(SNO) — Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has said work on the US$2.6-billion Pearl of the Caribbean project in Vieux Fort is “progressing”.
In a Facebook post recently, Chastanet revealed that “roughly” 100 Saint Lucians are employed in this first phase. The project is being undertaken by Hong Kong-based Desert Star Holdings (DSH).
Chastanet said the St. Lucians are currently employed “between the construction of the horse racing track and the the horse stables”. The prime minister’s social media post was accompanied by two photos of the race track and the stables under construction.
According to officials, the project will include a marina, racetrack, casino, resort, shopping mall complex, entertainment venues, waterfront villas and apartments. All of this on 700 acres of land near Hewanorra International Airport.
The government has said that the multi-million dollar project will create enormous opportunities for people in the south of the island, particularly young people and the unemployed.
However, the project has had it share of controversy.
Groups such as the main Opposition St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) and Vieux-Fort Concerned Citizens Coalition for Change (VF4Cs) have called on the government to renegotiate the agreement.
They are concerned that the land is being given away cheaply, the project’s potentially negative environmental impact, among other issues.
Several marches protesting aspects of the project have been held.