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St Lucia’s development authority ducks questions on horse racing track project

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  • St Lucia’s development authority ducks questions on horse racing track project

    Totally ludicrous and disrespectful to the citizens of Saint Lucia and taxpayers, who encounter intuitional obstructionists that continue to make economic and social mistakes with lasting consequences for Saint Lucia.

    In contrast to the noise of building the economy of Saint Lucia, the Development Control Authority (DCA), in a letter dated January 22, 2018, finally found some degree of what can be described as ‘complicit in contradiction’, in its ‘response’ to the Vieux Fort Concerned Citizens Coalition for Change (VFCCCC) letter dated August 8, 2017, on the status of application for approval for the Desert Star Holdings (DSH) horse racing track.

    The VFCCCC letter asked the following:

    1. Whether approval has been granted by the DCA to DSH Caribbean Star Ltd to commence the construction of the horse racing track? If not, what then is the purpose of the extensive excavating and refilling works being carried out at the site?

    The DCA response, via a letter from the unnamed executive secretary and copied to the chairman, Development Control Authority, deputy chief physical planning officer, development control officer, physical planning officer, district building officer, also with ‘no names’, reads:

    “In terms of No. 1 above, kindly be informed that in accordance with Part 6, Section 47 (4) of the Physical Planning and Development Act Chapter 5.12, ‘…any person shall be entitled to access to the information recorded therein (the register) and to take copies of such information on payment of the prescribed fee’.”


    2. Does the Physical Planning and Development Act require an EIA [environmental impact assessment] to be carried out for a project of this nature? If yes, are there any guidelines established by the DCA to ensure the EIA process is transparent?

    DCA response:

    “With regards to No. 2 above, kindly be informed that Section 22 of the Physical Planning and Development Act Chapter 5.12 does make provision for the submission of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and schedule 4 of the aforementioned Act outlines the matters for which EIA is ordinarily required.”


    3. Will the findings and recommendations of the EIA be disclosed to and discussed with the residents of Vieux Fort and other concerned citizens of Saint Lucia? And;

    4. Will the DCA grant permission to commence a project even though the EIA concludes it is likely to cause significant adverse environmental impact?

    DCA response:

    “With respect to no. 3 above, Section 22 (4 e) indicates… may make regulations providing for ‘the procedures for public participation in the EIA and public scrutiny of the Environmental Impact Statement submitted to the Head of the Physical Planning and Development Division’. Please note that the DCA currently does not have any regulations which provides for the aforementioned.

    “Finally, an EIA not only highlights the significant adverse environmental impacts of a project but also highlights the mitigative measures which will be undertaken to minimize those significant adverse impacts.”

    In essence VFCCCC received a ‘response’ of no consequence that in reality carefully considers possible future scenarios of the DSH horse racing track. Looking inwards there seems no regard for the future, or possible violations of the agreement and its obligations.

    In consequence, DCA merely reflects an implicit or explicit bureaucracy that encapsulates a sense of dependency, and in need of instructional remodelling.

    The ‘response’ by the DCA to the VFCCCC is utterly inappropriate; however, it highlights their inadequacies and, likewise, that it is ill prepared and inexperienced to dealing with such an ill conceived project, and the issues regarding corrective measures.

    But surprisingly and correctly, the government’s leading cheer leader in conveniently defending possible future scenarios says:

    “A lot of things are going on right now in this country, that is showing how backward we really are, because we still acting like colonials.

    “Independent councils, independent bodies, and so on, do not exist. The Prime Minister is monarch of everything he surveys.

    “The police are afraid of the prime minister. Ministers of government in the cabinet are afraid of him.” ~ Rick Wayne

    The DCA’s ‘response’ to the VFCCCC adds to the chaos and disaster that worsens the circumstances of the social, economic and political culture.

    Given the nature and function of the DCA, a government that should have done its due diligence on the DSH horse racing track and ensure an EIA was carried out, including specific construction precautions, modifications to the proposed development and schematics, has so far failed to convince astute minds.

    Further, the efforts of the administration to mitigate great concerns of international proportion and a proposed development that is myopic and mired in commercially unreasonable terms that are unstable in the ethos of development are also ‘unethical’.

    This presents further opportunity to decry social and economic injustice that has little regard for the public good. This adverse infraction impacts quality of life, as evidenced by environmental destruction and economic marginalization of livelihoods on a national scale.

    Growth and development are essential but they must be achieved in a responsible manner, inclusive of an environmental plan, project management and leadership, a management plan, a national development plan, all in a transparent way.

    Development cannot be accomplished in isolation and exclusion of the immediate community and the nation at large. What’s happening is surreal about our capabilities.

    Meanwhile, there is the tendency to allow what is unjust and unscrupulous to persist for the sake of subsistence living. This is immoral and wrong – deserving of immediate redress.

    And as previously stated, Saint Lucia’s double-minded prime minister defies truth with disinformation and confusion and it’s conceivable we already have rough waters ahead with DSH that is harmful to physical, economic and social development of Saint Lucia.

    Moreover, this abnormality mirrored by the DCA’s so-called ‘response’ fuels moves to continue to denounce and protest DSH and, as stated previously, “The introduction of a freedom of information law would put order to the availability of public documents to the public in a timely manner.”

    If not, backpedaling on political, economic and social methods will often persist to the detriment of nation-building and an administration with bedfellows of double- mindedness and instructional ineptitude.