Sunday, March 18, 2018

Choiseul Co-Operative Silent on Delcer Lands?

As at December 31st 2017 the financial statements  presented by The Tri-Trinity Associates,(Certified General Accountants and Management Consultants of Rodney Bay, Gros Islet ) to the Board of Directors of The Choiseul Co-operative Credit Union  Limited revealed:

Total Assets:               $90,734,346.00

Total Liabilities:          $76,020,136.00

Net Assets (deficiency)/Members’ equity:          $14,714,210.00.

It is worth mentioning here that this members’ equity comprises:

Share capital of $4,692,795.00'
Reserves funds of $6,783,721 and Retained earnings  of 3,237,694.00.

The statement shows an increase The Board of Directors approved this statement on Thursday March 1, 2018.

Total Assets and total liabilities increased by $11,093,172 or 12.2% and $6,851,327 or 9.9% respectively from the previous year’s audit report. Hmmm! Going places it appears?
After that infamous decision at the last meeting to seize 75% of interests on quarterly dividends the institution seems to be finding its feet. Bravo!

However members should be aware that on August 1, 2017 the credit union leased an office space in Choiseul at a monthly payment of $2,200.00 per month for a  2-year duration.  Plus the Soufriere problem remains a burden on the back of the membership.
We are all aware of the fiasco regarding the purchase of land and a dilapidated building in Soufriere. In spite of this purchase which was ill advised the Union continues on its leasing spree.

After five years since the purchase of a dilapidated building in Soufriere the Choiseul Co-operative Credit Union  have started renting a new building at a cost of $3000.00 monthly - so one wonders why the building was purchased.

The Union was warned against the purchase for two reasons. One is that the Soufriere operation was being subsidized until 2019 and we did not need to increase our expenses in this branch and secondly the building could not be repaired without major expenditure since it was 60 years old.

 At that time it would have to practically be rebuilt at a cost of more than 1.5 million. Now it is alleged that it will cost over $2M. I also noticed a building fund which from 2016 has stuck at $135,484.00.

It also apparently clear that the “Delcer Lands” issue which has plagued this administration and those previously was not mentioned in the Board of Directors’ Report.
In the case of Delcer - a bad decision was made by two individuals and the then board to buy land which has no road access electricity or water - As such all these have to be done to subdivide the property.

Government had contributed the funds to help so the actual cost to the CU was not much,  but subdivision would be costly going forward because the amenities would have to be put in.

The worst problem though is that the property was bought with a number of tenants who could not even pay rent to Cecil Frank and are in no position to purchase but their houses are erected on the property all of which are in concrete and as a result they cannot be evicted. This is the CU's dilemma which I see no way of getting out of. Fix it!!!!!!

The financial statement is comprehensively detailed and would take some time on my part to really delve into it. However one statement by the auditors that stands out in my mind is, “The Co-operative is exposed to daily calls on its available cash resources from maturing members’ deposits and loan draw downs. The Credit Union does not maintain cash resources to meet all of those needs as experience shows that a minimum level of investment of funds can be predicted with a high level of certainty….”

Therefore it would be wise for the Board of Directors to adhere to this year's  theme by Malcolm X which they portrayed in their report - "THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO PREPARE TODAY."

Monday, February 19, 2018

Support Zoe For Miss Volunteer South Pageant 2018!!!

The Choiseul Chapter of the Volunteer St Lucia Program is alive and well and is destined to go places. So says Mrs Actille, a senior member in the group.
According to Mrs Actille, the group was formed way back in 2007 during the time of the Cricket World Cup when volunteers were being sought to be trained to help out in that event.  After the event Mrs Actille reiterates that the trained members were being called quite regularly to perform National duties.

“We had our first executive in 2013,” she recalls. “Persons like Feria Theophilus, Eve Aimable, I, and others were very influential in keeping the group together,” she continued.

