News, News-buzz

Is there a DSH plan to add 23 islands to Vieux Fort?

By Voice Reporter
Image: Work is continuing apace at the DSH race track…

Abbatoir and Farm to be relocated from Beausejour, while a new question arises

AS work on the horse racing track in Beausejour, Vieux Fort moves towards its rescheduled date of completion (February 2019), not much information is being given about two major facilities on the site that are both earmarked for relocation.

Of the two, the abbatoir is the most spoken of and the one which has generated much controversy. The other is the Beausejour agricultural farm itself.

This $21 million slaughter house was a gift of the Government of Taiwan to the Government and People of Saint Lucia.

While the Government of Taiwan has not said anything — at least publicly — about the demolishing of its offering to Saint Lucia, titbits of related information have been on the platforms of several media sites.

For instance, Agriculture Minister Ezekiel Joseph recently spoke of the slaughter house never being used since its construction — months, if not years ago. Its decommissioning, Joseph said, was for equine and quarantine purposes attached to the construction of a horse-racing track of international standard, such as is being built right now in Beausejour, Vieux Fort.

He told reporters recently that a site in La Caye, Dennery was chosen for the construction of a smaller abbatoir, which will be built by DSH.

He said the ministry is “now developing plans to send to the DCA for approval.”

The Beausejour lands earmarked for the horse track came into dispute as persons who leased or owned lands in the immediate vicinity complained about suitable relocation and compensation.

The authorities had to deal with a framework for the establishment of an equine disease-free zone, [EDFZ] as well, required for protection of horses from specific diseases.

At one time it was revealed that the relocation site for the farms would be in the Micoud South constituency. Whether this is still the case is unknown.

The public was first introduced to the DSH project in 2016 during the signing of a proposed multi-billion dollar development deal described as the ‘Pearl of the Caribbean’. More than 700 acres of Vieux-Fort land, including protected coastal habitat, was to make way for the DSH project that includes a horseracing track, high-rise hotels, casinos and marinas.

The controversial DSH project has garnered much public protests, including demonstrations by political, religious and civil organizations opposed to the still-mysterious contractual terms and potential environmental impact of the development.

Despite all that, the government is still going on with the project, claiming that it will be guided by Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs)and public consultation.

Meanwhile, as if all that’s been said and done about DSH is not enough, another possibly contentious proposal is said to be in the table for the DSH development.

One local newspaper, One Caribbean, recently published an article claiming DSH Master developer Teo Ah-khing has convinced the Government and the Prime Minister has confirmed to an overseas audience that he plans to ‘add 23 islands’ to the Vieux Fort landscape, akin to what Ah-khing has done in Dubai.

But the Voice contacted the Office of the Prime Minister for clarification and was told that “The prime Minister has denied this!”

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