The $US 2.6 billion Desert Star Holdings Limited( DSH) project for Saint Lucia is pressing ahead, with a supplementary agreement that will not affect the Ma Kôté Mangrove in Vieux Fort.
Bradley Felix,Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Commerce, Industry, Investment, Enterprise Development and Consumer Affairs made the disclosure yesterday.
Felix explained that after extensive discussion with the investors, the supplementary agreement was reached which will not include the mangrove.
Environmentalists, while acknowledging the economic value of the mega project dubbed ‘ the Pearl of the Caribbean’ had expressed concern about the impact on the mangrove.
Felix also addressed concerns about the project affecting existing facilities in Vieux Fort, explaining that the landfill will be relocated while the investors will build a new abattoir.
The government signed an agreement with the Hong Hong registered Desert Star Holdings in July this year for the project.
The agreement covered the construction of a race course, a free trade zone, a shopping mall complex, marina and other facilities on 700 acres of land in the South of Saint Lucia.
“Right now they have agreed to go ahead with the first phase which is the establishment of the race track – we should be doing a ground breaking towards the end of this month,” the Minister disclosed.
“The next part is the relocating of the dump.”
Felix explained that the relocation of the landfill has been on the cards for a while, since the facility is at a strategic location and is polluting the mangrove as a result of seepage.
“When the dump is closed nothing will happen there for over a year to ensure some settlement,” he stated.
Felix said the government was very excited about the DSH project.
He noted that it will lead to a lot more activity in the South of the Island plus create jobs and investment.