Press Statement by Dr Ernest Hilaire on The Desert Star Holdings (Dsh) Project

Press Statement by Dr Ernest Hilaire on The Desert Star Holdings (Dsh) Project

The Saint Lucia Labour Party notes with deep interest the signing of a Master Agreement between Desert Star Holdings (DSH) and the Government of Saint Lucia signalling CIP-approval status, DCA approval and the right to start implementation of a major project in Vieux Fort South. It is interesting that the former SLP Government was in negotiations with the developer over a period of at least eighteen months and within less than two months of being elected to office, the Allen Chastanet led Government has signed on the dotted line and agreed to proceed with the project. We note that the project has been signed with absolutely no dialogue by the current Government with the community of Vieux Fort.

The Labour Party believes that the project, if it materialises, has the potential to contribute significantly to the development of the southern part of the island, diversify the island’s investment portfolio and in particular, help to reduce unemployment in the island. For the promised benefits to materialise, the project will have to be designed and implemented with considerable sensitivity as it could cause major disruption and dislocation in the lives of citizens in the south of the island.

The SLP Party points out that whilst it had agreed on most of the fundamental points of the agreement with the Developer, DSH, there were some critical elements which required national consultation and even parliamentary debate and approval.

As a Government, the Party has always maintained that as long as government, particularly Ministers and indeed the Minister responsible for Citizenship by Investment allow the staff of the CIP Unit to operate independently, the program could, yield benefits to Saint Lucia.

Before demitting office, the Labour Party Government approved four projects under the CIP Programme:

1. Bay Gardens Residences in Rodney Bay;

2. Belevedere Estate in Belvedere, Canaries;

3. Sunset Bay in Choiseul; and

4. Range Developments in Black Bay, Laborie.

All four were reviewed by the CIP Unit and Invest Saint Lucia to ensure that all requirements, including due diligence of the potential investors, were met. All four projects also received “approval in principle” by the DCA. Following these approvals, the CIP Unit recommended the projects to the Minister for Citizenship by Investment for onward transmission to Cabinet for its approval.

Accordingly, the Saint Lucia Labour Party wishes to seek clarification on the following:

1. The press release speaks to the Desert Star project being the first and only integrated resort development project in Saint Lucia. Does that mean that the Allen Chastanet Government agreed that there cannot be any approval given to a local or foreign investor for another integrated resort development? If so, can the Prime Minister clarify what was agreed upon as an integrated resort development? Were any exclusive rights given to DSH for the operation of a casino, horse racing facility, betting facilities or citizenship by investments? If so, how would these concessions, if granted, impact other investors who may wish to invest in Saint Lucia presently and in the future?

2. The Prime Minister announced that horse racing aspect will become a qualifying investment. The Saint Lucia Labour Party must ask why this is necessary if the horse racing facility and casino are parts of a hotel development project which currently qualifies as an investment under the CIP. Further does that mean that any investor interested in horse racing can apply under the CIP or is this exclusive for DSH?

3. The Saint Lucia Labour Party wishes to enquire whether the Saint Lucia National Trust provided its support for the project as submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers. It recalls that there were extensive environmental issues with the project, especially with the use of the Mankote′ Swamp. The SLP had involved the National Trust in the preliminary discussions but wishes to enquire whether they were consulted before the final agreement was signed.

4. The Saint Lucia Labour Party notes the procedures for CIP-approval status to be given and wishes to know whether the CIP Unit received an application from the developers or CIP approval in accordance with the Act and its Regulations? More specifically, the Saint Lucia Labour Party wishes to know whether the CIP Unit approved and made a recommendation for the project to be approved.

5. The Saint Lucia Labour Party also notes that for a project to receive CIP-approved status it must be granted DCA ‘approval in principle’. Did the DCA provide such approval? This is critical because once a project is CIP-approved, the developer can commence selling investments which is a right to citizenship but if there is no DCA approval the project cannot commence. Further, if it is never approved what happens to the investments which applicants would have made? Therefore, has the DSH being given approval to commence marketing and selling citizenship through investment BEFORE it has DCA and CIP approval?

