DSH Chairman, Teo Ah Khing, spoke of the benefits of reclaiming land near the Maria Islands.
Prime Minister Hon. Allen M. Chastanet called for Saint Lucians to be “bold and courageous” in the face of new opportunities, during a briefing on the Pearl of the Caribbean Project last Thursday.
The briefing was held to provide updates on the project by Desert Star Holdings (DSH) Limited, and to unveil the proposed second phase of the project.
“There are always going to be the naysayers who only criticize but never ask about the people who are suffering. What does it mean to be unemployed in this country and also to be poor? Shouldn’t that be the priority of what we are trying to do? I am asking the people of Saint Lucia to come out and support this initiative. You may not like every detail of it, but we are putting a plan on the table [to enable us] to move this country forward.”
The briefing addressed business persons, government officials and representatives from various town councils in the south.
“It is the intention of my government, with what Mr. Teo Ah Khing and his team have done, to now drive the south. We were elected under the theme of building a new Saint Lucia, and it is the intention of this government to fulfill that mandate. Very clearly specified in our manifesto was the importance of the south.”
“Singularly the most important aspect of success is implementation,” he went on. “Today we are here to announce that we intend to have full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies. We intend to allow the public to determine what they like and what they don’t like; and we intend to get feedback from the citizens of the south, to make sure that the plans that we have and the scale that we have is compatible with the capacity of Saint Lucia to be able to grow.
“Once we are satisfied that we have done those things we must make the decision to implement. I will appoint a taskforce specifically for this project with various departments to ensure that we do the necessary work and that we are ready to implement this project as soon as all the work has been completed.
“Saint Lucia, it is time for us take control of our own destiny. Let us stop living in mediocrity. Let us develop our assets for all the citizens in the south and for Saint Lucia. The time for change is now,” the Prime Minister said.
DSH Chairman, Teo Ah Khing, also spoke to the audience about the potential benefits of reclaiming land near the Maria Islands.
“We are going to do three things in relation to the islands,” Teo Ah Khing noted. “We are going to do detailed research on all the existing wild life and marine life on this island and continue to preserve and enhance. Secondly, we are going to allow local tourists to be able to experience the very rare natural features right out there in the ocean and allow it to be a tourist attraction added onto the already interesting attractions in Saint Lucia. Thirdly, with the creation of this 150 to 200 acres of new land, certain portions will be returned to the people of Saint Lucia. This is not just about the public parks or ocean parks that the visitors are going to enjoy; this is to allow us to put ourselves on the world map for the international research of wildlife.”
Mr. Khing pointed to a drawing: “You notice there are two islands, the Maria Islands. They are completely preserved with isolation and preservation.”
Hon. Guy Joseph, Minister for Economic Development, Housing, Urban Renewal, Transport and Civil Aviation, and Hon. Dominic Fedee, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Tourism, Information and Broadcasting, also addressed the audience.
The briefing was held at the Sandals Grande St. Lucian Beach Resort and Spa.