Thursday, October 5, 2006 – After several months of lobbying for a home
to sell their goods, the dream of the craft vendors of Vieux Fort has finally
been realized. On Wednesday October 4th, many gathered for the sod turning
ceremony marking the commencement of the construction of a 1.5 million dollar
arcade on government lands.
Expressing elation over the project Prime Minister and Parliamentary
Representative for Vieux-Fort South Hon. Dr. Kenny Anthony said the vendors were
being provided with a facility that would help to improve their economic status.
He further described the 1.5 million dollar investment as another avenue to
reach the marginalized.
“The people who inspired this development are the vendors,” he said. “ This
property is for them, it was meant for them to use.” Sounding a word of caution
about the way business ought to be carried out, the Parliamentary Representative
told the vendors, “We have to change the way we do business if we are to
survive, we cannot do business the old way as before. We have to make changes
and part of the process of managing this place would be to train these vendors
into the new business ethic, new business approaches, the new business models so
that this place would truly become special and successful,” said Dr. Anthony.
The project is being funded by the National Development Corporation - NDC.
Chairman of the Corporation Michael Chastenet, commented that the facility is
poised to enhance the tourism industry, “the life blood of the St. Lucian
economy”. “The next step remains in your hands to develop the indigenous
products to attract your customers. This government has provided the setting,
the ambiance and the location for the industry,” he said. Mr. Chastenet told the
future tenants, “success can only be derived by aggressively moving forward to
make this arcade a reality.”
The arcade is being constructed in close proximity to hotels and the Hewanorra
International Airport, is said to be strategically located, providing easier
accessibility for souvenir shoppers. The project is expected to be completed
within the next 18 months.