VF4Cs Renews Call To Renegotiate DSH Deal

Prepared by Julius James for VF4Cs
Image: A design of the proposed Pearl of the Caribbean.

PRESS RELEASE – The Vieux-Fort Concerned Citizens Coalition for Change (VF4Cs) is in possession of documents originating from Invest St. Lucia Ltd. and the CIP Unit which provide technical assessments of the application of the DSH Caribbean Star Project for CIP status. In the first assessment by Invest St. Lucia Ltd., it concluded that:

“As currently described, the project does not meet the criteria for an approved development under current CIP legislation.”

Of particular interest in Invest St. Lucia’s assessment was the statement that “A project of this magnitude must be assessed in totality to determine the viability of the businesses proposed on State-owned assets and reasonable revenue to be forgone by the Government. ISL will be guided accordingly by the decision of the CIU.”

The CIP Unit carried out its technical assessment of the project using a SWOT analysis and examining certain indicators for the success of the project, such as business and financial viability, employment impact, source of capital and descriptive details of activities.

In its submission, the Unit noted that: “The proposal received on March 8th is the seventh submission that DSH Caribbean Star Limited has presented to the Unit for review. One common feature of all the previous submissions and the present one is that the project would not qualify under the current legislation.”

The Unit concluded that: “Based on the analysis of the proposal, the Unit recommends that the Pearl of the Caribbean not be given approved real estate or enterprise project status at this point” and that “an independent third party should be engaged to review the proposal.”

It is important to note the assessments were done in absence of knowing what has been agreed to in the Framework and Supplementary Agreements between the Government of Saint Lucia and DSH Caribbean Star Limited. Both agencies adopted a professional, objective, independent and business-like approach to analyze the project. Both agencies ended up with a negative assessment of the project as a business enterprise and both agencies disapproved it for CIP status.

The disapproval of the DSH Project by both Invest St. Lucia and the CIP Unit reinforces and vindicates the position expressed by the VF4Cs from the beginning that the DSH Project Proposal IS A BAD DEAL FOR ST. LUCIA AND MUST BE RENEGOTIATED.

The referred documents are now in the public domain and neither Invest St. Lucia nor the CIP Unit has challenged the origin and/or authenticity of the documents. The Prime Minister cannot brush aside their technical assessments and public concerns regarding the DSH Project. He must consider that his project plan is fraught with faux pas, miscalculations and incalculable high financial risks for our small island state. If he insists on having his way, this project will push the island rapidly towards financial disaster.

The VF4Cs once again calls on the Prime Minister of St. Lucia to set a plan in motion to renegotiate the DSH Deal so as to bring significant economic benefits to the Vieux Fort area and the wider state of St. Lucia. The recommendation by the CIP Unit that “an independent third party should be engaged to review the proposal” is a good starting point.

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