‘Em­brace this Op­por­tu­nity!’

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Cindy Ge­orges

Sev­eral mem­bers of the Choiseul/Saltibus com­mu­nity looked on Thurs­day in ev­i­dent re­lief as a long-awaited devel­op­ment fi­nally showed signs of get­ting off the ground. Lux­ury ho­tel op­er­a­tor Fair­mont Ho­tels & Re­sorts, now part of Ac­corHo­tels, and GP Group JSC, of­fi­cially turned the sod and an­nounced ‘project Fair­mont Saint Lu­cia’. Lo­cated in the area gen­er­ally re­ferred to as Sab­wisha, the prop­erty is set to open in late 2019.

Speak­ing at the cer­e­mony, Choiseul/Saltibus MP and Min­is­ter with re­spon­si­bil­ity for In­vest­ment Bradley Felix said, “To­day marks an im­por­tant day in his­tory for the peo­ple of Choiseul, as we will wit­ness the be­gin­ning of the long-awaited in­fras­truc­tural trans­for­ma­tion that Choiseul needs in or­der to bring out its true po­ten­tial and gen­er­ate a greater level of eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity.”

Felix re­vealed the in­vest­ment is fore­cast to bring tremen­dous ben­e­fits to the com­mu­nity, given its po­ten­tial eco­nomic im­pact and mul­ti­plier ef­fect to other sec­tors. “Choiseul will there­fore be­come a sig­nif­i­cant con­trib­u­tor to the coun­try’s eco­nomic, so­cial and fi­nan­cial growth and devel­op­ment.”

He said he was es­pe­cially happy that Saint Lu­cia has been able “to at­tract and re­tain such lu­cra­tive for­eign in­vest­ment as a re­sult of the many strides we have made in terms of in­vest­ment and pol­icy re­forms”. The fact his con­stituency will be the prime ben­e­fi­ciary of this ma­jor busi­ness in­vest­ment was also un­der­scored.

“It is im­per­a­tive there­fore that we take full ad­van­tage of this op­por­tu­nity by bring­ing out our best tal­ent, craft­work, knowl­edge and skills in en­abling Choiseul to be­come a vi­brant, more at­trac­tive and driven com­mu­nity where res­i­dents and for­eign vis­i­tors ac­tu­ally want to es­cape to.”

Min­is­ter Felix took time to lay out for guests at the event the var­i­ous ways Choiseul would ben­e­fit from this project. He added that it was just an­other demon­stra­tion of the gov­ern­ment’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to bring new life to the is­land’s south.

The min­is­ter not only high­lighted em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­nites but also job train­ing where re­quired. Said Felix: “Par­ents will be bet­ter able to pay for their chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion and our youth will be able to pur­sue ter­tiary level ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing in their ad­vance­ment pur­suits. In ef­fect, our labour force will in­crease and we will have a more pro­duc­tive econ­omy.

“The peo­ple of Choiseul will also be able to save and build their homes, all of which will re­sult in a bet­ter fu­ture for all. More per­sons will be earn­ing a liv­ing we will see a re­duc­tion in the poverty rate for Choiseul and have a health­ier com­mu­nity.”

Felix called on peo­ple from the com­mu­nity to seize the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate their own busi­ness to ser­vice the in­creased ac­tiv­ity ex­pected in the vil­lage. The min­is­ter stressed that the beach­front en­vi­ron­ment would be pro­tected.

“The con­struc­tion of this ho­tel will also en­able the build­ing and en­hance­ment of green ar­eas sur­round­ing the in­fra­struc­ture which will help pre­serve the nat­u­ral as­sets of Choiseul,” he said. “The Sab­wisha beach­front will be en­hanced through this project and will be con­tin­u­ally main­tained in a clean and safe way for all beach users.”

Other ex­cit­ing prospects in­cluded the re­vi­tal­iza­tion of the lo­cal arts and craft sec­tor. Choiseul was for a long time con­sid­ered the craft cap­i­tal of Saint Lu­cia. Felix said he was look­ing for­ward to the host­ing of a seafood fes­ti­val in Choiseul. “Or an arts and craft fes­ti­val.”

The min­is­ter con­cluded: “I be­lieve th­ese and other rea­sons more than jus­tify the es­tab­lish­ment of this ho­tel in Choiseul. The op­por­tu­nity has there­fore been pre­sented to us to trans­form our com­mu­nity. My hope is that we act wisely and use our cre­ativ­ity for the ben­e­fit of this and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

Also speak­ing at the cer­e­mony was Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chas­tanet, In­vest Saint Lu­cia Chair­man Pink­ley Fran­cis, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the devel­op­ment, and the mayor of the com­mu­nity.

Min­is­ter with re­spon­si­bil­ity for In­vest­ment Bradley Felix speak­ing at the sod-turn­ing cer­e­mony for Fair­mont Ho­tels & Re­sorts.

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