Friday, February 26, 2016

Have Rayneau Opened The GatewayTo A Slice Of The Tourism Pie For The Forgotten Communities?

Men at work on Debreuil/Myers bridge Project
Yesterday was a remarkable day in three of the Forgotten Communities – Debreuil, Roblot and to some extent La Maze, but to be more specific, Montete. It was a day when it appears that Construction and Industrial Equipment (CIE Ltd), the company contracted to do the repairs on the Debreuil – Myers Bridge Road Project, was back on the project to put the final touches. As the workers diligently went about their task, crowds of residents flocked each area the workers stopped to do the repairs, even to some extent engaging in convos. But what was significantly important was the fact that the project would be completed and that the road surface from Debreuil to Myers Bridge would be vehicle-friendly after over 15 - 20 years - this has excited the residents of The Forgotten Communities.
This route which drives through, Debreuil, Roblot, Montete and the Myers Bridge enclave, is blessed with scenic views of the pitons, great land contours, lush green vegetation, a very industrious people and last but not least the aesthetic creates a nostalgic ambiance which cannot be felt anywhere but in The Forgotten Communities. The tour operators would get their monies worth if they would only conduct a tour through the communities previously mentioned.
Rayneau Gajadhar
This is where this blog thinks that Mr Gajadhar must be thanked for doing this great job to make this road tourist-friendly, so that our people can get a cut of the pie. Reliable sources have informed this blog that Mr Gajadhar’s company did much more than his contract required of him. In simple terms the monies allocated for this project fell far short for what Mr Gajadhar did. But he chose to continue at his expense and give the residents of The Forgotten Communities something to enable them to earn a livelihood – few if any contractor would do such. The residents are aware of the gentleman’s kindness and for this they are deeply grateful.
So what do the Forgotten Communities have to offer the visitors who would take time to travel through? Debreuil is noted for its handicraft, our talented men and ladies possess a skill which is unmatched throughout the country. The residents boast of great souvenirs in the form of straw hats, table mats, bags, just to mention a few. Roblot can boast of similar products but the residents are more into using the cuscus grass whereas in Debreuil they use the screw-pine to a larger extent.
A view of the landscape as seen from Roblot
Throughout the drive in The Forgotten Communities, the scenic view of both Gros and Petit Piton is remarkable – more so at the higher elevations in Roblot. Also in Roblot a Wow! panoramic view of Vieux Fort over to the South makes a spectacular view. The community of La Maze which is off this route is most agricultural in nature. However it has a very rich history which I am sure the residents would love to share.
As for the people, they are unspoilt – very generous, friendly and kind-hearted and above all they take lovingly to strangers. Once in the community one is treated as family. Quite notably, the crime waves have not reached our communities and one is quite safe here – everybody watches everyone’s back.
Our roads are great now, take the tour. This also goes out to the Soufriere and Vieux Fort commuters travelling back and forth – make the Forgotten Communities your pass-through route for a change.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Lorne Theophilus - The Ideal Candidate For Choiseul/Saltibus

