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DSH Project Still Being Negotiated

Image: A design of the proposed Pearl of the Caribbean.

A confrontation between a member of the Vieux Fort Concerned Citizens Coalition for Change (VFCCCC) and a known supporter of the government almost marred Wednesday night’s consultative meeting on the Desert Star Holdings (DSH) project hosted by the government at the Vieux Fort Primary School.

But the meeting appeared to have put one matter to rest : that the agreement for horse race track part of the overall project has been finalized and no changes can be made to these plans.

The rest of the terms and conditions of the Framework Agreement pertaining to the other phases of the project are not set in stone and could be altered as both parties see fit, according to Invest St. Lucia and the Government of St. Lucia.a

According to the government it is reviewing a study that had previously been commissioned on the landfill adding that the DSH project had given it the required impetus to address the long outstanding issue of waste management in St. Lucia.

While there were people for and against the project at Wednesday’s meeting the gathering at times appeared to be divided into two political groups.

Meanwhile, new information is emerging from Invest St. Lucia and the government about the project.

“There will be supplementary agreements emerging from the Framework Agreement,” the government Senior Communications Officer, Nicole McDonald said.

At a press briefing earlier this week she said that “people were discussing things that were not set in stone” referring to the project and said that “things are still being negotiated.”

The VFCCC on the other hand says it is confused now that the government is saying the DSH agreement is not cast in stone. The group wants to know what the government is consulting people about if the Framework Agreement is still being negotiated.

“What are we then discussing if the Agreement is a work in progress,” said Julius James, a VFCCCC spokesperson.

It was he who was involved in a confrontation with a woman at Wednesday night’s meeting. He said that he was booed by the woman and her friends while he was at the microphone making his presentation.

“She came up to my face and shouted boo. She came up a second time in my face. I pushed her,” he said.

Someone who was at the meeting said that James indeed pushed the woman but he did so while she was walking away.

“The other side did not think I had a right to ask questions,” James said.

The government had a different take on the meeting stating that it was a good one with some balanced questions being posed.
“Several people wanted to know about the project. We put to rest the belief certain people had that the money from the Citizenship Investment Programme was being put into the race track,” McDonald said.

She disclosed that more consultations will be taking place in the south with different groups like the business people next week in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce. Government will also be meeting with youth councils not only in Vieux Fort but in districts alongside, like Micoud for instance.

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