The Choiseul Chapter of the National Volunteer program operates under  the Motto “We embody civic responsibility and patriotism through voluntary service, with beautiful smiles”.

You can get more info on the Choiseul Chapter on their Facebook page

Though the membership has been very active over the years,  it was only last year, June to be exact that the National Volunteer Program, Volunteer Saint Lucia, launched the Choiseul Chapter of the program. Hmmm!

The group has been involved in numerous projects throughout the length and breadth of the district, namely, refurbishing the Choiseul Village library - kids corner, painting homes etc. (Lost contact with Mrs Actille or she refused to answer her phone.)

However, come February 24, this coming weekend, Britani “Zoe” Nicholas, one of the members will be representing the Choiseul Chapter in a pageant dubbed Miss Volunteer South Pageant 2018, which is being organized by the Vieux Fort Chapter.The event will take place at the Vieux Fort Primary School from 7:30 pm.

Britani Nicholas, affectionately called Zoe is an 18 year old past student of the St Joseph’s Convent and the A-FRAME level program at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College. This amazing talented young lady was raised in the heart of the fishing and craft village of Choiseul, where she developed her interest and passion  for volunteerism by observing how the people took care of one another.

 Her long term plan in life is to become a successful accountant, however she has diverse interests.During her spare time Zoey loves looking after kids and helping others.

Britani is being sponsored by:-
  • Choiseul Credit Union
  • Bradley Felix
  • Travel & Leisure Agency
  • Trevor Phillip Agencies
  • Fontes Supermarket
  • Savemart Supermarket

Her Chaperone is Shannel Butcher.

The full list of contestants are:-  Our very own Britani Nicholas – Miss Choiseul Chapter and the other contestants who all hail from Vieux Fort include Gabrian Popo -  Miss Vieux Fort Chapter, Kertrine Dornelly - Miss Vieux Fort Secondary School, Kianna Nicholas - Miss Youth and Sports Council and  Kaysia Verneuil - Miss Rotaract.

Choiseulians are urged to support Britani "Zoe" Nicholas by visiting the event page at  and like her photo in the People's Choice Album  OR you can like her on your Instagram page.

The contestant with the Combined MOST number of likes on both social media p-latforms will be the People's Choice for Miss Volunteer South 2018.

Let's do it for Choiseul!!!!! Good luck Zoe!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Happy Birthday Andre Jn Baptiste


What is truly amazing about Dwight's Birthday is that that it reminds me of my dad bithday as well. both are on December 21st. What a great gift to have - myour first son has the same birthday as his grand dad.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Will Choiseul Get a Mini Stadium Operational By 2020?

There is much talk around this second year of Bradley’s tenure. The talk is that he step up to the plate and deliver a mini stadium for Choiseul.  Among those clamouring for this stadium are one top security expert and a retired youth sports director. “Bradley en have to do much. Just give the youth a stadium and his body press.” The two kept echoing in unison.  Hmmm! I moaned. With Chastanet focused on that economic recovery campaign for St Lucia, will he pump monies into a Choiseul facility?
Rufus and Lorne - the non-deliverers
During Rufus Bousquet’s tenure as Parliamentary Rep he secured some funds towards the building of a mini stadium. To my knowledge a feasibility study was done - site tested and design plans were already in the works. Bousquet lost the elections and things came to a standstill. (Take the poll on the right)

One would have thought that Lorne Theophilus would have taken on this project but rather he was more hell bent on making his base believe that the stadium money was no more. So four and a half years went by and the mini stadium was on the back burner. By the way, it is now being alleged that all the stadium monies was there at the Choiseul Credit Union and that the last administration withdrew and lodged it into the consolidated funds. (Par mwen kee de ee). So what now?

I have always been an advocate of top quality facilities for our local sportsmen and women. I guess that’s why I stayed so close to Rufus with the hope that this stadium would come to fruition. What a waste of my time and energy!

