Govern­ment & DSH As­sure Pub­lic of Com­mit­ment to Pre­serve Maria Is­lands

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - • •

The Govern­ment of Saint Lu­cia and Desert Star Hold­ings Caribbbean Lim­ited have is­sued the fol­low­ing state­ment:

The “Pearl of the Caribbean” Project is one of the most ad­ven­tur­ous and am­bi­tious projects in the Caribbean which is poised to make Saint Lu­cia an even more unique des­ti­na­tion and cre­ate eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity as never be­fore seen in the south of the is­land.

In pur­suance of this project the Govern­ment of Saint Lu­cia and the Master De­vel­oper, Desert Star Hold­ings Caribbean Lim­ited (DSH), are com­mit­ted to op­er­at­ing within the the laws of Saint Lu­cia and the project will be sub­ject, as in all cases, to the requisite En­vi­ron­men­tal Im­pact As­sess­ments (EIAs) and the ap­proval of the Devel­op­ment Con­trol Author­ity (DCA).

The Govern­ment is also com­mit­ted to un­der­tak­ing the nec­es­sary stud­ies, pro­tect­ing and con­serv­ing the nat­u­ral land­scape of Saint Lu­cia and in par­tic­u­lar the wildlife and marine life on Maria Is­lands. Con­trary to some re­ports, the project is in­tended to en­hance Saint Lu­cia’s nat­u­ral as­sets, and is sen­si­tive to the prin­ci­ples of sus­tain­able devel­op­ment which in­cludes bio­di­ver­sity preser­va­tion, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and re­spect for the eco-sys­tem.

On March 9th 2017 the Govern­ment and Desert Star Hold­ings jointly un­veiled the sec­ond phase of the project which is the pro­posed South­ern Cause­way, a re­claimed land site of be­tween 150 to 200 acres in Vieux Fort near the Maria Is­lands.

The Govern­ment of Saint Lu­cia wel­comes the on­go­ing dis­cus­sion on the project in the pub­lic do­main and hopes that the de­bate will con­tinue in a man­ner where we can share con­cerns and ideas in a con­struc­tive way which does not harm our coun­try’s image. In or­der to as­sist dis­cus­sions based on fact it is nec­es­sary that the Govern­ment share as­pects re­lated to the sec­ond phase of the project with Saint Lu­cians, as fol­lows:

The Govern­ment and the De­vel­oper have agreed that the pro­posed Cause­way will not be con­nected to Maria Is­lands and there will be a wa­ter­way sep­a­rat­ing Maria Is­lands from the Cause­way. Mean­ing the two is­lands, Maria Ma­jor and Maria Mi­nor, will re­main de­tached from the devel­op­ment.

Artist Ren­der­ing: The draw­ings shown at the March 9, 2017 cer­e­mony are a pre­lim­i­nary artist im­pres­sion and the con­cept is still be­ing re­fined and changed in this on­go­ing ex­er­cise as the de­vel­oper un­der­takes sig­nif­i­cant technical research on the area.

Stud­ies: Sev­eral fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies and tests will be done with renowned recla­ma­tion and en­vi­ron­men­tal ex­perts.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion: The

Govern­ment has been open and re­mains open to re­ceiv­ing con­cerns from lo­cal and for­eign agen­cies as­so­ci­ated with the project. The Govern­ment has along every step of the way shared in­for­ma­tion with the Saint Lu­cian pub­lic on the sta­tus of the dif­fer­ent phases of the project. • Pro­to­cols: Based on the de­vel­oper’s well-re­spected track record the Govern­ment is con­vinced and the de­vel­oper has com­mit­ted to us­ing the most up to date En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­to­cols and in­no­va­tion to fa­cil­i­tate the cause­way and en­sure it does not harm the cur­rent en­vi­ron­ment. Saint Lu­cia also has laws and rules which gov­ern pro­posed devel­op­ments which must be ad­hered to.

De­tailed Research on Ex­ist­ing Wildlife and Marine Life: The Govern­ment and the de­vel­oper will work with var­i­ous agen­cies to do de­tailed research on all the ex­ist­ing wildlife and marine life around and on the is­lands.

Ac­cess & Par­tic­i­pa­tion: Part of the Cause­way will be­long to Saint Lu­cians and Saint Lu­cians will be al­lowed ac­cess to beaches built along the Cause­way.

The Govern­ment of Saint Lu­cia also hopes that the pro­posed South­ern Cause­way and over­all the “Pearl of the Caribbean” will:

Bring at­ten­tion to the unique fea­tures of Vieux Fort and the po­ten­tial for fur­ther lo­cal and for­eign in­vest­ment.

In­crease eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity in the South through the cre­ation of jobs and po­ten­tial for the devel­op­ment of link­age com­pa­nies and in­dus­tries.

Pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for young school leavers to gain training in unique in­dus­tries.

Bring in­ter­na­tional

at­ten­tion to the Maria Is­lands and the unique flora and fauna which cur­rently ex­ists, thereby mak­ing the is­lands the cen­tre of attraction for en­vi­ron­men­tal and eco-sys­tem research.

The Govern­ment of Saint Lu­cia re­it­er­ates that it will op­er­ate within the laws of Saint Lu­cia and we are open to work­ing with all agen­cies on en­sur­ing that the “Pearl of the Caribbean” project is suc­cess­ful, not just in im­ple­men­ta­tion, but in con­tribut­ing to en­hanc­ing the cur­rent nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment that we all trea­sure now and for gen­er­a­tions to come.

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