
  10. Any StLucian has a RIGHT to ask the question. The thing is we St.Lucians like to remain in the back seat hiding and when others take the drivers seat rather than applauding their efforts ,we critizie.If we don't watch it in this country too late shall be our cry. Our category five is begining to form but we are too politically blind to see it. Who can't hear will feel.

    (1)(0)
  11. Poor Spider. Este' making a mess with his clueless Chairman and Board and is Soider to take the blame.the stories of mismanagement, lack of accountability and corruption are out there. The stadium could not be in worse hands.

    (0)(0)
  12. Not sure exactly what the daily workload at the DSCG is, but the workers there feel like they need to be there full time and not be deployed to other grounds? The facility is barely being used. Do they need to be there 8 hours a day,5 days a week? The grass is not cut everyday, the place is not in use everyday, what is the problem with them going to another facility for two days out of the week? Maybe I'm missing something here. Are there tanks at the stadium? Can't we find some way to save and use rainwater for flushing of toilets, cleaning etc.? There are solutions, we just need to be a bit creative. It's a shame particularly since this has happened before.

    (0)(0)
  13. Tell us what you use Juffali money for Dr. Hilaire?

    (1)(1)
  14. Sa ki we va neg foo sa la......Hilaire is becoming unbearable a pain in the azz at that. Unbelievable miscarriage of justic. St.Lucia ought to impeach this horrid fool.

    (1)(1)
  15. Amazing they haven't explored the option of going over to solar power to solve the electricity problems in the long term

    (1)(0)
  16. TBH...the facility is run like a saltfish shop. Este' and his corrupt and inept board are a disaster. The place has gone to ruins. Even if the previous administration left the place in a mess; this group of bandits have worsened the situation. I wonder if the travelling pm were here a little more if he could actually make a difference in this farce of a board/management team..

    (0)(0)
  17. Why is this volaire inundating us with all pappyshow? hilarious think we forget his tricks? the only thing that is driving mate is hunger for power, power which he cannot manage nor handle.people know all his dirty tricks, so the complaints not gonna help. leopards dont change their spots. we know hilarious miss Jufalli money and all the passport money from CIP so now its about agitating big time. hilarious is pure hilarity. he is not the labour leader but dont seem to remember that.

    (2)(1)
  18. Ernest jufalli where is the jufalli money

    (29)(14)
  19. Red yellow green all those politicians are the same darn shitt!! And we Lucians accept the crap all we do is talk talk and no action. My government are my family and survival!! Fire upon them politicians!! Getting filthy rich on hard working ppl monies!!

    (18)(1)
    • unfortunetly it has and will always be that way. especially when the a lot of the population is sorely uneducated and the people believe only what they are told by their parties or the media. both of which have their own agendas and rarely tell the truth

      (1)(0)
  20. Rude gal lern howw two spel

    (0)(5)
  21. SERIOUSLY! A new party comes in forms the Government, borrows a huge sum of money supposedly to pay bills, the bill don't get paid! Someone asks, regardless of who that someone is, what happened to that money and we somehow flip that and say the question shouldn't be asked? That's unbelievable! We really need help in this country! I guess things must get a lot worse for us to stop be divided by colour and demand good governance, regardless of which party forms the Government.

    (27)(3)
  22. These unpaid bills have been paid for by all Lucians who pay there bills on time. Electricity and water are very expensive in St. Lucia. The 2 stadiums are just white elephants.

    (5)(3)
  23. Am an SLP supporter but I don't like Hiliare. I hope he don't be come leader. I would rather Alva as leader if Pierre goes.

    (9)(17)
  24. Where is the honour in having a stadium which had a grand sounding name “ Beausejour “changed to “Darren Sammy” and to have your name become synonymous with “incompetence”, “bad management” with a strong whiff of fraud? What an embarrassment to have your name mired in konmès! If I was Darren Sammy to restore my integrity and accomplishment, I would ask for my name to be removed from this debacle forthwith!

    (6)(2)
    • I think what will help solve that problem is a systern collecting of rain water.
      Stored and treat it and then use it instead of all the time rellying on wasco

      (0)(0)
  25. Rude ghal
    Hilaire pas chou LA. Stop playing politics u knee Dan well wat is was used for. Its high time some of u politions start taking jail. Whether its uwp or SLP cause all of u r dirty croaks.all of u doing the same damn shate

    (17)(21)
    • Sounds like one of dem STEP people.

      (2)(7)
    • Issue not name calling

      What? That's the best contribution you can make to a serious observation. It would have been better if you had "pas chou LA" instead.

      (11)(1)
    • New Testament Verse of the Day:
      "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing."
      – John 15: 5

      (1)(5)
  26. Who is asking?

    (5)(5)
  27. Who is asking?

    (3)(4)
  28. Hilaire you are in no position to ask

    (15)(20)
    • Shut the fork up , you idiot! Is he speaking for his self alone!? You forker he has the right to ask ! Where the money gone!(in invader voice) its high time people like yourself shut up ! Stop looking at party an invest your time in reality main idea what was done with the money!

      (0)(0)
    • Who is in position to ask Guy Money Man???

      (0)(0)

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