Soufriere Mini Stadium
My heart aches every time I hear of an activity at the Soufriere stadium – we should have had a stadium by then I keep saying to myself. I recall the deceased Bolo reposting an article I wrote about my utter disappointment in Rufus in his blog post at  

Fast forward. Choiseul to my mind is committed to promoting and developing a strong sporting culture in the communities as well as raising our national and regional profile in sports. In realizing this vision, our overall strategies should be: (a) promoting “Sports for All”; (b) fostering high performance sports; and (c) promoting Choiseul as an attractive venue for hosting districts sports events.

At present, the Choiseul/Saltibus Constituency Council (CSCC) maintains over 3 different sports venues in Choiseul. Among the larger venues are the La Fargue and the Piaye grounds. These are often used for holding major sports events like cricket, football and athletics, as well as large-scale political rallies. However, these playing grounds do not have changing accommodations for players, poor seating facilities and do not match up to national standards like the facilities in Soufriere and Vieux Fort, just to name the two closest ones. It’s time that a new modern, multi-purpose mini stadium should be developed.

So what do I have in mind for this stadium?
  • A stadium with a minimum seating capacity of 3,000 spectators with capability to extend to 5,000.
  • The stadium could cater for all types of sports events, entertainment events, concerts, conferences, product exhibitions political rallies;
  • Sufficient car parking areas, and landscape features.
  • The stadium to house government institutions in the district – Choiseul/Saltibus Constituency Council, Environmental Health Office and Youth Officer Office

Bradley Felix in great company
The fundamental premises for building a new multi-purpose stadium are:
  1. A stadium can attract more national sports events to be held in Choiseul. This, in turn, would help raise Choiseul’s sports profile, as well as attract investment and business opportunities;
  2. A modern and well-equipped facility could provide a better training environment for our sportsmen and women would help improve their performance in local, national, regional and hopefully international events;
  3. Such facility would also generate local interest in sports, and encourage wider community participation in sports activities, including raising their interest in watching large-scale sports events; and
  4. There are successful examples in our neighbouring towns, such as Vieux Fort and Soufriere in operating a stadium in facilitating sports development.

The stadium to my mind will involve substantial investment. The site would be required both the small and large field at La Fargue for the construction of the proposed stadium and its ancillary facilities.

 I am no quantitative surveyor and cannot give an estimate on how much the project will cost.

How could the stadium be funded?
  • Well for starters we already have $600,000.00 more or less in a consolidated fund. Don’t forget it’s our money.
  • Through donations from friendly countries. Minister of foreign affairs…get to work.
  •  Private sector participation – in view of the construction cost, participation by the private sector in the financing, construction, operation and management of the stadium should be considered.
  • Funding schemes involving tax-exempted bonds
  • National lotteries

NB: In the United States creating stadium proposals is one method by which governmental bodies can obtain financing necessary to build new stadiums. Once a legislative body or general public approves a stadium plan, the governmental body authorized to issue bonds to pay for the stadium sells the bonds to the investors. The government then pays the investors according to the funding source authorized by the approval of the plan. (Could we not copy that model?)

But I have my worries too, about this stadium.  I envisaged that the proposed stadium may not be able to generate enough recurrent revenue to cover recurrent operating costs. Will the stadium be able to make sufficient funds to pay its utility bills and maintain its staff or will the government foot the bills - Beausejour immediately comes to mind – Spider’s statement at the last budget debate. Could the Choiseul/Saltibus Constituency Council or some other operating agent profitably run this sport facility? Your guess is as good as mine.

Well then what are the alternatives?
  1. The future operating cost could be fully borne by an operating agent, or the Government could provide funding or subsidy. If Government should contribute to the operating expenses, the funding formula should be carefully worked out.
  2.  Advertising, premium seating, naming rights, personal seat licenses, and revenue from concession stands  and other revenue generating sources should be explored

If you are genuinely in favour of a mini stadium for Choiseul make your voice heard on:
  • (a) the need for a multi-purpose stadium in Choiseul; 
  • (b) how the stadium should be funded; 
  • (c) other key issues that Government should consider in relation to the  stadium development; 
  • and (d)  the proposed way forward as regards to operating the facility.
2020 vision for this mini stadium - hope it materialises.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Is The PM Telling Lucians Enough About DSH?