6. The Government statement suggests that CIP applications for Desert Star will be accelerated. The Labour Party does not think that any particular investor should be ‘pre-approved’ or receive preferential treatment as this undermines the CIP. All applications regardless of the source must follow the prescribed due diligence process to maintain the integrity of the CIP.

7. The Prime Minister also announced that the limit for citizenships to be granted through investment will be increased from the present limit of 500 applications as prescribed by

Legislation. The Saint Lucia Labour Party wishes to inform the Prime Minister that he cannot on his own increase the limit. Only the Parliament of Saint Lucia can do so. Therefore, has DSH been guaranteed an annual number of citizenships through investment which is more than 500? If so, did the Prime Minister promise DSH that he would seek parliamentary approval? If so, what is the number of applications for citizenship that the Government agreed to prescribe for DSH?

8. The Prime Minister’s statement refers to the project as a US$2.6 bn project. The Labour Party seeks clarification as to whether this is the development cost or is this development cost plus DSH’s profit? It is significant as the figure determines the citizenship allocation for the developer. Assuming the development cost is only US$1b but profit is US$1.6bn, it means that Saint Lucia has to provide citizenships for development cost plus US$1.6bn to meet profit. It is for this reason that each project must be reviewed by Invest Saint Lucia and the CIP Unit before a recommendation can be made to the Minister for submission to Cabinet for approval. Can the Government clarify whether the lands and mangrove will sold or leased to the developer and if so, at what rate? And if not, will Government be transferring the lands and mangrove free to the developer?

9. The Saint Lucia Labour Party also wishes to enquire as to what sovereign guarantees or undertakings to make repayments were given to DSH in the event that the project is not successful? If the project does not commence or all phases are not completed, what is provided for the return of the lands and mangrove to the people of Saint Lucia?

10. Finally, the Saint Lucia Labour Party wishes the Government to clarify whether it has, as is required under the CIP regulations, completed or has in hand the due diligence reports. No project, regardless of size, scale or potential should be approved without sufficient due diligence. Previously, the Prime Minister was very critical of the CIP calling for transparency and voicing concerns with due diligence process. This is an ideal opportunity for the Prime Minister to assure the nation that the CIP due diligence process was completed and is to satisfaction.

Finally, I wish to repeat that the Saint Lucia Labour Party commenced negotiations for this investment project and is fully supportive of its completion and of all the projects which were negotiated during the Labour Party period in Government. However, we need to be satisfied that the Government did not act with undue haste and has protected and preserve the best interests of the people of Saint Lucia.

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27 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    August 3, 2016 at 1:11 pm Reply

    What Pierre did not have a press release.

  2. Anonymous
    August 3, 2016 at 1:42 pm Reply

    more rubbish.. looking for credit. go and find something to do

    1. vic
      August 3, 2016 at 2:01 pm Reply

      Anonymous please write somthing sensible. Maybe u dont understand the statement.

      1. Anonymous
        August 3, 2016 at 2:43 pm Reply

        That’s the whole point. Cry wolf. No one takes you on. If you so retarded to read between the lines. I will exponent for your limited capacity, WHY IS HE LAIRED respond instead of Pierre. Does that mean Pierre is insignificant and he will be gotten rid of.

        1. Sad-But-True
          August 3, 2016 at 3:10 pm Reply

          Lol..So typical for UWP’s behaving like a complete jungle Ape and flipping when called out of their Inferior Apish Intellect. Rotflmao.

          1. Anonymous
            August 3, 2016 at 3:50 pm

            You have not answered the question I broke down for your limited intellect. For you edification, I am not UWP. Do you think you may rise to have a proper discourse. Help yourself.

