The Government of Saint Lucia has said that it is pleased that His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales and Kensington Palace have accepted the invitation to be part of the Sod Turning Ceremony for the Royal St Lucia Turf Club in Vieux Fort on Friday, November 25, 2016.
The government made the statement following yesterday’s criticism of the move by the opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP).
The SLP has claimed that the Prince was “manipulated” by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet to take part in the ceremony.
The opposition said it regretted that a goodwill visit here by the Prince, which the SLP sanctioned when in office, will be marred by involvement in a project that is the subject of public concern.
The Government however, in its statement today, said that the current administration in collaboration with Desert Star Holdings Limited, notes the significant scope of the over $2.6-billion-dollar Pearl of the Caribbean project of which the Royal Turf Club is part.
The project also covers a free trade zone, a shopping mall complex, marina and other facilities on 700 acres of land in the South of Saint Lucia.
“This project will be of immense benefit to Saint Lucia in a variety of areas including providing employment for thousands of Saint Lucians especially in the south,” the government statement said.
It noted that Desert Star Holdings Limited had been in discussions with the Saint Lucia Government for over three years on the project which was finally brought to light in July 2016.
That’s when the new Government signed a framework agreement to build the island’s first and only international standard integrated development.
Construction of the initial phase of the project is set to commence in 2017.
“The Government wishes to thank Prince Henry of Wales for being part of this ceremony, considering the impact this project will have on boosting economic activity in the south of the island and Saint Lucia as a whole,” a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister observed.
The statement invited all Saint Lucians to come to the site situated on the St Jude Highway, along the George Odlum Stadium, to witness “the historic proceedings”, at 3:00 pm on Friday.