At a political meeting in his constituency, Alva Baptiste was quoted as saying “No Army, no election needed to stop DSH.” Is DSH so bad that it merits such statement from a seasoned politician I thought to myself? On the other hand,is the present government, the PM in particular, to blame for all the rhetoric being spewed about the project. What is the truth about the project?
DSH project

There appears to be a lack of genuine concern on the part of government to sell the project to St Lucians. It is being widely suggested that the Prime Minister seems to be the only visible government pushing the DSH project. (We have heard certain Government Ministers agree that there are clauses which are unacceptable.) Granted he may be the only one of the lot who may have detailed information about it, however there is enough material about the project in the public domain for every government minister to trumpet its worth. Why is it not being done?

“Choiseul on the Move” believes that this is a national issue which has far reaching implications for every Saint Lucian today and in the future. There has to be more transparency on this matter. Saint Lucians must make informed decisions on such a significant project. 

Over the last several weeks and months the United Workers Party has noted with increasing concern, as the Saint Lucia Labour Party, in various guises campaigned against the much needed development in the south, in particular the DSH project.

The Government must come clean on DSH and involve the people in deciding what is acceptable in the DSH project. Why? According to SLP, “Because this is not a single hotel project but a major project involving over 900 acres of mainly public lands, which will affect a national reserve and force the relocation of hundreds of citizens. It involves offering thousands of Saint Lucian passports for sale which will affect the identity and sovereignty of our people. This is a national issue with huge repercussions for generations yet to come.”

There is sufficient talk going around that speaks to Government’s claim that the project will bring economic deliverance to an economically starved Vieux Fort is being seen as a move to wrest the southern part of the island from the SLP representation in parliament.

It is also clear that there is no consistency, accountability or transparency in the way the Government deals with the people. Other examples include (CIP, and Dolphin Park) on how the Prime Minister and the Government say one thing today and another thing tomorrow.

The UWP Government has indicated that it is attempting to renegotiate parts of the Agreement. There are still some burning issues which the PM and his government needs to clarify for the citizens of this country:

1: The Framework Agreement provided for the establishment of an Escrow Account in a foreign jurisdiction, will the Government require that the Escrow account be held in Saint Lucia?

2: The Framework Account provides for the holding of CIP monies by the developer in the Escrow account to fund races and pay for the operations of the race track, will the Government reject that the sale of our passports be used for the Developer to operate the race track?

3: How much finance is the developer contributing to the Project and how much is requested as CIP financing?

It needs to be noted here that we too, in the Choiseul/Saltibus Constituency 1. Be updated and 2. have our voices be heard on the DSH project. Would TownHall meetings be too much to ask for?
In closing “ Choiseul On The Move” would like the PM and his government to lay the cards on the table and be more forthcoming about development projects.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Choiseul/Saltibus Constituency Council Appoints Supervisor For The Caretaker Program 2017 -2018

Desmond "Jerry" Calderon at Meeting
The Choiseul Old Boys’ School was the venue for a meeting scheduled by the Choiseul/Saltibus Constituency Council on Wednesday July 26, 2017. Though scheduled to start at 9:00 am - the meeting eventually got underway about 10:05am – did that surprise you? The usual Lucian time in effect.

The purpose of the meeting was to award and renew contracts for the Government's Caretaker Program in the Constituency which is scheduled to start on August 1, 2017.

The meeting was opened by the Mrs Enora Justin, the Village Clerk who welcomed those 30 or so persons present. She gave a brief rundown of what is expected from all caretakers and the importance of doing a neat job and within the specified monthly dates – the 1st – 15th

She also made mention of a one-time $50 fee  which will be withdrawn from the first wage to take care of insurance for the caretaker in case of liabilities during operations on the road. What however stunned me was the fact she said “If you are found to be negligent the burden is yours.” This needs further clarification.

