Castries, St Lucia - Update
The Harvey family
- All the family are together again at their home at Mon Giraud just outside Castries.
- Rawle, Mr. Harvey is working very hard in his refrigeration/air conditioning business, servicing many hotels. He has closed the spare parts shop which was not flourishing.
- Liola, Mrs. Harvey is working in a picture frame shop for her artist relative Llewellyn Xavier.
- Hayle is working for the St. Lucia Tourist Board, at Point Seraphine, having completed her studies and gained a diploma. She may continue with further studies later.
- Evvery is serving and modelling in a jewellery shop. Uncle Llewellyn has persuaded her that art as a career is too precarious. She will pursue it as a hobby.
- Thia, now 16, is working for her CXC exams at Castries Comprehensive School. She hopes to do Cambridge A levels at Sir Arthur Lewis College on the Morne.
- Gimel, now 14 and over 6 feet tall, is at St. Mary's College where he enjoys woodwork and technical drawing. He loves drawing cartoons.
The primary schools
- The Acting Principal of the Anglican Infant School is Miss Noll Yarde.
- Mrs Daphne James has retired and is still living in Castries.
- The school takes pupils from 5-9 years, it has 18 classes and 20 teachers. There are 623 pupils altogether, class size varies from 30-36.
- Mrs Andre Bourne is Principal of the Canon Laurie Primary School. Mrs Cadasse a member of her staff is interested in links with the UK.
- The Carmen Rene Memorial Primary School is keen to link with UK schools.
- The following schools have recently had visits from UK teachers and shown themselves to be very co-operative:
- Marchand Combined School - Ms Anastasia James (Tel 452 2967)
- Bocage Combined School - Ms A Gill (Tel 452 6906)
- Camille Henry Memorial School - Mrs Noelini Lewis (Tel 452 4517)
If telephoning, the St Lucia prefix is 001 and most Castries numbers are 758 (or possibly 809). Three or four new primary schools are about to be built.
The banana industry
- Geest no longer ship bananas from St Lucia. Their ships and name are still used but Fyffes in conjunction with the Windward Island Banana Growers Association handle the export of St Lucia's bananas.
- This is a response to the demands of the USA for free trade and the loosening of protection for trade from former British colonies by EU legislation.
- This is very serious for the economy of St Lucia which relies heavily on bananas, half of all families receiving their income from the fruit.
- The more cheaply produced 'dollar bananas' from South and Central America, farmed on huge mechanised estates are threatening the livelihood of the family run businesses in St Lucia.
Other recent changes
- In June 1997 a decisive victory by the Labour Party brought a new government to power under Prime Minister Kenny Anthony. With 16/17 seats in the Legislative Council they overturned 14 years of rule by John Compton's United Workers Party.
- Vigie airport has been renamed George F L Charles airport after the founder of the St Lucia Labour Party.
- Tourism flourishes and is now the major employer, over 12,000 people work in this industry. More than 9,000 are employed in agriculture, most of whom work in the banana sector.
- The Roseau river has been dammed, providing a large reservoir. So far connection to the water supply has been hampered by inadequate pipes and pumps.
- A major new road is being constructed around Le Toc Point south west of Castries. This will make easier access to the main road system, avoiding the hair pin bends over Morne Fortune. It may also enable factory, housing and other development of the Coubaril, Ciceron area.
- An important banking and financial centre has been set up in the city.
- A new government building has been opened on the water front, alongside the three white buildings. The Ministry of Education is housed here.
- An additional duty free shopping area has been opened in an old warehouse on the south side of the harbour to serve the increasing number of cruise ships which now dock that side.
- The water front is newly enhanced by a row of decorative palm trees.
- The Jalousie Hilton, the controversial hotel built between the Pitons south of Soufriere reopened in time for Christmas 1997 after a refit. The white sand beach which was washed away by Hurricanes Iris and Lewis in 1996 has been reconstructed with sand imported from other Caribbean islands. The landing stage and beach buildings have been rebuilt.
- Castries fishermen now sell to the government which has built a new freezing unit. New fishing boats enable them to fish further afield. They are being urged to fish on the eastern Atlantic coast and safety workshops have been set up. The Caribbean west coast is already overfished and fishermen are being encouraged to leave it for tourism.
- The craft market has returned to the 19th century market building. The food market is mainly in the new market building but some vendors still seem to prefer to be on the open area behind the market. Fruit, fish and meat can all be bought here.
(Notes prepared by Wendy Morgan after visiting St Lucia in October 1997.)
Worldaware would like to thank Wendy Morgan for permission to use this material.