By Kingsley Emmanuel
VIEUX FORT Mayor Winall Joshua has lashed out at critics of a major investment planned for Pointe de Sables, a recreational area on the outskirts of the town.
His advice to Vieux Fortians is: “Trust the Vieux Fort South Constituency Council. We have your interest at heart”.
THE VOICE understands that there is a proposal to build a modern commercial and entertainment facility in the area , but some of the towns people are against the proposal, citing the fact that Pointe de Sables is an important recreation spot in the south, in addition to its historical value.
At the moment, the area is being used for a variety of cultural and social activities which attract residents from around the island.
Joshua said he found it strange that certain individuals in Vieux Fort would oppose such a project which will bring immense benefits to Vieux Fortians, especially employment which was a major concern in the town.
According to the mayor, some of the objectors were more concerned about themselves than the plight of ordinary Vieux Fortians.
He said: “Some of the folks who criticize and condemn the proposed project can jump in their vehicles along with their families and travel all the way to the Caribbean Cinemas at Choc and indulge themselves…When they want to enjoy a special occasion or just to enjoy a meal in a different atmosphere, they can get into their SUVs and drive to a three or four star restaurant at Rodney Bay and enjoy themselves.”
According to Joshua, most of the people who reside in areas such as Bruceville, Cantonement and Derriere Morne cannot afford such a luxury and will welcome the project.
“I support the project because it will provide the facilities that would improve and enhance our standard of living in Vieux Fort. I support this project because I sincerely believe it is exactly what the town needs to wake up from its decade of economic inactivity and social malaise,” the Mayor explained.
He drew reference to the work of the Soufriere Development Foundation, and the role it has played in the development of that town. Joshua said that the Foundation has played a meaningful role in attracting foreigners in Soufriere, stating that Vieux Fortians can do the same.
‘All the foreigners are going to Soufriere. None are coming to Vieux Fort,” he lamented.
Joshua said the rest of the island was moving forward, while Vieux Fort was left behind.
According to the mayor, the argument put forward by some of the critics that such a project would destroy the historical value of the area, and endanger the national patrimony was unconvincing, stating that addressing these concerns would not put money in the pockets of the unemployed in Vieux Fort.
“The real danger to our patrimony comes from the foreigners who come here on the pretext of investing and to create jobs, but simply use and abuse our goodwill to enrich themselves, and in the process erect structures on our beaches that block our access to these areas,” Joshua argued.
He added that these foreigners also endangered St Lucia’s patrimony by having access to our lending institutions and using their money to compete with the locals, by buying large portions of prime property in the country.
“When all is said and done, at the end of the day Vieux Fort has everything to gain from such an investment and hardly anything to lose,” the mayor said.