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Global issue 20

In Focus Saint Lucia The picturesque holiday destination of Saint Lucia often finds itself in the path of hurricanes and storms, in common with Caribbean islands. Every few years, high winds rip through the island, destroying bridges and roads, even claiming lives. The last time this happened was just a year ago when, on Christmas Eve 2013, a storm hit Saint Lucia, Dominica and St Vincent, flooding several of Saint Lucia’s towns and villages, including Castries and Soufriere. Two bridges were swept away, while others were damaged, and a section of a major highway was washed away. Three years earlier, Hurricane Tomas caused damage to plantations and hotels, impacting both the tourist and farming sectors. Consequently, a programme of infrastructure rebuilding has been underway, with Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony taking a close personal interest in the project, not least because he is also the Minister for Finance, Economic Affairs, Planning and Social Security. “We can no longer build a bridge that lasts ten or 15 or 20 years. We have got to build one that will last 100 years,” he says. “When we spend money, we have to understand that what we are doing is to protect the future generations.” In the last three years, the government has built 16 bridges. “We promised we would restore the face of Saint Lucia after the battering of Tomas. We kept our promise,” says Anthony. “A number of streets have been repaved in Soufriere and Castries. Clarke Street and the Vieux Fort/ St Jude Highway received a much-needed facelift a few months ago. At long last, the people of Banse La Haut will get a brand new road to access their homes.” At the opening of the Bois d’Orange Bridge – financed by donors that include the Venezuelan government and the World Bank – in December 2014, Anthony appealed to fellow Saint Lucians to focus on the long-term as the country rebuilds itself. 74 l www.global -br ief ing.org f i rst quar ter 2015 global © UN Photo/Jennifer S. Altman Weathering the storm Prime Minister Kenny Anthony is focusing on restoring the island’s economy and its infrastructure after the country was battered by extreme weather twice in four years Terry Less


Global issue 20
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