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St. Lucia seeking millions to pay for failed hotel project

Published:Tuesday | July 7, 2015 | 12:00 AM

The St Lucian government is seeking to raise more than EC$13 million to settle outstanding liabilities for the compulsory acquisition of lands.

Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony said the lands were acquired by the former administration to facilitate the construction of a hotel that never materalised.

Government has sought parliamentary approval to raise the funds to pay off Marie Ann Cecilia Francis and the estate of Oliver Caliste Nicholas Francis.

Anthony told legislators that the total cost of the failed project amounted to EC$67 million.

"This represents EC$32 million for the Roebuck Properties or the Black Bay Lands. The amount owed to the Jamaican government and International Hotel is EC$21.6 million, and EC$13.4 million for the families here. I have not even added the famous Daher Mall. If I did that, the cost would be approximately EC$115 million," he said.

Anthony dismissed the arguments of opposition legislator Guy Joseph, who said the lands would remain the property of the St Lucian people.

He said it "was a cruel twist of history" for Joseph to have made such an argument when, in the past, he did not raise such matters in the Rochamel project that had been a sore point for a previous Anthony administration.

"When it was Rochamel, you never heard there was a hotel remaining. You never heard there was a hotel paying electricity, paying water, paying 600 workers. You never heard of the benefits of Sandals Grande. Never. What a cruel twist of fate, a twist of argument and deceit," he said.

Anthony said former Minister for Tourism Allan Chastanet, who is now the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) leader, "has to take responsibility for the cost as he presented this investment and caused decisions to be made in favour of this non-existent project."