Today I visited the village of Dennery in St . Lucia to see how the community had grown from the injection of EC$12M from the European Union in 2012. The Mabouya Valley Development Program was the signature project destined to change the life in the community and set it on course to be a tourism destination. The five tourism facilities/areas selected for upgrade and support include, Madele Layby and La Pointe Visitor Shop Centre; Dennery Sea Food Fiesta; Sankofa Rainbow Roots Farm; Agro Sports Ground; Dennery Highway Tree Planting Programme; High Street Plant and Paint Project; Maroon Trail; and Fond d’Or Heritage Park.
However 12 years later the town of Dennery is no closer to achieving this dream.
Standing on the waterfront under the crumbling keiosk, next to a rotting beach chair and discarded bottles of Bounty rum, this was as far from a tourist site as you can get. There are no visitor facilities, no interpretation centers, no remnants of all that money . The fishing village seemed centered around the fish market and life was back to normal. What happened to all the plans, to all that money?
2008 Star Newspaper Press Article extract.
“We want to be distinct and we want to give a variety to the product,” he said, adding, “it is a brand that we will be perfecting, fine tuning over time, so that we will always be ahead of other communities because we know they will also be emulating what we have done here.”
James explained how difficult it has been for the two areas, Dennery and Mabouya Valley, to get things done in the past; stating the DMVDF is an umbrella organization housing 11 organizations—five of which are from Dennery and 6 from Mabouya Valley. “From the time this project started in 2008, you have persons from both communities attending a number of meetings, interacting, sharing ideas and I’m telling you the future looks bright for these two communities.”
Jeannine Blanchard, officer in the National Authorizing Office of the EU said the office has been involved in this project from its conception. She added, “In February 2008, under the special framework of assistance 2007, the financial agreement of improving the competitiveness of the rural economy was signed in an amount of over 4 Million Euros.” Blanchard stated this funding was earmarked for the two communities were suffering from poor returns and challenges faced in the banana industry.