          2. Anonymous
            August 3, 2016 at 9:31 pm

            @Anonymous… are u aware tht Hilaire is the shadow minister for Investment? Also, was he not the former Chairman for CIP? (if you wanna prove me wrong on dis check HTS News on youtube… tonight’s news(3/8/16)) Hence he was the representative from the SLP to speak on the issue… so why do you think Musa was present as well? He is the shadow minister for Agriculture… don’t forget he was the former minister of Agriculture as well… hence he spoke on the Environmental Impact issue… likewise asked. Further, if u can recall the NEW Leader of the Opposition PJP mentioned all the shadow ministers a few weeks ago… soooooo stop being a SMART A>>… either u ask a question n wait for a response or inform yourself 1st then ask a sensible question… plllllllllllllllz!!! SMH

        2. Anonymous
          August 4, 2016 at 10:34 am Reply

          ha ha …. good point anonymous

  3. Sad-But-True
    August 3, 2016 at 1:56 pm Reply

    You two UWP goons who posted above obviously have no clue or understanding of what Dr. Hilaire has stated. Lol..It’s so cute to see you try to ‘talk.” Lol. The Inferior Intellect of the UWP. Lol

  4. Anonymous
    August 3, 2016 at 3:09 pm Reply

    Excellent job Ernest! Ask the questions that we the people need the answers to.

    1. Anonymous
      August 4, 2016 at 10:36 am Reply

      Shouldn’t you guys have asked these questions 2 years ago.. ..or were y’all left in the dark again by Camp Liars ?? were y’all even aware such a project existed ????
      People open y’all eyes and stop seeing RED …. it’s a new day !!!

  5. ay yay yay!
    August 3, 2016 at 3:24 pm Reply

    Why do the UWP hacks keeps shouting the same nonsensical crap? Do they have no reading comprehension to give a more formidable rebuttal as opposed to just throwing mud at the SLP? I myself am very concerned than this new PM rushed into such a major project. Is it because it is a multi-billion dollar project? And who will actually benefit from it? It’s so sickening to see these thieves in government get right down to stealing from the country.

  6. Anonymous
    August 3, 2016 at 4:35 pm Reply

    UWP hacks have a three point response to any issue , just like their triangle shaped brains
    1. Kenny did it too!!! But … But Kenny
    2. How come you didn’t talk before …cus.. cus Rochamel and Grynberg (just ask them to explain, none can put a coherent sentence together)
    3. Yo pe

  7. francine
    August 3, 2016 at 4:45 pm Reply

    Hear who’s talking? Mr. Closed closet. Get the hell out hillaire.

  8. Fesel
    August 3, 2016 at 5:05 pm Reply

    Chas is Minister of find ants so 4ME KI POTA NU VEL Mr. PM Chas just doh kill d ants when they letting us lucians know d truth hey u may have to sell ur businesses in SLU 2b at peace with ur self or leave SLU.

  9. dd
    August 3, 2016 at 5:33 pm Reply

    The reason why Dr Hilaire is responding to the government is because each of the SLP Ministers were given port folios and investments comes under Dr Hilaire port folio

    Timely information

  10. Anonymous
    August 3, 2016 at 8:20 pm Reply

    Paragraph 5 says that SLP approved 4 projects- were we told about that? and now they want to inform the people of St. Lucia cause they are so invested in our interest that our current government is moving forward with a project that SLP approved and were willing to move forward with (last paragraph) these men need to shut up and let the country run. Thank you for the info on yet another few projects the SLP approved without due diligence, and now are asking for it now. Some people need to take their slap and sit down.

