“Nothing extraordinary was given to them” – PM confirms concessions granted to DSH project

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“Nothing extraordinary was given to them” – PM confirms concessions granted to DSH project
Work at the general site of the Desert Star Holdings Ltd (DSH) project.
Work at the general site of the Desert Star Holdings Ltd (DSH) project.

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has responded to concerns regarding the granting of concessions and Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) approval to the US$2.6 billion Desert Star Holdings (DSH) Caribbean Star Ltd. development project, amidst talks of a leaked Cabinet document which has been making rounds on the local talk shows.

The document – conclusion number 530 of 2017 and dated July 3 – states that a memorandum submitted by the Department of Tourism, dated May 25, requested concessions to facilitate the construction and development of the Pearl of the Caribbean on behalf of DSH Caribbean Star Limited subsidiary companies.

This was considered and approved by Cabinet pending proof that the Development Control Authority (DCA) had approved the project, the document said.

According to the conclusion paper, pursuant to the Tourism Stimulus and Investment Act Number 12 of 2014, the construction of the Pearl of the Caribbean is to be declared an approved development. It also stated that a 100 percent waiver of import duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) was granted on behalf of Royal St. Lucian Crescentia Limited.

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet at Monday’s pre-Cabinet press briefing.

At a press briefing this week, Chastanet addressed the issue of incentives granted to the development company.

“…They are tourism incentives. So there are aspects of the project, which is an apartment building, a hotel and also a villa complex that incentives were given for, and again, under the Special Development Areas Act, as well as the tourism incentives. Because you would appreciate that the horse racing track is also an attraction in itself. Those are the incentives that have been provided and are within the regulations that we currently have. So nothing extraordinary was given to them that has not been given to anybody else,” he said.

Chastanet said the company will not pay VAT during construction but will do so when the business is up and running.

“They pay VAT once they’re operational but they don’t pay VAT on the construction. That’s standard across the board. I’ve always wanted to make that distinction. So once they’re operational everybody pays VAT,” Chastanet stated.

As to the CIP approval of Pearl of the Caribbean, Chastanet said this has not yet been granted.

Opposition Leader Philip J. Pierre

“We have been in constant dialogue and you would appreciate that the owners came here with a CIP programme in place and we have changed many of those things in the CIP programme, and are trying to negotiate a format that would be beneficial to them as well as protecting St. Lucia. I would like to think that we’re very close to a conclusion and once we are, I will be happy to make those details known to you and to the public of St. Lucia,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Phillip J Pierre said that he is skeptical about the effects the project will have on the island.

“We [The former St. Lucia Labour Party government] never had any investment for 900 acres of land. That’s the fundamental difference… We were the government that heralded the incentives for the Royalton Hotel. The Royalton Hotel is on how many acres? 15 acres of land. They have employed 500 people. The government wants to give 900 acres to employ how much? 3,000…. So when Fedee and the prime minister wants to talk about ‘we are the ones who did it’ that’s not the point. The point is not the Tourism Stimulus Investment Act…The point is you are putting in the hands of other people 900 acres of prime land with a question on access to the beaches. That’s the fundamental point,” he stated.

Initial construction of the first phase of the DSH development is already in progress.

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19 COMMENTS

  1. I see a 9 year old working on the DSH project according to the first pic-----I am 12, can I get a job too, i promise i will not report health and safety issues among other violations (side riding on a backhoe) to the labour department!!!

    (3)(1)

  2. The funny thing is that Pierre fails to understand that it is not just 3000 employees. Its the increase in staff of wholesalers. Its the increase in business for suppliers of hotel supplies, alcohol, water companies, electricity company, computer suppliers. The taxi sector will increase. Business at the airport will increase. the off season may be over for the airport. There will be other businesses opening in the area. Vieux fort town will see a revitalization. There can be an increase in night life. Cinemas. In fact, we may see a general movement towards Vieux Fort Period! Yes the deal needs to be done right. But dont lie to the people! Get yourself a communicatons gyal like Hillaire, albeit one which is not as unstable!

    (7)(12)

  3. This is nothing short of a Chinese occupation of our patrimony with undesirable returns. It will be a Chinese village within a town. Politicians cater for their own selfish interests ,have blind vision, and have repeatedly made one bad deal after another. Who is looking out for the people's interest ? The people must wise and rise up !

    (19)(5)

  4. If Pierre's opposition to the project is strictly rooted in 900 acres "given" to the developer, I can see clearly why we are in this quagmire. Because Pierre's understanding of the project is either fundamentally wrong or it his own deliberate attempt at misinforming others in order to create a toxic environment. Is Pierre's contention about his own government inability to develop 900 acres and because they had never done it then somebody else shouldn't? Is Pierre's former government the standard or the bar by which we should measure the scope and scale of any future development? Do journalist even ask such questions of these loosed mouth politicians?

