Government of St. Lucia Unveils New Plans for Pearl of the Caribbean

(By Scarlett Cole): The government of St. Lucia recently revealed that they will begin construction on the Pearl of the Caribbean. Reports suggest that the racetrack will be part of the first stage of construction in Beausejour.

The government is currently finalizing the development of the entertainment complex, and is relying on the country’s Citizenship by Investment Program for funding.

The proposed deal will see land sold to Desert Star Holdings (DSH) at approximately $90,000 per acre.

Apart from building an entertainment complex, the government also announced its plans to launch an Education Training Fund in partnership with DSH, which aims to train locals in the horse racing industry.

In January, the government released a simplified fact sheet designed to help locals understand what the Pearl of the Caribbean project entails. The fact sheet was issued so that it would eradicate any negative rumors that were being circulated in the media. It touched on issues such as whether or not 840 acres of land would be awarded to a single developer, and if the George Odlum Stadium would be completely demolished as part of the DSH agreement.

Last year, the government of St. Lucia inked an agreement to construct the first ever integrated entertainment complex in the country. The Pearl of the Caribbean is a $2.6 billion project that has been designed to attract investment and tourism from China among other leading first world countries.

According to The Times of India, the Chinese are among the biggest gamblers in the world. Figures released by Macau’s gambling inspector in 2006 showed that the former Portuguese colony posted approximately $6.87 billion in revenues, toppling Las Vegas’ gaming establishments, which only reported a combined total of $6.69 billion in the same year.

In addition to casinos, the horse racing industry is also thriving in China with The Telegraph reporting that races now attract about 1.4 million race goers each year in the region. Thus, horse racing is going from strength-to-strength in China and this is another area that the St. Lucia government is looking to capitalize on with the Pearl of the Caribbean’s proposed racetrack.

The global interest in horse racing is why you often see the influence of equine sports in land-based casinos as well as featured online too. Horse racing simulators frequent many large casinos, while games such as Fire Horse can be seen on the popular slots platform Slingo as proof that equine sports appeal goes far beyond the racetrack.

Aside from the many games created to appeal to rich gambling communities like the Chinese, casino operators all over the world are also constructing establishments that honor the Chinese culture. In December 2016, Las Vegas opened the Lucky Dragon Casino and Hotel, which is a boutique-style casino and resort designed to mimic an authentic Asian gaming and cultural experience.

On top of the aforementioned plans, DSH plans to build leisure venues, a shopping mall, and a free-trade zone on the site of the Pearl of the Caribbean. Although no actual dates have been revealed as to when the construction will commence.

9 Comments

  1. St. Lucian
    March 28, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Go for it. Opportunity lost may not be regained. The political nay sayers only griping at their lost opportunity and do not really have the interest of vieux fortians and st. lucia in general, at heart.

  2. R
    March 28, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Bring on the DSH!!

  3. Lucianman101
    March 28, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    I just hope the Maria Causeway portion is scraped from the current agreement

  4. Anonymous
    March 28, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Aiong with big time gamblers will be big time criminals. Would we the local population have access to the casinos, race track and entertainment centers? We have seen that as the big hotels established themselves their security chase us from the beaches. Because of our lack of econimic power we are bared from those establishment pretty soon we will be refugees in our land not having the means to go any where in Saint Lucia except Faux a Chaud, Marchand, and Morne Dudon. A training school for horse riding, why not a trade school for our young men? We need plummers, Carpenters, Masons, Electrician, Tilers trade which can sustain young men until they are old. How many old men that are jockeys. We are in need of investors in this country but we should not sacrifice our land to people whose cultures are foreign to us. Our PM must think long and hard, weight the pro and cons before making any decision if we the people of this country will be disadvantaged. It should not be a rush decision in the name of development for us. Foreign powers may smile for you accommodate you but there is always a sword to cut your kneck. Be cautious Mr PM.

    1. Calvin
      March 29, 2017 at 11:40 am

      No, the average St. Lucian will not get access to the casino.

      And the casino access will also be tiered, only the high rollers getting access to certain areas. That’s simply the way it is, and is the same literally worldwide. And, please do not even thinking of comparing this casino to the empty casino in Rodney Bay, thought by some to be a Syrian-backed money laundering front.

      Casinos necessarily involve a significant increase in the gap between classes. Consider any number of large-scale projects, be it Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Macau, or others. Where there is tremendous wealth, a short distance away there is also poverty, and a very, very steep socio-economic hierarchy in between.

      Granted, there also seeming exceptions, such as certain high-end casinos in Europe, notably in Austria.

      What is common to all, however, is that there will always be the haves and the have-nots. DSH cannot be faulted for that. That’s economic reality. St. Lucia is not a snowflake. It is not special or unique compared to anyone else’s nation.

      Our nation has had literally decades and decades, leaving politics out of this, to set and navigate its course.

      Had the internet, social media, and technological innovation existed when Rodney Bay was proposed, it would have been delayed beyond belief because of nay-sayers coming out of nowhere and not having ever showed any initiative in the past, simply choosing to set back and live in their selfish bubble thinking that the world will never change, and perpetuating their sense of self-entitlement to simply complain at change.

      Nothing is ever perfect. Change is inevitable to move forward. One can either choose to be constructively involved in providing input, or merely, simply ‘throw shade’ from the sidelines.

  5. Anonymous
    March 28, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    I am presently reside in FL. USA.why are we selling the land instead of leasing.When u do not have oil,or precious metal the land is all that.When u sell the land it is not yours any more

  6. Leni Barley
    March 28, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    I am presently reside in FL. USA.why are we selling the land instead of leasing.When u do not have oil,or precious metal the land is all that.When u sell the land it is not yours any more

  7. Anonymous
    March 29, 2017 at 2:56 am

    Is our police force given the training required to police adequately the new social climate as will be engendered by this spike in gambling (and its side shows and corrupt and immoral spinoffs ) brought about by this DSH? Let’s all pray that this project don’t turn the country into a Cuba pre 1959 revolution!

    1. Anonymous
      March 29, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      It is not the type of gambling we see in the ghettos, like Shantytown.

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