Tourism Minister Dr. Ernest Hilaire says Saint Lucians, the government, and other partners have to fight against the island’s social ills.
“We have to be relentless in our fight. We need to fight until we win this battle against the grave consequences of the social ills that we face,” Hilaire told reporters on Tuesday on the sidelines of a House of Assembly meeting.
“It is unfortunate that sometimes it spills over into areas that are really core to our economic survival. But we are not going to letup. We are going to intensify the fight to ensure that we win this victory,” the Castries South MP asserted.
At the same time, Hilaire explained that Saint Lucians have to have confidence in the future and in what they can achieve and pursue it.
The Minister spoke amid a spike in gun violence locally and extensive British press coverage of the fatal shooting of United Kingdom native Donnie McKinnon, who had been living in Saint Lucia for many years.
McKinnon’s friend and fellow UK native, Peter Jackson, sustained injuries in the shooting at a bar in Soufriere last week.
Regarding the British press coverage, Hilaire explained that management plans are in place to deal with such situations.
“They do arise. They have arisen many times in the past and protocols have been put into place in terms of how we relate to those situations. Is is a concern to all of us – every incident in Saint Lucia is a concern to us,” the Minister told reporters.
And he declared that Saint Lucia has to address the matter.
But Hilaire noted that beyond that, Saint Lucia has a lot to offer.
“This is not Saint Lucia. Saint Lucia is an extraordinarily beautiful place – very rich cultural heritage, fantastic creative expression and we have to sell that,” Hilaire.
Nevertheless, the Minister emphasised the need to address the country’s social ills.