Sunday 25 August, 2019

US Delegation to Help Source Investors for Lucian Investments

David Bohigian

David Bohigian

A visiting delegation from the United States Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has promised to source investors for some of the investment opportunities in Saint Lucia.

Head of the delegation, OPIC’s Acting President and Chief Executive Officer David Bohigian said he will talk to investors in order to help them understand the type of investments available in Saint Lucia.

St. Lucia was the last stop of a five-country tour of the Caribbean by the delegation that included stops in the Bahamas, Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.

The delegation’s visit is as a direct result of a meeting that leaders of the aforementioned countries had with President Donald Trump last March in Florida during which Trump promised to send a team to their countries within 90 days to look into investment opportunities there.

Discussions at the meeting between Trump and the leaders of the five Caribbean countries were over trade, energy investment and security concerns.

Bohigian, in a gathering that included reporters and government officials including Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, explained how much the US welcomes the opportunity to develop Saint Lucia’s investment pipeline and meeting its development goals.

“There is interest from President Trump to invest more in Saint Lucia. Our next step is to go back to Washington and help policymakers understand the environment down here from a strategic standpoint. More importantly what we can do in the days that follow, is talk to investors throughout the United States to help them understand the opportunities you are building here in infrastructure, tourism and beyond where we can help empower entire societies,” Bohigian said.

The delegation visited specific sites like the cargo facility in Vieux Fort where government is proposing to build a new cruise ship terminal with Carnival Cruise Lines. Prime Minister Chastanet said feasibility and technical studies have already been done on that project, which has a projected price tag of $55 million.

Chastanet said the new cruise terminal would involve the construction of a new pier to hold two 6000 passenger ships.

The other area of possible investment looked at by the delegation from OPIC was Cul de Sac as a cargo port. Prime Minister Chastanet explained that the goal was to see if construction could begin no later than the end of this year “in order to have a new cargo facility in the next two years in that location.”

The third area of possible investment by the OPIC delegation is what is known as the North/South Highway, now broken down into three parts.

Chastanet explained that the first part of that project begins from the Daren Sammy Stadium to Dennery with a major road artery from Babonneau to the Allan Bousquet Highway.

Phase two of that project, according to the prime minister would be from Dennery to the Barre de Lisle via a tunnel which would then connect to a new highway to where the new cargo facility will be located.

Phase three of the project is not for the immediate future however it will be the continuation of the road from Dennery to Vieux Fort.

“The first phase of the project is critical to us because of the traffic congestion we are experiencing between Castries and Gros Islet. We do not have the physical space to introduce a four-lane highway,” Chastanet said.

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation known as OPIC is the US Government’s development finance institution that helps American businesses invest in emerging markets. That institution partners with businesses of all sizes in sectors from critical infrastructure to electricity, healthcare and financial services.

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