‘Embrace this Opportunity!’
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.