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BREAKING NEW GROUND
BY STAN BISHOP

The island’s tourism product is expected to be boosted with a major touristic development scheduled to be opened in Soufriere in the next two years.
That was the message emanating from founder of The M Group, Pascal Mahvi, last Friday as he addressed an elaborate reception to mark the groundbreaking ceremony for The Jalousie Enclave on the resort’s premises.
“Reaching this groundbreaking milestone was not easy but full of challenges and unavoidable delays. But we have persevered and I’m thrilled to announce today that we anticipate a soft opening on December 5, 2010, providing some 250 permanent and highly-coveted jobs, this despite the crises. The byproducts of any development are the much-needed jobs,” Mahvi said.
The Jalousie Enclave will be comprised of an environmentally-friendly residential community-styled ambience in the Val des Pitons. Located on the Jalousie Bay, it will be the first “green” residential community in the world offering buyers the opportunity to acquire property in a designated World Heritage Site.
Set within a 196-acre awe-inspiring aura, The Jalousie Enclave will include a limited collection of 21 two-bedroom or three-bedroom villas and 52 estates that will be built to suit the highest international conservation standards.
It will also include a clubhouse area and world-class spa; landscaping surrounding the luxury villas and single family residences; open spaces including walkways, botanical gardens, and lake area; site gardening; and overall road enhancements.
To crown it all off, two fine dining restaurants, a lake and seven new PGA golf clubs and courses will add to the aesthetics of the pristine rainforest locale that overlooks the Caribbean Sea.
A proposed US$21 million is expected to be raised by the Mahvi Group and other private sector interests to be used for advancing the infrastructural and social transformation of communities throughout the island, especially Soufriere, Mahvi stated. He indicated that that figure is expected to increase to US$100 million.
In his brief remarks, Prime Minister Stephenson King said that in light of St. Lucia’s heavy dependence on tourism and direct foreign investment, support to serious investors must be extended.


 
“When in the midst of all of this (financial crisis), investors like Pascal who came to St. Lucia more that fifteen years ago and saw the need and the vision and demonstrated that confidence through his action at Jalousie (Plantation) and having maintained that interest and can return now at this time amidst all that is taking place internationally and even the threats to our own local economy, to come today on this occasion and to break ground, it is a demonstration of the confidence that Pascal himself has in himself and his ability to do it and certainly the confidence in St. Lucia,” PM King remarked.
Tourism Minister, Senator Allen Chastanet, while noting that the island is blessed with a natural competitive edge on the world stage, said all necessary measures should be taken to ensure that the island progresses in that regard.
“When a company like The M Group comes and is prepared to make this level of investment, we must all find a way to give them not some of our support, not most of our support but all of our support. The time has come for St. Lucia and St. Lucians, in particular, to now step up to the plate,” the Tourism Minister emphasized.
Soufriere MP, Harold Dalson, expressed his gratitude to the M Group for their initiative and for the spin-offs that will accrue from the major investment.
“The people of Soufriere are very excited about the project because, as we all know, this little town of Soufriere, despite the fact that we have the biggest assemblage of natural beauty, Soufriere remains ignored by the relevant authorities,” Dalson said.
Construction works on the new project is expected to begin within the first half of next year, Mahvi indicated.