St Lucia Labour Party demand answers on Forestierre housing project

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The opposition in St Lucia has expressed “great concern” over comments made at the Forestierre housing project.

The St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) are pressing the government on “the apparent generous financing arrangements” with the contractor for the development, Fresh Start.

Fresh Start is the same company that recently won the contract for road work in Micoud South – reportedly worth $15 million.

WIC News understands that the Micoud South contract was awarded without any public tendering process.

In a statement, the SLP has issued a number of questions that they would like the government, and in particular Housing Minister Guy Joseph, to answer “given the relatively short and unknown business life of Fresh Start.”

Attention to comments

At last week’s opening ceremony, where a number of lots were handed over to individuals, Joseph said the development would help improve the lives of young people.

“For the young people, who want to be able to afford to have a house and land at some point in their lives, they may not be able to start with a loan of $300,000 for a house and land package,” he said.

Guy Joseph.

“So I decided that I was going to package this project into housing lots and allow them to buy the lot in the interim.”

But it’s not these remarks that have caught the eye of the SLP.

Instead the opposition want to know whether the Forestierre housing project was put out for tender after Joseph said “if any contractor in St Lucia can offer me a package as good as the package that we receive on this project… I am ready to engage them tomorrow”.

“Is the minister empowered to unilaterally award contracts? How did the minister come to that conclusion?”, asked the SLP.

The cost of the contract, the method to award the contract and whether Fresh Start would receive additional work from the government are all being questioned by the SLP.

Unpaid work

Another comment by Joseph that the SLP want an explanation of relates to the payment of Fresh Star’s bill.

“If according to Guy Joseph the contractor has not been paid ‘one cent on this project’, are there any interest charges to be paid when the contractor is paid? If so how much?”, said the SLP.

“We ask this questions because it is strange for a small contractor like Fresh Start to work for nearly one year without payment. Are there any other considerations or promises related to that deal?
“Did the government of Saint Lucia provide any special concessions to Fresh Start?”

WIC News has approached the government of St Lucia for comment but has been unable to contact Fresh Start.

This was story originally published on 9 August 2017. Updated: 10 August 2017

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