Senator Julian Francis has expressed apologies to the residents of the Chateabelair area in the wake of disquiet over the establishment of a quarry at Richmond which has gained national attention.
Speaking on radio station Boom 106.9, the minister, who had held the responsibility for Transport and Works when the project was negotiated with a St. Lucian registered company owned by Raveneau Gajadhar, admitted that “in the later stages of the quarry project (the Ministry) did not have sufficient consultation with the people and the farmers surrounding the quarry”.
That ministerial responsibility is now held by Deputy Prime Minister Montgomery Daniel, while Francis has been switched to Urban Development.
But, while the former Transport and Works minister expressed his apologies, he stated that there was “no one within 2,000 meters of the quarry” project except for the long established Richmond Vale Academy. He therefore emphasised that that “all three hundred (300) acres in the area is government owned.”
Addressing the contentious issue of an environmental impact assessment (EIA), Francis said that this had been presented to the Physical Planning authority which had given the approval for the operations to move on.
There has been much public discussion across St. Vincent and the Grenadines in recent weeks about the decision to begin quarry operations at Richmond in the North-Western section of the island of St. Vincent by the St. Lucia registered company.
The Minister however declared: “I am happy with it, I am most happy with it.”