Minister for Economic Development, Housing, Urban Renewal, Transport and Civil Aviation, Guy Joseph, has declared that the government has taken a calculated risk in respect of the controversial $ US 2.6 billion Desert Star Holdings Limited (DHS) project.
Joseph was addressing a presentation ceremony today for the ‘Pearl of the Caribbean’ project at the Sandals Grande Saint Lucian Spa and Beach resort.
He told his audience that every investor knows that projects contain a certain element of risk.
“Usually the higher the risk the greater the returns,” the minister said.
In respect of the DSH initiative, Joseph acknowledged that the current administration is taking a risk.
But he declared that it was not a careless risk.
“It is a calculated risk because anything can happen that will not cause a project to go through,” he stated.
The Castries South East MP made reference to the 2008 global financial crisis, recalling that a number of projects which were actually in the pipeline did not materialise.
According to Joseph, this did not mean that initiatives should not be pursued because of the risk involved.
He spoke of the need to investigate the background of an investor.
Joseph explained, to applause from his audience, that DSH Chairman, Teo Ah Khing, has a reputation for success in all the projects that he has undertaken.
“I have the confidence that this project is going to materialize,” the minister asserted.
“If one tenth of what I am seeing is going to materialise the Saint Lucia will be a better place.”
The minister said he believes that the ‘Pearl of the Caribbean’ project is one of the boldest moves that any government can take in any country in this region or any part of the world at this point in time.
“The reality is that in this world of competition, countries must be willing to make bold moves and take bold initiatives if you are going to differentiate yourself from the rest of the competitors,” Joseph said.
He said that the project is challenging to some people because they are unaccustomed to that scale of development in small Islands.
“But should we not dream big? Should we not aspire to be the best? We know that Saint Lucia is the Helen of the West and I believe that this project – Pearl of the Caribbean, is going to truly differentiate Saint Lucia from the rest of its neighbours,” the minister declared to more applause.
He recalled that Vieux Fort has long been dubbed: ‘The new frontier for development’.
“Many have come and gone, promising to deliver for the south of the Island,” Joseph stated, adding that perhaps Vieux Fort is one of the best preserved areas for development here.
Bit he said what has been witnessed is ‘lip service’ over the years.
Joseph said he can well understand why some people are skeptical, fearful, unsure and wondering whether the DSH project is really going to happen.
“We cannot blame people when for so many years promises were made and nothing was delivered,” the minister declared.