Government teams up with Invest Saint Lucia to address issues and concerns related to the Pearl of the Caribbean project.
The Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture met with Invest Saint Lucia (ISL) earlier this week, to host an information session for its members on the USD $2.6 billion investment—Desert Star Holdings (DSH) Pearl of the Caribbean development.
Brian Louisy, Executive Director of the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce stressed the importance of keeping Saint Lucians informed.
“Prime Minister I am thanking you and Invest Saint Lucia. What remains in our minds is, firstly, how does the business community get engaged and form part of this opportunity? And secondly, what are the plans and how do we as Saint Lucians remain involved in the dialogue? This is just the start of the process and the only way we can truly understand and be part of it, is if we know what is going on.”
Prime Minister Hon. Allen M. Chastanet informed the Chamber members of the genesis of the Pearl of the Caribbean project by the Hong Kong-based DSH. He added that having done his own due diligence he was satisfied that the principal investor, Teo Ah Khing, had the vision and capacity to undertake the project.
He also explained that the biggest impediment facing the government is the country’s debt. The DSH investment, he said, has the potential to improve the country’s economic outlook.
“My government believes that to solve our problems we have to grow the economy; that $1 billlon worth of expenditure and USD$1 billion of GDP is not sufficient to be able to carry the expenses that we have and to generate the basic human rights needs that all our citizens deserve.
“The project has different phases. Phase one of the project is the horse racing track. He [Teo Ah Khing] is actually revered as one of the best architects in Asia, and most importantly, one of the most sensitive ‘green’ architects in Asia. So he is not coming down here to destroy anything,” Mr. Chastanet said. “In fact, we are the ones who have been destroying the mangroves. We have had the garbage dam for over fifteen years seeping into the mangroves, that’s been killing the front of the mangroves.”
The second phase of the USD $2.6 billion DSH project will be launched in April. The entire project involves the construction of a race course, a free trade zone, a shopping mall complex, a marina and other facilities, covering just under 600 acres of land in the town of Vieux Fort.
The session was held on Feb. 15.