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PM Pierre and Frederick debate on government printing building

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Saint Lucia: Philip J Pierre, the Prime Minister of the island nation of Saint Lucia and Richard Frederick, the minister of Housing and Local Government, started a debate on the future of the Government Printing Office building in their recent statements. The debates started during a series of public appearances and press conferences by both that brought attention to different views on the fate of the ageing structure.

Minister Frederick started the debate on Monday and at the regular pre-cabinet press conference, where he shared his views on his concern about the physical damage to the printing press. while keeping the engineering challenges in mind, minister Frederick highlighted the difficulties of preserving the property and hinted at the possibility of demolition. He also mentioned about his fear of unrestrained sales practices and the general situation in the capital.

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Later, while on a tour of the city with Prime Minister Pierre, Minister Frederick again raised his concerns, which took the discussions further about the future of the printing press and the wider urban landscape.

In response to the comments of Frederick, Prime Minister Pierre addressed the matter on Tuesday and in a meeting of the House of Representatives. Putting his views against the claims made by the minister about the immediate demolition of the place, he talked about the need for a technical assessment before making any final decision. He highlighted his commitment to transparency and promised to share the results of the evaluation with the public.

In a debate with journalists, Pierre questioned the characterisation of the building and its fate by Minister Frederick, arguing that only a chartered engineer could determine the viability of the structure. Pierre dismissed Frederick’s claims as premature and mentioned the importance of relying on professional expertise to assess the building and its condition and formulate appropriate procedures.

On the subject of demolition plans, Pierre talked about the intentions of the government to seek guidance from qualified engineers. He talked about the importance of evidence-based decision-making and emphasised the role of peer review in policy decision-making.

The clash between the prime minister and the minister for housing and municipalities highlights a wider debate about urban development and infrastructure maintenance. The fate of the printing house raises questions not only about its structural integrity but also about the town planning and administration of Castries more broadly.

While discussions about the printing press continue, stakeholders and citizens alike await the results of the next planning review. The results of this assessment should inform future actions related to the building and contribute to the wider debate on urban development and infrastructure management.

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The people are also sharing their opinions in relation to the matter while saying, “Now let us not take that and build a narrative which tends to imaginary conspiracies. There is nothing here but perhaps a minor misspeak by a Minister followed by a correction by the PM. And that is good within a democratic environment, much unlike the flicker of an index finger to a sitting Minister indicating a stop to a media interview prior to a Parliamentary session. Remember that incident? PM Pierre IS the PRIME amongst his ministers and is absolutely correct in handling his response. It will be instructive to see what the detractors make of it all.”

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