There appears to be a significant change in the program this year. Whereas the caretakers were expected to work for four straight months, this year they have been mandated to work still for the four months but on an alternative basis – every other month. Therefore their contract starts in August and ends in February 2018.

Following Mrs Justin’s comments the floor was opened for any questions. The main concern by a few members was their inability to get in contact with the works supervisor. Many irate caretakers, though not addressing their concerns directly to Ms Justin could be heard mumbling their displeasure about incidents which they had to undergo during the life of the previous contract period.

Hmmm, did the Council get wind of this and hence the reason for appointing a new supervisor? It surely smells like that. Mr Desmond Calderon aka Jerry is the new supervisor of the program for this period and was welcomed by the caretakers. In his short speech to his team he made his position clear that he is a no-nonsense, easy-going person that he expects everyone to do their duty as stated on their contracts.  He asked that persons "work smarter" feel free to call him Jerry and contact him anytime when faced with issues pertaining to the their work.
                                          Mr Calderon bonds with his Team
Jerry's responsibilities among others, are for ensuring that the each contractor does his/her work as stipulated by the contract terms and in turn report to the Council on the status of work done for payment processing.

Mr Brian Charles, the Council’s Chairman gave a few remarks where he more or less reiterated the Clerk’s statements. Following this the caretakers  were asked to confirm their bank account numbers on the contract and signed the document.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Finally,The Dream Came True - Bradley and not Lorne Turns the Sod!

Sunset Resort
Good day! First of all let me apologize to my readers for such a long lapse since posting an article. Circumstances beyond my control plus work pressures have all had their fair share in this delay.

However I was kinda pushed to write this piece, when I read a tweet on my tweeter account -"Invest St Lucia and the Government of SLU will today be engaged in the Sod Turning Ceremony of the Fairmont Hotel, Sab Wisha, Choiseul. The event is hosted by Invest St Lucia." Wow!

I had already gotten wind of this when the Minister for Tourism made mention of this in his presentation at the House last Tuesday. However the day was not mentioned. Bravo!

Coming to think about this, my respect for our District Representative has quadrupled. Unlike the members on the other side of the divide who appear to destroy/get rid of everything which bears the signature of the United Workers Party whenever the former comes into office after being in opposition - the Balembouche/Rivere Doree Lands is a shining example but this is for another show.

Bradley, the Rep, has made it crystal clears that anything he comes across whether it is by the SLP or not, once it will benefit his constituents he will continue with it. Don't be surprised if you hear the SLP surrogates say that this Hotel is a Lorne project.  No its not or to be fair,partly.

The resort when  is expected to:-

1.  Project costing between one hundred and seventy to two hundred million US dollars, 
2.  Expected to be a four and a half to five star boutique-type property.
3.  Include a craft component enabling craft to be produced and sold at the resort.
4.  Major job opportunities during the different phases of construction of the Sunset Bay resort, utilizing the number of skilled workers of the Choiseul community.
5.  Expand opportunities for tourism linkages including tours, taxis, fisheries and agriculture,

Lorne knew very well that the propaganda he was spreading before the elections about the sod turning ceremony was solely a ploy to get votes. Nothing was in place to get this project off the ground because Planning had not given the Ok, "They are expecting all things being equal, from start to completion to take between fourteen to sixteen months,” he reiterated.

Plans were not finalized and so much had to be done that was still pending, so to say that he Lorne was about to go ahead with the sod turning ceremony was a political bluff - SLP's forte. 

The sod turning ceremony is expected to start at 3:00 pm today. Present at the ceremony will be the The Hon Prime Minister, The Minister of Tourism, The District representative, Chairpersons from the different Constituencies and Invest St Luc

The general public is invited.