Jawahir Fires Back After UWP’s Halls Of Justice Criticism – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) Communications Director has called out the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) over its criticism of the multi-million dollar Halls of Justice project.

Noting the opposition’s claim of a sod-turning ceremony shrouded in secrecy to which the local media did not receive invitations, Jawahir recalled that last month’s event occurred at an open ceremony in Constitution Park in Castries.

The SLP Communications Director questioned how it could have been secret when it occurred in the City centre.

She said the local media received invitations.

Jawahir told reporters that Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre included an estimated cost for the Halls of Justice project in his appropriations bill.

“It is not a situation where we have to incur any debt on the backs of taxpayers. It is not a situation where the government has to sign off or guarantee a loan,” she explained.

The government entered into a Build-Own Lease Transfer (BOLT) arrangement with NH, a Trinidad and Tobago contractor, for the project.

“We know that the project is going to cost us about $143 million ($US54 million),” Jawahir stated.

However, the UWP declared that ‘according to reports, ‘ the bill would be US$61 million or EC$162 million, not including financing cost.

The Trinidad and Tobago Guardian had earlier quoted NH executive chairman Emile Elias as saying that the total investment cost is US$61 million.

“We must remember that the Prime Minister did say that it is expected to cost. That doesn’t mean that at some point, if may, that the price could go down, or the price could go up. We know how these things work. But as it stands, Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre presented $US54 million,” Jawahir said.

 She added that the opposition wanted to give the impression that the cost per square foot was far greater than the average for a building in Castries.

“Many of the buildings in Castries were built years ago. We know of supply chain issues. We know that the price of different construction materials has increased,” Jawahir told reporters.

She added that there would be a cost to demolish and build.