Contrary to reports of a purported apology from Archbishop Robert Rivas to the Allen Chastanet Administration over the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to government’s socio-economic polices, HTS News4orce has obtained a different account.
On June 1st, the Head of the local Roman Catholic Church in a News4orce exclusive stated that reports of an apology were inaccurate. Archbishop Rivas shot down the apology claim as a “misinterpretation” by a local newspaper. Listen below.
Archbishop Robert Rivas, O.P of the Roman Catholic Church in an April 27th public statement urged the Allen Chastanet led Administration to ‘take care of our home’.
The multi-billion dollar development by Desert Star Holding Ltd for Vieux-Fort, the proposed manmade causeway to the protected Maria Islands, plans for a dolphin park at Pigeon Island National Landmark and, the suspension of the National Initiative to Create Employment [NICE] have not received the blessings of the Catholic Church.
The church in a statement explained that its stance ‘…comes after a considerable period of reflection and discussion…’
As it relates to the government backed DSH development plan – Archbishop Rivas noted that the Church has ‘particular concerns’ about;
- Displacement around the investment site
- Lack of priority for local labor inputs
- Damage and depletion to cultural and natural resources
- Unsustainable relocation of the Vieux Fort landfill
The proposed manmade causeway to the protected Maria Islands – the home of five endemic reptilian species and other rare flora has stoked concerns about the environment. Civil society groups including the Saint Lucia National Trust [SLNT] have raised objections to the DSH ‘southern causeway’. According to Archbishop Rivas,
‘We fail to see how such an idea could be productive to the environment and at the same time to the multitude of local persons who enjoy Sandy Beach for recreational purposes. The land there is of great value in its present state as a gathering place for citizens throughout the country and visitors who greatly enjoy the natural beauty and ambiance of the locale. The recent (April 13, 2017) Press Release from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) does little to ease fears of potential hazards of the Causeway to the environment and ecosystem.’
The Church has ‘endorsed the efforts of the SLNT’ and, encourages ‘continued and vigorous participation efforts to ‘preserve the authentic patrimony of Saint Lucia.’
The Church regards the now suspended NICE Project as ‘a valuable social safety net mechanism for vulnerable persons’.