Independent Senator Adrian Augier is concerned over what he describes as a ‘dangerous combination of powers’ in current COVID-19 regulations.
He says exceptional powers are not good for democracy.
While acknowledging that COVID-19 numbers are improving, Augier told reporters on Tuesday however that the country needs to maintain a certain level of vigilance.
And he explained that such vigilance would help Saint Lucia return to normal economic and social activity.
Nevertheless, he recalled when the house first passed the COVID-19 bill.
He stated that he was among individuals who spoke extensively about losing personal freedoms.
Augier observed that the bill empowers government officials to act in ways they do not normally have the power to act.
He noted that it gives immunity from prosecution and allows a waiver of the financial regulations and rules of procurement.
“Also, there was a provision for reports to parliament every six months,” Augier stated.
He explained that the reports would partially hold the authorities accountable during ‘this exceptional time.’
However, he declared that exceptional powers should bring exceptional responsibility.
But the Independent Senator told reporters that he is not seeing that balance.
He also expressed concern that the the authorities have not reversed the waiver of standard regulations regarding expenditure and control.
Augier believes the authorities need to reverse it and bring it back to normal as soon as possible.
He was of the opinion that Saint Lucia is beyond a health emergency at this time.
As a result, Augier said he assumed that the last extension of the emergency provisions marked a lessening of the time frame for their existence.
At any rate, Augier felt it would be difficult to bring things back to where they were originally.
“People get used to operating in a certain manner,” he told reporters.