The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has expressed concern about fear mongering in connection with the $US 2.6 billion Desert Star Holdings (DSH) Limited project planned for the South of Saint Lucia.
“Those scare tactics have caused people to be concerned about whether they will be displaced,” Senior Communications Officer, Nicole Mc Donald, told reporters at a news conference today.
She explained that the only part of the mega project that is set in stone is the race track which does not involve anyone being displaced.
According to Mc Donald, Invest Saint Lucia has already engaged the two or three people who will be affected by the race track.
“Those negotiations, I think most of them have wrapped up or are ongoing as we speak,” she disclosed.
The OPM official said there were certain things that occurred regarding the DHS project which demonstrated the need for better controls in government regarding confidentiality.
“People really need to think about their jobs and what they are entrusted to do in the public service. We really need to understand that we sign certain a confidentiality agreement – you are not supposed to do those things and there should be consequences,” Mc Donald declared.
She expressed the view that the government has learned a lesson and needs to stamp out confidentiality breaches.
“What has happened is that the government has missed out on the opportunity to bring this project to the people in a very organised fashion where we can have discussion on the project,” Mc Donald told reporters.
The Senior Communications Officer took reporters back to July, saying that Invest Saint Lucia had repeatedly said that the DSH project has been under negotiation for about eighteen months.
“The first we heard about it was when the government signed the agreement in July. How many things have the government been discussing and we have never heard anything about it, especially from the last administration?” Mc Donald said.
She said the government has always planned to have public consultations, which were pushed forward because of all the questions being received.
The government is continuing its consultative series on the ‘Pearl of the Caribbean’ project with an event this week at the Vieux Fort Primary School for persons in the community.
Mc Donald said consultations have already been held with Heads of Town Council.
She said going forward the government has reached out to youth councils in the South of the Island and will be meeting with students and members of the youth councils in Vieux Fort North and South.
A meeting with the Chamber of Commerce is scheduled for February 8.
“What we are going to be focussing on is the race track which the government has said over and over again is the only part of the project that is set in stone,” Mc Donald disclosed.
“We are ready to answer people’s questions on the project. We do not want it to be marred and for people to be misinformed,” Mc Donald stated.
She recalled hearing that a teacher was giving a class incorrect information.
The OPM official called on persons, especially at learning institutions, to come to the government to get official information and visit official pages.