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Protest march to take place in St Lucia against multibillion dollar project
Published on April 28, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Caribbean News Now contributor

CASTRIES, St Lucia -- A national protest march is planned in Vieux-Fort, Saint Lucia, on Sunday against a proposed multibillion-dollar, so-called ‘Pearl of the Caribbean’ project, to be funded by the country’s citizenship by investment programme (CIP).

protest_march.jpg
The developer, Desert Star Holdings (DSH), is a Cayman Islands-registered affiliate of a Hong Kong-based thoroughbred horse company run by Teo Ah Khing, an architect and entrepreneur who founded the China Horse Club. The ‘Pearl of the Caribbean’ project is valued at over US$2.6 billion and occupies a 700-acre site in the south of Saint Lucia.

However, the proposed development has raised a number of environmental issues as well as questions over a $100 million discrepancy between the cost of the project ($2.6 billion) and the amount of money to be raised from passport sales ($2.7 billion).

Furthermore, as former Cabinet minister Richard Frederick pointed out, “The Chinese are putting in nada (nothing).”

The protest march is being organised by the Vieux-Fort Concerned Citizens Coalition for Change and its primary objective is publicly to express its position regarding the proposed DSH project for Vieux-Fort and the refusal of Prime Minister Allen Chastanet to engage Vieux-Fort residents in discussion on how the project will affect them.

“This DSH project presents a myriad of serious concerns to the residents of Vieux-Fort, including the nearly 900 acres of prime investment lands to be given to one developer for 99 years; the potential loss of sustainable livelihoods of farmers, fishermen, livestock keepers, bee-keepers, etc.; the establishment of the equine disease free zone (EDFZ); the major dislocation to and subsequent relocation of residential communities; the future of locally-owned business operations within the project zone and the EDFZ; protection of public access of beaches; the buyback clause; sale of St Lucian passports to finance the DSH project; guaranteed jobs, investment opportunities and other economic benefits of the DSH to St Lucia; and potential negative impacts on the environment, among others,” the organisers said, adding, “The DSH project poses significant economic, social, developmental and environmental risks to the entire nation of Saint Lucia.”
 
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Comments:

R Thompson:

I quote former Cabinet minister Richard Frederick“The Chinese are putting in nada (nothing).” Good business people do not invest their own money in extreme high risk ventures. What amount of the proposed debt will each natural Lucian be saddled with? Who will pay for the services (water, sewage, electricity, policing) required at the proposed project? Who gives free land in the Caribbean? Sign me up for two acres for 85 years.


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