French agency funds waste water management study
The Government of St. Lucia today (Apr. 3) inked a Euro $100,000 financing agreement with the French government, under the l’Agence Developpement Francaise or the French Development Agency (FDA), to address the waste water management issue here.
The signing took place at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Vigie, Castries.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, AFD representative Yves Malpel said the first step to be taken is setting the project preparation fund. The grant will allow for technical studies to be done in preparing for the investment. The next step will be to address the issue of how waste water is managed, other than having it discharged into the Castries harbour.
Malpel said the AFD has been a long-term development partner in St Lucia, and has helped with the construction of the Millennium Tunnel, the Rodney Bay Treatment Plant, the sewage pipeline for Castries and the system of secondary roads leading to heritage sites on the island.
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony said that the project will involve several agencies including Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO) and St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA). This is mainly because the issue has to do with the discharge of waste water into the harbour.
This has been a major issue not just for St. Lucians, but tourists alike. It has been a source of continuous complaints.
Anthony said there is no doubt that the issue requires a resolution, but noted that it has also to do with plans leading up to the transformation of the Castries Port. Developers have made it clear that the government must first resolve the waste water management issue, before they invest here, he pointed out.
He expressed gratitude to the French government for its continuous support to St Lucia people and government, in realising several critical developmental projects across the island.
“These are difficult economic times … we have major challenges and major issues to deal with…and attracting finance at this time is not the easiest thing…the entire Caribbean is an area where there is hesitation to provide financial assistance and support of all kinds of things … so when the AFD can come to our assistance at this time, it is certainly very welcome,” he said.
French Ambassador to St. Lucia said the agreement is part of a request made by the prime minister to have the French government assist St. Lucia in addressing the issue.
The team from the FDA visited here to assess the situation and discuss what could be done to address the situation. It will also assist in the development of the Castries Harbour. The subvention will assist with the study.
The FDA-funded study could be completed by the end of this year, and plans to address the issue could begin early next year. Studies of this nature have taken place before, but none of them came to a conclusion.