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Gov’t provides clarification on major investment project in Vieux Fort

By SNO Staff

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Minister Bradley Felix (second from right) with officials from Invest Saint Lucia addressing the media on Monday (Aug.8).

Minister Bradley Felix (second from right) with officials from Invest Saint Lucia addressing the media on Monday (Aug.8).

The government has sought to provide some clarifications with regards to the recently signed US$2.6 billion agreement with Desert Star Holdings (DSH) following major criticisms by the Saint Lucian public.

Investment Minister Bradley Felix told a media conference on Monday (Aug.8) that while his government welcomes questions and scrutiny, the agreement was signed with due consideration.

While explaining that most of the negotiations were done by the previous administration, the minister said that two doubtful clauses have recently been negotiated out of the final agreement.

“Nothing in the agreement purports to guarantee the investor any licenses, approvals or other concessions without due process. Indeed, every undertaking in the agreement is limited to the requirements of the relevant legislation,” he explained.

Felix said the swift conclusion of the agreement asserts heavily on the seizing of opportunities and making of quick but informed decisions, without compromising ‘probity and good governance.’

“The framework agreement has not, and cannot by definition, grant CIP approved status or Development Control Authority (DCA) approval for the project . In fact, DSH is currently pursuing its DCA approval and indeed will be making its application for CIP status once the government has fulfilled its obligations to make the necessary changes to the CIP legislation,” he stated.

The investment project, according to the minister, will see a mixed-use real estate development enterprise involving inter-alia, entertainment and sporting facilities, as a third category under the real estate provisions of the CIP legislation.

Felix said DHS project also encompasses a project that meets the basic stipulation but entails: a horse tracking field, high end hotel residences, a casino, free trade zone, an equine diseases free zone, and marina.

The investment minister also dubunked claims that the project which will occupy 700 acres of undeveloped land will dislocate citizens in the South. Instead, the minister said the project will bring great economic benefits to Saint Lucia.

“The developers have also pledged to partner with the Government of Saint Lucia in holding a series of town hall meetings in the South of the island to inform the immediate communities and the general public of the project and to receive and address all legitimate concerns,” Felix added.

The government has also stated that even though the developer has concerns about the recently constructed meat facility, the building will not be relocated. Instead, the pork aspect will be transferred to another facility.

The opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) had raised several concerns about the project stating that there were outstanding issues to be addressed hence why the previous government did not go ahead with the deal.

(154)(7)
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21 comments

  1. This Press Release makes absolutely no sense at all. A bunch of useless words addressing none of the major concerns brought forward however, confirming them. Sad Damage Control Attempt!

    (4)(17)
    • Its amazing how when Lorne said about some major hotel in choisul so many slp hacks threw in their support. Cip is good it needs to be fine tuned no doubt, what mangroove we talking about more than 90 percent of our population has no interest in any mangroove. The investment is much more important than mangroove and obviously some people will be disadvantaged but its for the betterment of our country. I welcome constructive criticism but lets get real here.

      (25)(12)
      • If your figures are correct then it means 90% of the population don't know the benefits of a mangrove. Google it please. Educate yourself. We use to sell our country as the place to come enjoy paradise. We are now planning to destroy our mangroves and our coral reefs. What are the tourist coming for now??? There are horse tracks all over the world why would they come to ours in St Lucia??? I am still waiting on someone to tell me the benefits and financial gains of this horse tracks.

        (11)(1)
  2. We can do better without CIP. Follow Gonzales and save ourselves.

    (0)(0)
  3. Ome thing I dont understand is the pork Factor. does muslims or jews have an input into this project? I thought the project was chinese and we know they eat any and every thing. Are these folks attempting to set up their little enclave in St. Lucia Where their Gang bosses and terrorist friends can hang out with their handy ST.Lucian Passports as untouchables to organizations like interpol.

    Who is investigating the security fasctor in that wholesale out of my country. Like i said before"PIE IN THE SKY".

    G.J

    (2)(0)
  4. Where will the marina be located? I sincerely hope not at Sandy Beach!!

    (7)(6)
  5. Bradley Felix the banker, Pinkly Francis the businessman walking through mangrove in polo shirts in Vieux Fort pretending to understand the aspects of Eco life. Really, which one of you is the environmentalist?

