News, Top Story

Choiseul Residents Handed Keys to Homes from Invest St. Lucia

House donated to Choiseul residents through ISL developmental project.
House donated to Choiseul residents through ISL developmental project.

Eight families from the Choiseul community were relocated from their former sea-side habitat to better communal surroundings – through the efforts of the island’s principal investment promotion agency, Invest Saint Lucia [ISL].

This project was undertaken to allow for the development of the  Grand Hyatt Hotel at Sabwisha.

The houses were built between September and December 2022, following a process of consultations and site inspections spanning as far back as, January 2021. The new homes, funded by ISL were formally handed over to the residents on Tuesday, January 10th.

ISL Chairman, Lyndon Arnold says this project exemplifies the agency’s commitment to not only stimulate investments but to improve the lives of Saint Lucians.

“We brought a human aspect to it , land ownership is something that is very emotional and these residents have been on these other lands there for quite a long time and that’s all they know, so there is a certain level of attachment , ” said Arnold.

House donated to Choiseul residents through ISL developmental project.
House donated to Choiseul residents through ISL developmental project.

Taking such habitat factors into consideration, he explained: “So, we really had to know, stand and feel what they were going through to uproot and bring them somewhere else (safely). And that is why we engage them in consultation , we understood their needs and made a commitment to them , in each and every case that we would improve the quality of life from what they were living in to what we intended to give them.”

According to ISL’s CEO Octavian Charles, this latest project underscores the vital role which the agency continues to play as it relates to the country’s socio-economic development.

Charles notes that the project underlines the importance that ISL places on addressing the “needs and the concerns of the communities in Saint Lucia”.

He added, “If we look at what happened before, and what is happening now it shows that we were committed to uplift, and to upgrade the residents.”

The ISL head says a follow-up programme is in order, “to ensure that even after they have settled that everything is fine with them. So, as a good corporate entity we want to make people’s lives better.”

From the onset, the project sets out to give locals an opportunity to ‘own a piece of land’ and by so doing empower them for future growth and development of their livelihoods and habitat.

Parliamentary Representative for Choiseul/ Saltibus Bradley Felix was present to witness the hand over. Felix stressed that the opportunity to legally own land will empower residents.

“The biggest pleasure is the fact that we have several new home owners …and they now have the opportunity to own the houses they are now living in and how empowering that can be, ” Felix declared.

He viewed the development as a level of upward mobility for the former “squatters”, now being given an opportunity by ISL “to own the land that the houses are on (the houses actually belong to ISL) …and the rates are very affordable”, to allow the residents to become future property owners on the land.

The 345-room luxury Grand Hyatt hotel is scheduled to be completed by 2025 and is expected to create over 600 permanent and part time jobs during the construction phase and upon completion.

Underlying the socio-economic scope for this development, the ISL spokesperson adds that, local officials anticipate “the project will significantly increase Saint Lucia’s visibility, generating various benefits for Choiseul and surrounding communities.”

[R.A].

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *