CASTRIES, St Lucia — The Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) has called on the Allen Chastanet administration for full disclosure on the recent purchase of horses for the proposed (Desert Star Holdings) 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 the senior communications director, Nicole McDonald, leaves more questions than it answered, to which the SLP notes that the government denied that the initial framework agreement was final and promised to make available a copy of the final DSH agreement,” the SLP, said in a statement.
This is extremely necessary said the SLP statement “as it is only through the final agreement can Saint Lucians know exactly what the obligations for the DSH project is. It is only through public scrutiny of the final agreement can Saint Lucians know the full scope and extent of the DSH project,” adding that “McDonald’s statement proclaims that the government of Saint Lucia did not purchase or facilitate the purchase of the horses.”
The SLP contends that McDonald failed to inform Saint Lucians who purchased the horses and under what terms and conditions such a purchase took place. Accordingly, the SLP seeks answers to the following:
- If the government did not purchase the horses, were they purchased by Teo AH-King, through the Royal Saint Lucia Turf Club?
- 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 Theo Ah King is merely upfronting and spending all monies now to be reimbursed through the CIP?
- If Teo Ah-King will be reimbursed later as stated by the prime minister, then who currently owns the horses?
- Who is currently responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the horses?
- Further, should any of the horses die or become injured does Saint Lucia still have to pay for that horse or horses?
- And if the CIP is unable to generate the monies to repay, how will the government repay the Royal Saint Lucia Turf Club for the horses?
- 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?
McDonald also stated that the government of Saint Lucia’s only involvement in the project has been to relocate the meat processing facility and that the investor would pay for the rebuilding of the facility.
The SLP noted that 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.
Therefore, the SLP questioned the following:
- Did 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?
- Is Teo Ah-King going to be upfronting the building of the new facility and will be reimbursed through CIP funds?
The SLP is of the view that whether these horses are being paid for by the government of Saint Lucia or by DSH, in either case, it is obscene and unconscionable. Whilst St Jude hospital and Owen King European Union (OKEU) hospitals are not commissioned people continue to suffer and endure the indignity of substandard health care, horses will be well taken care of [ in luxury] in the country, “is an affront to our sensibilities, an insult to us as a Nation.”
“The SLP strongly condemns the government of Saint Lucia preoccupation with staging a horse race and by the prime minister’s assertion will be a money-losing venture – whilst there are calamities facing the country in health care, education and crime.”
Saint Lucians are crying out for resolute action and focussed 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 SLP, said in a statement.
The statement continued: “The labour party strongly believes that the same effort to have these horses purchased and cared for to participate in a horse race on National Day [December 13] is the same effort that should have been given to complete our hospitals and repair our schools.”