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The quarry site at RIchmond  on March 11, 2022. (Photo: Lance Neverson/Facebook)
The quarry site at RIchmond on March 11, 2022. (Photo: Lance Neverson/Facebook)
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An opposition MP is questioning the government’s decision to lease lands to a private firm to mine stones in Richmond when the government is about to spend millions of dollars on stone to build an EC$600 million harbour in Kingstown.

Central Kingstown MP St. Clair Leacock also noted that there was no mention of the quarry project in the campaign for the November 2020 general election, in which the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) won the North Leeward seat by a single vote – after a series of controversial recounts.

“Not once did a government that badly wants to win a seat say to you, they were going to have mining at that place; not once,” Leacock told a community meeting organised this month in Fitz Hughes by the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), of which he is a vice-president.

“And if, as they are trying to impress upon you now, they were so convinced, they would have put the argument before you in their manifesto, in their words and in their deeds, to help and secure this constituency. But it was withheld and withheld for good reason.”

While the ULP did not mention the quarry on its platforms or in any of its speeches, it is listed in its manifesto.

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In the manifesto, the party listed the quarry under the “large strategic policies and programmes are on offer by the ULP to Lift SVG Higher”.

“Building-out, in conjunction with a private sector entity, a quarry in North Leeward. This is vital for private and public construction, including roads.”

Leacock said that the environmental management plan for the quarry says it will benefit the construction of the new port in Kingstown, as well as other government projects and private sector projects.

“And when they look at the project in Kingstown, the deep-water pier, which they have estimated to be as high as $600 million dollars and they know that you’re going to need a hell of a lot of stone…

“They know those stones have to be secured; it has to be bought, it has to be paid for and that in itself is going to be amounting to millions of dollars.

“And perhaps, just perhaps the temptation was too great as some of them looked around and saw that their days in politics was coming to an end and so they said, ‘A lot of money dey in big stone and the time to move and secure that is now. So said; so done.”

MP for North Leeward Carlos James, in his attempt to reassure residents that the quarry would not have a negative impact on their lives, said that he had visited Rayneau’s quarry in St. Lucia unannounced and was impressed with what he saw there.

Leacock said:

“Ask him why did he feel compelled to take his own money to go to St. Lucia, to see what was happening there and to come back here, and to say all is well, all clear, let’s proceed…

“St. Lucians complained about the dust, they complained about the big trucks, they complained about the dirty water in the rivers, they complained about the asphalt, they complained about all the respiratory illnesses because bad things were happening to them for the existence of this same company in their own St. Lucia.

“So you don’t feel if it ain’t good for them, it ain’t good for we, either? No! Money in it. So they reach here to land it on you now.”

Leacock said it is not easy when money is dangled before someone who has utility bills or medical bills to pay or children to take care of and educate.

“And right is right and wrong is wrong. And you could never ever be too poor to say, ‘You see that thing, that spells disaster for me, my children and for generations unborn.”

He urged listeners to think about what South Leeward MP, Nigel “Nature” Stephenson said at the same meeting.

“A government is going to give a man those lands for 30 years.  … he (the operator of the quarry) will make money for the next 30 years,” Leacock said, noting that the farmers who occupied the lands would only be compensated for their existing crops.

“But in the same way he is going to benefit from it for 30 years, if you are going to lose from your land, from your fishing, from whatever the hell you’re doing, you, too, should be compensated for 30 years.

But in the first instance, they were never concerned about that.”

He noted that a tonne of stone is sold for around $70.

“Imagine they’re going to take your stone, sell it for $70… and in return give you a penny — two cents — out of $70. What the hell you’re going do with two cents out of $70? Something ain’t radically, fundamentally wrong with that?”

The quarry operator will pay the government EC$12,000 annually for the lease and EC$2 on each tonne of aggregate that it produces.

Further, it will sell the government aggregates at an 8% discount.

Leacock asked the meeting to consider that the stone that will be quarried belongs to the country.

“So you can sell to me and tell me that you want stone to build a wharf in town; you can call a man from St. Lucia, give him the stone and buy back your stone from him to full up your wharf?

“… You ain’t bring them from St Lucia. But you going to take your stone give it to him and buy it from him. Well, I have to be a nincompoop. I have never heard some guinea hen bring ram goat story like that in my life. Who the hell they talking to? It’s got to be the joke of the century.

“They are dishonest to the core and taking you for a ride.”

Leacock noted the NDP’s proposal of a constituency development fund.

“It means that everybody who wants to represent you must understand that there must be money put aside expressly for you and your constituency,” he said.

