Community Activist, Aaron Alexander, has called for the reinstatement of COVID-19 wardens under a fresh mandate, and with a different ‘more peaceful’ name such as ‘COVID Ambassadors’ as was suggested by the Recover Saint Lucia Initiative some months ago.
“Or call them Peace Officers as is stated in the Policing Act,” Alexander, who is also the Deputy leader of the National Green Party (NGP), said in a statement on Thursday.
“They should have a fresh mandate of giving masks out to our people instead of arresting them for not wearing a mask – giving them a ticket for those who refuse to wear a mask after they are given one,” he explained.
In November 2020, then Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, announced that 200 wardens were being recruited to assist the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) and the village and city councils with enforcement of COVID-19 protocols.
But the ‘Peace Officers Programme’ was discontinued as of April 30, 2021 and ‘alternative options’ were under consideration for its 173 wardens, according to a government statement.
Before the programme stopped, there were numerous clashes involving citizens and the wardens as they sought to arrest individuals accused of violating COVID-19 protocols.
However, new Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre, has adopted the position that people need to be persuaded and encouraged to comply with the protocol guidelines instead of being threatened and punished.
The recall of the COVID wardens under a fresh mandate was one of several measures Aaron Alexander recommended in the fight against COVID-19.
He also spoke of the need to promote, encourage and educate the population about vaccination which he described as the fastest way of arresting the infection rate while reducing hospitalisations and deaths.
“However, remember some people like fast food, yes, but there are those who like to stand in their kitchen and prepare their home-cooked meals, so respect everybody’s right,” Alexander asserted.
He also said that the Ministry of Health should educate people on the foods they need to eat to help keep their immune systems strong and ‘flood’ communities throughout Saint Lucia with Vitamins D, C, and Zinc to get people to boost their immune system.
According to the NGP Deputy leader, even people who take the vaccine should be given a ‘take away package’ of the same vitamins to encourage them to keep their immune system strong.
He suggested that the revamped COVID warden unit could be used to distribute the vitamin packages to the people.
In addition, Alexander declared that there’s a place for herbal remedies and Ivermectin in the COVID-19 fight.
“We must make use of all the tools at our disposal to fight against COVID-19,” the NGP Deputy leader declared.
Headline stock photo: COVID Wardens on patrol