Benefits, risks of DSH project outlined

The Government of Saint Lucia in collaboration with Invest Saint Lucia (ISL), last week hosted a community meeting in Vieux Fort.
The exercise is part of an ongoing drive by the government to engage the community on the Desert Star Holdings’ Pearl of the Caribbean development earmarked for Vieux Fort.

Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Commerce, Industry, Investment, Enterprise Development and Consumer Affairs, Hon. Bradley Felix, told the public that the agreement with Desert Star Holdings was ongoing.

“There were concerns after going through the details. We did a walk through at the mangrove site and we had some concerns as the mangroves were too much of a delicate area for the community of Vieux Fort and vital to our eco-system. We also recognized the reef was also going to be affected and so we decided to renegotiate. We looked at alternative sites and went into another framework agreement. As a Cabinet of Ministers it is not a situation where the Prime Minister says something and everyone agrees. There is extreme debate. There is extreme consultation,” he said.

CEO of Invest Saint Lucia McHale Andrew said Saint Lucia was a country at a crossroads.

“We are struggling economically. Our development and that of most other countries in the Caribbean were based on three things. One, generous inflows of aid from developed countries; two, access to concessional funding and aid for most of the capital projects that we would have undertaken; and third, preferential access to developed country markets for our exports. What that resulted in was that we were able to attract investors trying to avail themselves of the opportunity to sell in those developed country markets without competition.”

The CEO reminded the members of the community of the many factories which used to employ persons in the community in the past.

“Very few of those factories are still alive today and we now have to earn our way to prosperity,” he noted.

The development is expected to be carried out in 25 phases over a period of 20 to 25 years. The only part of the project that is nearing approval is the racetrack at Beausejour, pending an Environmental Impact Assessment.

Phase One will include a grandstand, race track, polo field, equestrian lawn, receiving barn, equine clinic and quarantine barn, infield park, fractional ownership homestead villas, domestic barns, international barns and the race course boulevard.

The Invest Saint Lucia team listed the benefits of the project and the associated risks.

Among the benefits are stimulation of the economy; employment generation across various sectors; improvement in the overall standard of living; a training component on the proper care of equine facilities and equine veterinary health; the expansion of new and existing channels of trade; the generation of supplementary businesses; beautification of the existing landscape; job opportunities; productive use of underutilized lands; creation of construction and construction related services; and a boost in the agricultural sector.

Some of the associated risks noted were environmental, and will be determined by an EIA, and pressure on infrastructural utilities.

The community meeting was held at the Vieux Fort Primary School last Wednesday. The government will meet next week with the business community and Vieux Fort youth.

10 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    February 7, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Is Vieux-Fort a country in itself? are only people from that part of the island going to be affected by the project? Then why are meetings and consultations only being held there. it takes less than two hours to travel between two points in this country. these politicians and their advisers must stop using divide and rule tactics. i watched clippings on the news from the meeting and was appalled to hear from MR. Andrew that what was in the deal could not be discussed because of the no disclosure clause, so,WHY HAVE THE CONSULTATIVE MEETING? i am personally for the development of our country but I thinks that there are too many unanswered questions and the leaders of this country are not forthcoming with information

    1. xoxo
      February 7, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      amen!

    2. Anonymous
      February 8, 2017 at 5:35 am

      What questions do you have about the deal? If I may ask

  2. Anonymous
    February 7, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Stale news, I was there, Invest St.Lucia did nothing to sway my opnion and that of many others who were present, that this is a very bad deal. In any event the people of Vieux-Fort have already made up their minds about this. Why come to us, do you think that we are fools and can be swayed. Please take that nonsense deal to the rest of St.Lucia who do not live in Vieux Fort and see how quickly they will reject it back in your faces.

    1. Anonymous
      February 7, 2017 at 4:58 pm

      You are speaking for yourself. People like you who were at the meeting never listened to what was said. What is the bad deal in the framework or supplementary agreement? Of course you all have made up you all minds and nothing can change it. However, the majority of Vfortians both north and south are for the project and that’s a fact.

    2. Anonymous
      February 8, 2017 at 5:36 am

      I don’t really get why some people think this is such a bad deal. I’m not disagreeing but all I’m hearing is this is a bad deal, and no one is saying why it is such a bad deal. Enlighten those of us who don’t get what makes this such a bad deal please

  3. Anonymous
    February 7, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    The project is not as bad as the naysayers are making it look. A lot of these folks are just pushing a political agenda. I agree there needs to be some reviewing and refining of the deal, but to come out and try to block this much needed development in the south is not only insane, but also cruel! Last time I visited, I must admit Vieux Fort has changed, but unfortunately not for the better, but for the worst. The entire south is dead! Dead! Dead!

  4. greta
    February 7, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    Julius James has derailed all objectivity involved in this process..

  5. Anonymous
    February 7, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    If the project must be executed, then let’s get on with it. Why is it taking son long to become a reality? It remained quite some time with the last Government, and now this Government is telling us there is still some way to go before we can seen some action. Just get on with it and face the consequences. Don’t let that project be another “St. Jude” project, with the people of the Southern region waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting…………….Nuf said.

  6. John
    February 8, 2017 at 2:08 am

    THIS IS JUST A SHORT LIST
    OH ! WE ARE BROKE
    WHERE HAS THE VAT MONEY..THE STICKER MONEY,, LOTTERY ..ALL OF THE ABOVE..WE SPEND HOW MUCH MONEY ON RENTAL PROPERTYS>>MONEY GOING T|O WHO?
    DHS DEAL
    We get NOTHING No income tax ..tax free ..Duty Free on everything ; Land for a dollar an acre.. run and built buy the Chinese..laundering money 10,00 passports ,WHERE DO LUCIANS BENNIFT ? SANDY BEACH ..GONE We get jobs cleaning the barns, ,DUU..REMEMBER THE HOSPITAL ..BOLTH OF THEM..BLACK BAY ..PRALAY..CAS-A-BA ..THE LIST GOES ON,, Wake up people it is time to say NO.,.AND STOP THE PROSTITUTION OF OUR HOME..
    BLESS

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