“There is something in this project that also has a similarity to the people in the Grenadines because nowhere in the development of this … project that will reach into the amount of billions of dollars … do you get a sense or has it been indicated to you, Fitz Hughes, you Richmond, you Chateau, you Peto,  you Spring Village, you the surroundings that as a consequence of things coming from your community, a portion of money will be put aside specifically, directly, expressly for you the people.”

He said that the revenue that the quarry generated will all end up in the Consolidated Fund.

“They would send it to Kingstown, one big pot and you don’t even have a guarantee that as a consequence, you who live ya will be a beneficiary of something that came from ya.”

He said this could not be right.

“… you understand now why in the general election that went, come hell or high water, Patel wasn’t to be allowed to win this seat,” Leacock said, referring to the NDP Roland “Patel” Matthews, who lost the North Leeward seat by a single vote after two five-year terms.

“Because if he only won this seat, and the NDP went back into government, … this thing will not come off. So they had to do everything, all, in their powers to keep Pato out of this constituency.”

Leacock said “a very serious plot” was unfolding in North Leeward.

4 replies on “MP questions quarry lease when gov’t needs millions in stone for harbour”

  1. Leacock, Stop bull shitting! Your constituency development plan will still have people coming to you and the NDP cap in hand for anything the communities want. That’s Ralph trump-card. The system must be open and more transparent. Look how NDP and ULP supporters got together in Layou and kick out the jetty. Leacock the NDP’s proposal of a constituency development is your problem and the NDP problem. You will lose again unless and until you talk to the people and find out what hurts.
    Why not make the system more independent so the people can and will tell you what they want and then you give them the money. Ralph used the same constituency development scheme to build various things in his constituencies and on the Windward side of the island.
    The road that was supposed to be built in the entire island only got to Straker’s constituency. The Leeward highway is ridiculous. Why are you down on the Leeward side now? Had you encouraged the village and town councils system, the people would have done what you are trying to do now? They would have probably come to you for some help and advice. The train has left the station and you are late.
    Don’t even mention Patel: He is a loser! He opined some time ago about building resources for tourism in his constituency. He never handled agriculture in any fashion to help the same farmers who lost their crops and the lands they utilized. I encouraged him several times to get involved with farmers in the entire island because Caesar did nothing and is now trying to brain wash farmers and traffickers. Where was he for the last fifteen year when they needed him?
    This is where I believe the NDP can utilize NATURE to plan with the farmers, and traffickers to produce the best crops in SVG. Some years ago people from all the islands living in Canada loved Vincy products. They would wait until Thursday when Eddie got his shipment from SVG. I am sure they would welcome food stuff from SVG again because what’s in the stores these days are crap.
    I hope IWN will visit St. Lucia to learn if the ONE VOTE man is telling the truth. I am sure he can then air his interview so the people can learn the truth. I follow you interviews and was very impressed with the Layou sessions. I am yet to hear from anyone about my plan to help with equipment to clean the beach.
    [Someone] built a structure close to the beach that he used to house his fishing gears. I don’t think he’s involved with fishing, so he can release the place so that the equipment can be stored there. I saw people removing sand from the beach during an interview. I am not sure if you were the interviewer or someone else. But that issue must be addressed because the town clerk has done nothing for years. The previous clerk would split the bags if she caught any one removing sand.
    You can always check out all that I am reporting on your platform. If you mention where you got the information from you’d be flooded with news good and bad about me. So don’t try it!

  2. You couldn’t put it clearer. All of a sudden Pato lose by one vote. Huh? The other day Kenton made a video with Ralph and Julian bout the quarry. James who was also present didn”t utter a single word except maybe a one liner to the wurl bass. The day the farmers and villagers found out bout this quarry is went they woke up to bulldozers on their lands. Then gov”t claim people were sqwatting on the land but the PM is going to compensate even the marihuana farmers and relocate everybody. Then they want to build a jetty when there are already two there, one was never finished. If the same people winning election every time what is the point of holding elections. Ralph say he build two long overdue mini clinics in the Grenadines I wonder what wicked sceme he have planned to dupe the natives again. I bet at the end of it the Grenadines would all be privately owned and our people treated like shit in we own country. Look at how they treated the workers down Otley hall. Grown men were bowling for their christmas pay. Workers at buccament recieved a pittance years later for their labour. And yet ulp win. Hun?

  3. dumpling n saltfish says:

    The really inetersting part is when the good man say the same stones will possibly be sold back to us to build the Seaport and I dare add the construction will probably take thirty years to complete, and the main contractors will be the Cubans and or Venezuelans same thing as the airport construction and hospital construction out country; the failed geothermal power plant. then we will be tied up in contacts only he can resolve, not to mention the backlogs at the treasury which will never be resolved. When he finally leave office he will be an oligarch.

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