    If Pierre and Kenny's government is the standard then how comes we have so much of our lands from projects such as Balembouche and River Doree tied up in Courts? And mind you, foreign Courts! Additionally, how comes these foreigners own a majority of shares into the companies who owns the lands without themselves having Alien Landholders Licenses? Shouldn't any foreign person or company who owns any land in St. Lucia be in possession of such a license? And then you hear the former PM of St. Lucia calling his adversaries all kinds of names such as "corrupt" and all types of vitriolic remarks such as "illegality." What about authorizing the leasing of millions of acres of seabed without the consent of the Governor General? If that's not illegal then it sure deserves a test in Court.

    And in his continuance of his political games, where Pierre (who should know better) muddles the issue so that his unsuspecting followers can be sucked in, is in saying that the developer will get 900 acres. The 900 acres of land belongs to St. Lucia, the government will be selling land to numerous clients in order that it be developed. The developer (DSH)is the facilitator as government does not have the capacity to deal with such marketing and other responsibilities attached to commercial selling. As this is totally different to initiatives such as providing low incomes homes in projects where the Housing Ministry is involved.

    (5)(12)

  5. Ironically, it is not very difficult not to take the SLP too seriously. After all, they were the ones, who gifted the company Frenwell, some $48 million, egregiously.

    Next, it is not too too difficult not to take the SLP too seriously again. They, through lack of due diligence in the wording of their contract, again gifted another company regarding the Black Bay Lands contract negotiations, some $86 million. That was is the book value of the then unencumbered government property.

    Then again, it is not difficult not to take the SLP too seriously. They, in the deepest secrecy, hid from the public, their infantile agreement with a prospector, to sell rights to the seabed in the north of the island. This egregious blundering cost the taxpayers and mortgaged the future of the youth of this country with another wasteful financial obligation of another $150 million.

    And the deepest cut of all, all these expenditures and financial obligations had a zero rate of return in terms of profits and gains for this country.

    It is is difficult to take the SLP seriously.

    (14)(11)

    • Same thing am saying plus the numerous others that you have left out. I mean its not right for no government, but you cannot be calling wolf even before the government is given a chance to do what they have to do. Give them a chance so we can then judge them on their accomplishment. Besides, you have already shown us what you can do, and that was to increase our struggles. We elected a new government so let us see what they can do. Meanwhile sit back and observe on behalf of all those who voted for opposition, highlight legitimate concerns. No need for a smear campaign, we will eventually know the truth.

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      • Yes, but the truth has not all been told. Two wrongs do not make lt right. Yes, the last group screwed up on a number of occasions and issues. We are basically going down the same path of the previous administration. No one fully knows all that is in the contract presently. You guys seem to have blinders when it comes to the promises of transparency, good governance and so on. They should be working on behalf of the people and not for themselves. We need to stop engaging in the past, whatever has happened cannot be redone. We should be learning from past mistakes and not go down the same road. Remember all the complains about vat. Guess what, the taxes saved is being reinstated in other areas. They knew full well that there was a need for increase revenue, now they have to eat crow because they are incrementally increasing taxes in various areas to a greater extent to what was saved on vat. Go figure!!! Keep languishing in the past, for it will take you nowhere. I'm still waiting for the 1 million dollar assessment on the St.Judes hospital. It's the peoples money and not those in power

        (8)(4)

  6. On the back of poor st lucian. U bring six backpacks and back to school supplies for your children and custom ask you, " why you have six bags (lady one for my niece, one for my nephew, one for my friend, and my three children. Six school bags and you swear I was bring the whole NY. And I had my children and niece. Really!! So when you look at it, only two bags uncounted for.

    (11)(1)

    • Customs will milk the poor st. lucian but will not protest any of these concessions for the rich.

      (8)(0)

      • There is not evidence that the SLP rejected their proposal. However there is evidence they wanted to entertain another developer who turned out to be a FRAUD. They told DSH that they would have entertained them after the election. Why these types of shady characters so attracted to SLP or vice versa?

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        • Innuendo and hear say. Stop talking about what you don't know. Where is the proof. Check your fact prior to making comments that you heard from somewhere else.

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          • I have my facts and i don't speak about things i don't know. I say "i think" when i am opinionating, notice didn't in that instance.

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  7. So no VAT and Custom duty on anything the developer brings down or purchases. Plus 90 % of the investment is paid for by the CIP.Damn, that must be the deal of a century

    (16)(4)

    • At what cost ? This deal is not benificial to our socioeconomic development. It will deprive farmers a place to graze cattle , our children an opportunity to own land and will raise the level of competition for local businesses. It is more than xtra ordinary to give away prime lands @ $1 a sq foot.. Besides, gambling which breeds criminal activities ( drugs, prostitution, human trafiking , thieft ), and all the above contributing to more homicides which is increasing uncontrollably at this time. Our own security is at stake and to add a adevolpment which will inevitably attract criminals to our shores is the last thing we need. Time will tell.

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