Government has responded to concerns about the proposed multi-million dollar agreement with Desert Star Holdings (DSH) ‘Pearl of the Caribbean’, maintaining that it is subject to change.
Senior Communications Officer at the Office of the Prime Minister Nicole Mc Donald said that nothing is ‘set in stone’, and maintains that it is merely a framework agreement.
She pointed to some changes that have already been made to the initial agreement in light of several concerns raised.
“There were concerns about the mangroves and we did remove the mangroves from the first agreement and second agreement. Now that is no longer part of it,” McDonald told HTS News Force on Thursday.
The senior communications officer also took the opportunity to respond to the Vieux-Fort Concerned Citizen Coalition for Change, a group that recently organised a protest outside the Parliament buildings.
Mc Donald said that the group seems more focused on the “failure of the project,” as against the opportunities that could be opened up for hundreds of people in the South of the island.
“I don’t think that negativity is what the people of Vieux Fort, or the young people, who will benefit from this project need right now,” she added.
Mc Donald also said that there is a lot of misinformation about the agreement, especially as it relates to the proposed use of land and what people think might happen to the beaches.
“All Saint Lucian beaches are public beaches. The proposal for Vieux Fort is a park, so it is not going to have hotels directly on the beaches.”
The government spokeswoman said for too long, lip service has been paid to Vieux Fort and it is now time for real development to take place. She said many projects that were promised to the people never came to fruition.
The leaked agreement has however raised many eyebrows and launched public discourse especially as it relates to leasing land for 99 years for one dollar.
Government said consultations will be held with stakeholders in 2017.