THE St. Lucia government says it will outline a four-year plan for the island in April next year.
A government statement quoted Prime Minister Allen Chastanet as saying that the plan will be outlined when his administration, which last week marked its first 100 days in office, presents the national budget.
“We’re using this time to develop our overall plan and so it is the intention of our government that when we announce the budget in April that we will announce a one year financial budget, but we’re going to roll out a four year development plan for this country,” Chastanet is quoted as saying.
Chastanet said that he spent his first 100 days in office working on a plan to reduce the island’s debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio, as the island’s deficit is larger than anticipated.
Chastanet said the new government’s term in office began with the realization that the 2016/2017 budget grossly underestimated certain areas such as school maintenance and the operations of the new hospital.
He reminded St. Lucians that there was no policy debate on the budget for this fiscal year when it was presented by former prime minister Dr. Kenny Anthony prior to the June 6 general election.
Chastanet said that St. Lucia needs a major boost in investment.
“I have taken it upon myself to have as many meetings as the Prime Minister to try to expedite investment in this country.
“Desert Star is a very ambitious project, I admit that, but I think that the developers have a great sense of confidence; I love the creativity of what they have done, and I think that to be able to jump start Saint Lucia and to create a buzz about Saint Lucia, that is the kind of project we need.”
The US$2.6 billion project, which will occupy 700-acre site in the south of the island, will comprise a marina, a racecourse, a resort and shopping mall complex, casino, Free Trade Zone, extensive entertainment and leisure facilities, eco-tourism as well as architecturally designed villas and apartments.
A government statement said that “overall, the Pearl of the Caribbean Development is designed to be a well-balanced project with open space making up over 50 per cent of the overall development.
“It is designed to be a sustainable and self-contained development and is expected to generate between 500 to 800 jobs in construction during its initial phase of implementation,” the statement noted.