St Lucia launches public consultation for billion dollar 'Pearl of the Caribbean' resort

The government of Saint Lucia has launched a public consultation on its plans to green light a sport and leisure resort dubbed “the Pearl of the Caribbean”.

The proposed project on the south of the island comprises a marina, a racecourse, a shopping mall, a casino, a Free Trade Zone, entertainment and leisure facilities, and a series of holiday villas and residential apartments.

Government officials have joined with the Invest Saint Lucia (ISL) group to seek public feedback on the US$2.6bn (€2.4bn, £2.08bn) project, beginning with phase one – a racecourse complex covering 200 acres in the town of Vieux Fort.

The 9,000-capacity George Odlum football stadium – described by the government as “in a deplorable state following years of neglect” – may also be renovated or rebuilt as part of the phase.

A government-produced fact sheet has been published to address concerns from local people that land is being sold to the investor at an unreasonably low price and that the project will limit public access to the island’s beaches.

Hong Kong development firm Desert Star Holdings Limited (DSH) has reached a Framework Agreement with the government to explore the feasibility of the project. Phase One has already been passed by local planners, pending an environmental impact assessment.

As part of its partnership deal, DSH can lease the earmarked land at US$1 (€0.93, £0.80) per acre, or buy it for between US$60,000 (€55,800, £48,000) and US$90,000 (€83,700, £72,000) at various points in the phasing schedule. According to the fact sheet, Saint Lucia has the option to purchase our lands back at the same price if the developer does not raise the required development capital.

ISL corporate secretary Seryozha Cenac said most of the land allocated for the development is not in use, and “as far as we are aware there is only one farmer affected by phase one of the project.”

He said: “The remainder of the lands, as far as we know, are not being used right now, and in economic terms they may well be referred to as 'unproductive lands', which we’re trying to put to productive use. ISL is prepared to deal fairly with the farmer.

"I don’t think the interest of one single individual should outweigh that of an entire population, so all of these things have to be put to scale and weighed – what the pros and cons are of any particular project. From ISL's point of view, we can see that the project is most advantageous to Vieux Fort.”

According to local media reports, the racecourse will host racing carnivals, establishing the country as the Caribbean’s racing and entertainment centre and taking advantage of the international appeal of the sport to boost tourism through the integrated resort. If the scheme is approved, an Education Training Fund will also be set up to train islanders in the equine industry.

St Lucia  Caribbean  architecture  Desert Star Holdings Limited  investment  Invest St Lucia 
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The government of Saint Lucia has launched a public consultation on its plans to green light a sport and leisure resort dubbed “the Pearl of the Caribbean”. The proposed project on the south of the island comprises a marina, a racecourse, a shopping mall, a casino, a Free Trade Zone, entertainment and leisure facilities, and a series of holiday villas and residential apartments. Government officials have joined with the Invest
The proposed project on the south of the island comprises a marina, a racecourse, a shopping mall, a casino and leisure amenities / Government of St Lucia
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