December 13th, National Day in Saint Lucia was the anticipated date earmarked by the Allen Chastanet Administration for the inaugural horseracing event by the much-talked about Desert Star Holdings LTD equine investment firm.
The incumbent first introduced the public to DSH in 2016 during the signing of a proposed multi-billion dollar development deal described as the ‘Pearl of the Caribbean’ project. DSH led by Chairman Teo Ah King along with the Prime Minister’s Cabinet presented sprawling 3-D renderings of the ‘Pearl of the Caribbean’. More than 700 acres of Vieux-Fort land including protected coastal habitat was to make way for the DSH ‘pearl of the Caribbean’ that includes a horseracing track, high-rise hotels, casinos and marinas.
The DSH front-man as well as the Prime Minister say the grand horse racing event was designed to attract the world’s wealthiest to invest and place bets on high stakes thoroughbreds.
Despite protests and demonstrations by political and civil organizations, which oppose the contractual terms and potential environmental impact of the development, construction of the horseracing track got underway in 2016 on more than 100 acres of land at Beausejour, Vieux-Fort.
Invest Saint Lucia reportedly controls most of the development site however, one private landowner is holding out which has stalled construction.
The Prime Minister touched briefly on the hold-up during an appearance on a local talk show. He concedes the low economic viability of a horseracing track but believes high stakes thoroughbred races can lure wealthy clientele to Saint Lucia’s shores.
To date there has been no official word from the government or DSH on the missed target date for the inauguration of the track with the December 13th National Day horseracing event.