    (24)(42)
  6. It is nice to see government showing a keen interest in the south. As a St Lucian I would love to know the pros and cons of this business venture. I want to see a business plan, what is this project costing St. Lucia and what are we benefiting from it. I would like Prime Minister Alan Chastenet or any of his ministers to answer me the following questions
    1. Are planning to destroy our mangrove to build a harbor?
    2. Are we converting 700 acres of prime agricultural lands to commercial land? ( refer to your manifesto )
    3 How much of the construction work force will be Chinese and how much St Lucians?
    4. How many St Lucians will be employed in the establishment when its in operation?
    5. If they are entitled to 10 years tax break when and how is our economy growing from this venture?
    6. What are the environmental impacts of such a project?( I need professional opinions. Ministers are not environmentalists.)
    7. How will the increase influx of Chinese/ Lucians affect St Lucia?

    I am looking forward to an answer from the persons who were elected BY US FOR US.

    (21)(3)
  7. Is changing the legislation about allowing more than 500 passports and because of a commitment to DSH? Think you got it wrong there. The government made a commitment to us as citizens to review the CIP legislation because of glaring accountability issues. The statement is saying that the though the developer has plans for applying for CIP status, however this cannot happen before the government revises the legislation in accordance with its promise to us.

    If you remember, what Chastanet said previously was that he was not opposed to CIP but opposed to the manner in which it was established. I think trying to confuse the issue is deliberate on the part of some and twisting and turning what people have said is rather ingenuous. The project was negotiated for 1 year before Chastanet got into office, how come we never heard about it then? It really begs the question as to whether it would simply have been another secretive deal that only Ernest and Kenny knew about. Well here comes Chastanet and in just 2 months we already know what the plan is. If Hilaire and Kenny had any other secrets we do not want to know, they can keep them. just as Juffali and his diabetic Centre, Roachamel, Frenwell, Grynberg, whatever, keep them.

    (46)(12)
    • Don't you think that after everything would have been ironed out that they would have made it known? My question to you whom ever you are. What is the hast in signing this? I prefer for the due diligence by the previous government than the hasty manner in which this government has sign this agreement. It is making sure all the Is are dotted and the Tsubasa cross so that later there will not be any oh my gosh what have air done? So whomever you are stop playing politics with this, as the previous government have indicated they are in agreement with the project, but there are many things which they felt needed to be ironed out which were of great concern to the people of St. Lucia. Just saying...

      (19)(7)
    • You are deluded, uneducated and totally stupid. Think before you start writing such crap, smh!

      (0)(0)
  8. This still doesn't answer the pertinent questions. We need to know what is in the agreement! Then and only then we will be satisfied.

    (16)(5)
  9. In fact, DSH is currently pursuing its DCA approval and indeed will be making its application for CIP status once the government has fulfilled its obligations to make the necessary changes to the CIP legislation,” he stated.

    This phrase tells me that the Gov't did not wait on the DCA and also they have to change The CIP legislation . Awaiting to hear the changes.

    I would of like if Minister Felix would of comment on the queries of the SLP. The response just asks us to believe in them which to my mind is not good enough due to former decisions.

    (13)(14)
  10. Changing the legislation to increase the limit beyond 500 passports that can now be sold causes much concern. Should 400,000 passports be sold to the Chinese , how will St Lucia be called? Should we anticipate a Chinese Prime Minister? Must we sell our Patrimony with such ease? How much control do we have over the proceeds? Sounds like another Le Paradis. This must not be allowed to happen. This isn't about Chastanet's love for the South, its about further ...... Don't think Bradley Felix understands what he is saying, as its clear he is reading from some prepared script.

    (19)(18)
    • Is it 400,00 passport? Dr Kenny Anthony and the SLP has the correct number. Why don't you asked them to make a public announcement on the number of passport requested by the investors. Don't you think if it was 400,000 Mr Hilaire and Mr. Jn Batiste would have stated that in their SNO release last week? What apparently is happening is that the SLP Ministers who were involved in this project are saying nothing with regards to the number of passports but they have their stooges posting all kinds of figures. I challenge them.

      (19)(10)
    • Don't be ridiculous you really believe they going to process 400,000 applications a year?
      Le Paradis was a good development halted by the financial crisis.

      (7)(5)

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