    1. ja
      August 4, 2016 at 7:23 am Reply

      You need to read again. At no time did Mr. Hilaire ever say that the project was approved by the Labour government. He stated that they were the ones who started the negotiations but at no time did he say that they approved it. They support it. The two are not the same

  11. London
    August 4, 2016 at 3:45 am Reply

    When will a bunch of ignorant people like you Moses Jean Baptiste, Earnest Hilaire stop holding St Lucia back. What has Kenny done for St Lucia in 15 years?
    Our people need work to feed their kids, Put clothes on their back and a roof over their head.
    You’ve all come into office and filled your pockets but what have you done for our people?
    Allen Chasnet you came into office saw an opportunity for all of St. Lucia in the DSH deal and grabbed it.
    We in London are all behind you so keep doing what you’re doing.
    St Lucia needs investments and our people need a betted life.
    Their life should not be a begging bowl.
    They deserve better from the men they have put their trust in so Kenny you’ve had your time and your chance.
    Back off and let Allen Chasnet show you how it’s done.
    We want a PM to be proud of and we’ve not had one since John Campton.

    1. Sad-But-True
      August 4, 2016 at 6:43 am Reply

      Smh..Dude, you are the reason why the UK made an exit out of Europe so they can have their Sovereign Power Back and kick idiots like you out of their country who adds NO Value or bring NOTHING to the Table other begging for Council housing. You have NO CLUE what due diligence is all about, and that the government needs to ensure that the People are NOT Exploited, the Women are Protected etc. And also, that the LAWS of the Land are adhered to at all cost. So where do you Apes come off being all retarded in foreign lands talking a whole heap of rubbish. You hardly did any formal schooling, because it shows in your poor spelling abilities. You can’t even spell the name of Sir John correctly. You ignorant and illiterate Buffoon.

  12. Sad-But-True
    August 4, 2016 at 6:44 am Reply

    exit out of the European Union.

  13. Sad-But-True
    August 4, 2016 at 6:50 am Reply

    @ London, Smh..Dude, you are the reason why the UK made an exit out of the Europe Union so they can have their Sovereignty Back TO kick idiots like you out of their country who adds NO Value or bring NOTHING to the Table other than living off TAX-PAYERS AND BEGGING FOR COUNCIL HOUSING. You have NO CLUE what due diligence is all about, and that the government needs to ensure that the People are NOT Exploited and the Women are Protected in such Investments. But also, the LAWS of the Land are adhered to at all cost. So where do you Apes come off being all retarded in foreign lands talking a whole heap of rubbish. You hardly did any formal schooling, because it shows in your poor spelling abilities. You can’t even spell the name of Sir John correctly. You ignorant and illiterate Buffoon.

  14. Anonymous
    August 4, 2016 at 10:44 am Reply

    Your name suits you —sad but true…is that what labour party taught you…to kick your fellow st Lucian brother down …it’s sad but true about you red party hacks…you are no better than kda …. and he succeeded perfectly in dividing you ignorant St. Lucians against your own selves…RIP sad ..you and Kenny and pip should take a back seat

    1. Sad-But-True
      August 4, 2016 at 11:21 am Reply

      But you have NO problem allowing a white man lie his A## off to you to get elected. You have NO problem sitting by and allowing him shower all his Cabinet Ministers their ‘5 to Stay Alive Kits,’ while you are still penniless and hungry. If by now you haven’t realized that the ‘5 to stay Alive, kit,’ had nothing to do about you, then I don’t know what will it take. But hey, Keep on Dreaming.

      1. Anonymous
        August 4, 2016 at 2:50 pm Reply

        What colour was Kenny Ape

  15. Anonymous
    August 4, 2016 at 11:40 am Reply

    Sad-but-true. What hurting the SLP is that the White man Allen told a better lie than the half breed kenny…haha. Now put that to rest and go lick those old rotten wounds. It catching flies.

  16. Anonymous
    August 4, 2016 at 2:27 pm Reply

    Hilaire Volaire u have ZERO SHAME. You sell St lucia under CIP because u wanted another quick way of making money for yourself since you had benefited handsomely from the now deceased gentleman. you now rush to say nonsense. Your ambitions have always been beyond your station and out of reach based on your character. Your lack of integrity and honesty is now as clear as day. Time to take a backseat. The electorate does not want to hear from Mr. Sticky Fingers

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