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Saturday, January 5, 2013


CHOISEUL, ST. LUCIA, Friday, January 4, 2013 - The Piaye Playing field was the centre of cricketing attraction - even if the high-profile cricket match between Choiseul and Soufriere that was commissioned by the former captain of the English cricket team Andrew Strauss didn’t materialize as planned.

The curious question is: What motivated Strauss to commission a cricket match in St. Lucia; and not even in Beausejour or the Mindoo Phillip Park, where world class facilities exist, but in a remote small rural village called Piaye?

We also understand that Strauss was accompanied by the Minister for Youth and Sports as well as the Minister for Tourism and the Creative Arts.

Earlier, a source close Hon Harold Dalson (the parliamentary rep for Soufriere/Fond St. Jacques) told this blog that Strauss was interested in residency and business in Soufriere; and that he was about to procure property in a prime location within the Piton Management Area (PMA).

Subsequently, we found out from the British Press that the former English captain had a “pathological crush” on St. Lucia and that he had adopted it his favourite Caribbean island. Said Strauss, “I absolutely love St Lucia and can’t wait until I can spend some time with my family relaxing and soaking-up some Caribbean sun at my holiday home once it is completed. I am even happier that my investment is safe and bringing me a decent return.”

We soon confirmed that Strauss had invested in a luxury two bedroom villa at Freedom Bay and that he would also be setting-up the Andrew Strauss Cricket Academy on-island.

Freedom Bay Luxury Hotel, Spa Resort and Private Residences is owned by the Malgretoute Hotel Development Company, who is also the corporate sponsor of the Strauss Cricket Academy. The site is located in Malgretoute, Soufriere within a UNESCO World Heritage Site (officially dubbed as the PMA) at the foot of the iconic pitons in St Lucia.

The Strauss Cricket Academy aims to provide access to the game to young people who are passionate about cricket, but who don’t have the means to learn and improve their skills in a disciplined and nurturing environment.  It aims at providing quality coaching and cricketing facilities for St Lucians wishing to experience and learn the skills of the game.

In an interview with the British Press, Strauss declared that his cricket academy “will be the first independent St Lucian Cricket Academy designed to meet the requirements of the young individual cricketer wanting to play the game professionally, or the local school or college team selected to represent their district. The West Indies has a real shortage of cricket training facilities and yet so many St Lucians love playing the sport. I’m ultimately hoping to cultivate a few more St Lucians to make the West Indies team as well as give some of the young St Lucians a positive focus in their lives.” 

Strauss was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on 2 March 1977. He moved at the tender age of 6.

He began his Test career against New Zealand in 2004 and became only the fourth batsman to score a hundred on Test debut at Lord's. He scored first Test of series against West Indies and South Africa and became the joint second fastest England batsman to score 1,000 Test runs, achieving the feat in his tenth match.

In 2005, he played a central role in England's Ashes victory. The triumph earned Strauss an MBE. In 2009 he was nominated for ‘BBC Sports Personality of the Year' and was granted the ‘Freedom of the City of London'. With 19 Test centuries, he is in the top 10 England players of all time. 

The Malgretoute Hotel Development Company is offering property split into two sections: The Hotel and the Private Residential Estate.

In the hotel section, investors have the opportunity to purchase a 1/52nd fraction of a villa, a whole hotel villa or a land plot on which to build their villa. Opportunities are also offered to invest in the “hotel stock” at Freedom Bay which comprises detached villas, each with its own pool.

The Powerhouse has been informed that the exclusive private residential estate will be launched this month.

While his predecessors Michael Vaughan, Andrew Flintoff and Mike Gatting own property on Barbados, Strauss has opted for a new eco-luxury resort within a UNESCO World Heritage site or Piton Management Area. We are pleased for that honour bestowed by him on us.

“It’s incredibly beautiful”, says the South African-born Strauss. “While playing for England, we toured the islands, and amongst all the gorgeous places this was the best. I feel I can totally unwind and switch off there. People in St Lucia are so friendly — you can’t say that about every Caribbean island; they want to welcome you and show you round. So when I heard about this project, I had to get involved. It was a no-brainer.”

Strauss has joined the esteemed ranks of international superstars like Mick Jagger and Oprah Winfrey. Mick Jagger lives nearby, and Oprah Winfrey named the island as one of the five places you should see before you die.

Incidentally, the Pitons served as the background in Tulisa Contostavlos’s “judges’ houses” stage on The X Factor.

Strauss is not just a cricketer; he is an academic with a degree in economics from Durham University. The British Press claims that “it is the economics of the Freedom Bay project that attracted him as much as the beauty”. Strauss himself claimed: “I also see it as an investment. I know there are lots of investments in the West Indies, and having seen the plans I know this will be right at the top of them. It’s great to get in early, with a very sensible and sound investment, from my point of view.”

Yesterday, Choiseulians heard it all from the horse’s mouth in the small south-western coastal village of Piaye, as Strauss rolled out his plans, vision and mission with respect to his cricket academy.

The POWERHOUSE welcomes Strauss to St. Lucia and particularly to Choiseul/Saltibus yesterday. We fully embrace the establishment of the cricket academy and we are confident that it will positively impact the development of cricket in Choiseul.

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