Lorne Theophilus
This blog has repeatedly said that our forum is open to all potential writers who have a voice to air. We at Choiseul On The Move think that many of us need a forum to say our piece - this is it! Today we publish the work of a young and budding writer who prefers to remain anonymous for now. Please enjoy. Lorne Theophilus - The ideal candidate for Choiseul/Saltibus By Anonymous: Whilst many may spit venom towards our very own Lorne Theophilus, it is with a firm conviction that we stand to proclaim that Lorne Theophilus is still by far our favourite for Choiseul this election and beyond.
Lorne Theophilus remains the ideal candidate for the Choiseul/Saltibus Constituency and his performance within the four years of office has surpassed by far that of any Parliamentary Representative who has served this constituency.
Undoubtedly, as any human being Lorne is not without shortcomings, however, we ought to give credit when it is due.  We are cognizant of the fact that at every Budget debate without any fear he admitted that he had not been able to spend the quality time that he would have liked to in his constituency and promised to address the situation.  Yes, we were disheartened that his presence was not up to the standard that we would have felt comfortable with, however, whilst we were being selfish wanting him to be with us in Choiseul, he took the Tourism Industry by storm and set out on the path of stabilizing this industry which redound to the benefit of the entire island and not just Choiseul, as we all know the once thriving Banana Industry was struggling to recover.
The tourism product
Within record time, tourist arrivals on island increased and we saw positive growth. Within one year (2012) stay over arrivals has recorded a steady increase.  Two thousand and twelve ( 2012) recorded , three hundred and six thousand , eight hundred and one (306, 801) visitors, in two thousand and thirteen (2013),  three hundred and eighteen thousand, six hundred and twenty six ( 318 626) visitors, in two  thousand and fourteen (2014), three hundred and thirty eight thousand, one hundred and fifty eight (338 158) visitors  and in two thousand and fifteen (2015), three hundred and forty four thousand, nine hundred and eight (344 908) visitors.
Not only did stay over arrivals record a steady increase but also in cruise arrivals.
Lorne believes that Choiseul /Saltibus has the potential to capitalize on the tourist industry and is currently engaging in discourse to bring in direct investment to Choiseul.
Currently, developers for a hotel in the Sabweesha, Choiseul area are on island.  Yes, Lorne is a man with a vision and he has dreams for the people of Choiseul and environs to benefit significantly from the tourist dollar too.
Lorne's parents
Lorne has touched the lives of people in every nook and cranny of the constituency in one way or another.  Whilst many may not see his work being highlighted in the media and may conclude that he has not done anything in the constituency, Lorne undertake quite a lot from a humanitarian standpoint and does not just engage in activities for mere political mileage.  Lorne believes in improving the quality of life of the people.  May I add, we are not surprised as to this philosophy that he holds as his parents Mr George and Lusca Theophilus both believed in this philosophy and this is why to this day their names remain a household name in the constituency as they have transformed the lives of many in the community of Choiseul and beyond.
Lorne engages in a number of things which are necessary not because it will propel him as an individual but for the good of the community.  Residents of Balca and Parc Estate, forgotten communities for over 30+ years can now breathe a sigh of relief.  Thanks to Hon. Lorne Theophilus for ensuring the rehabilitation works on these roads came to fruition.
Balca, Daban and Park Estate projects
Under the leadership of Lorne, we have also seen the rehabilitation of the Darban road, another forgotten community for the past decades.  It is not by accident that he runs into these forgotten communities.
 The residents of Morne Jacques and Fiette can also boast of an improved road network bringing much relief to the residents who had to commute on this rough terrain on a daily basis.  Currently rehabilitation works are ongoing on the Debrieul/Lamaze road.
Proper drainage works have also been executed in various communities including Mongouge, Esperance, Delcer, Jetrine, Tete Morne,  the Gulf, Chou Tigre to name a few.
Lorne is concerned about the holistic development of his constituents and continues to fund the Joe Joe T20 Cricket Tournament in the constituency year after year.
Joe Joe T20 competition
Our elderly is also of great importance to Lorne and since he assumed office he has successfully hosted an annual Christmas lunch for the elderly which has been a major highlight on his constituency’s calendar of events.
Whilst many believe that Lorne does not have the interest of his constituency at heart, whilst the majority talks, his is working.  Additionally, Lorne has one of the most effective management teams in place, who attend to the affairs of the constituency in his absence.  Yes, he may not have been visible as we would have like, but he had structures in place to assist in executing his mandate in the constituency.  He believes in empowering people.
More projects at Fiette, Mongouge and Jetrine
As Lorne continues to serve we see more projects unfolding.  It is in his tenure that the bid for the construction of the rehabilitated Choiseul Secondary School came to fruition after the plea of the staff, students and parents had fallen on death ears for many years.  So do you think anyone in their right state of mind would not acknowledge his efforts and clearly see that there is absolutely no other choice for Choiseul this election but our humble servant Lorne Theophilus?
Another passion for Lorne is the youth.  Under his tenure he has successfully hosted the annual children’s Christmas party where underprivileged children from the constituency would benefit.
Commissioning of Daban Centre
May we also apprise you that under Lorne’s tenure we have seen the upgrading of the Mongouge and Darban Community Centres, fully equipped with computer labs and the upgrading of the Mongouge Court. (Check video for more clips)
 Lorne continues to assist many community based groups in an attempt to give back to the community. Lorne is a man with vision and has may other projects which may not be completed during this tenure.  These include the:

  • Upgrading of Mongouge Court
  • lighting and fencing of the La Fargue Playing Field.
  • construction of a community pavilion at the La Fargue Playing Field.
  • rehabilitation of the Reunion Primary School Plant.
  • construction of the Roblot and Piaye Community centres.
  • creating an access centre at the Mongouge Community Centre.
  • waterfront development in the village of Choiseul.
Lorne is concerned about economic development and was instrumental in ensuring that Assou Square was returned to the people of Choiseul this year after a three year hiatus.  It is through his intervention that he was able to source funds from various agencies to successfully host this event.  He lamented that this was a revenue generating social event for the people of Choiseul and that we needed to ensure that the event came on stream.  This year we saw a record improvement as to the revenue generated and the number of patrons at the event.
Last year, Lorne continued to throw his support for the Blotche Chawzey which is the cultural carnival held in October, by fully engaging the Ministry of Creative Industries in  sponsoring the Jouvert.  This activity also allowed persons in the community to generate some form of income.
Lorne remains a man of integrity - he is able to account for every cent of government funds channeled in this constituency and he really does not fear losing ‘Party Faithful's' in the line of good governance, accountability and maintaining a clean track record.
Undoubtedly, Lorne as any other politician has faced many challenges, but it's because of his love for country that he continues to sacrifice and represent his country to the best of his ability.  Although having been a prominent attorney at law on island, gave this up to represent the cause of the people.  As he faced many challenges he could have just reneged on his promise to serve and return to his more lucrative practice.  However, a determined Lorne has remained, and continues to sacrifice and represent the people he pledged to serve.   
                              Projects initiated by Lorne Theophilus

Through his many tests and trials he has remained strong.  As Martin Luther King Jr. rightly stated, ‘The ultimate measure of a man is now where he stands in moments of comfort but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.’ 
A man who has accomplished so much within a four year stint, not just in his constituency but nationally is definitely a force to reckon with - the decision is now left for you to make.  
Let us not behave like folks with myopic vision.  Can we ever find a better choice than Lorne to represent the Choiseul/Saltibus Constituency at this time?