Chastanet Defends Move To Extend State Of Emergency

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Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has defended a move to extend Saint Lucia’s current state of emergency by an additional five months.

He spoke to reporters Tuesday as he arrived at parliament where the motion was down for consideration.

“The state of emergency is required to be the  legislative tool to allow us to implement a curfew system,” Chastanet explained.

He said all of the other protocols are under the COVID Act.

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“The state of emergency is only being used to regulate the curfew times,” the PM stated.

He asserted that without the state of emergency, the authorities would be unable to implement curfew times.

“As you have seen, the curfew times along with the economic activity are the two things we use to try to keep the COVID under control,” Chastanet stated.

And he expressed the view that so far the authorities have been doing a relatively good job.

“I think that most people would agree that the 9 o’clock curfew has been working out relatively well,” Chastanet said.

But he acknowledged that it’s not ideal for some restaurants and bars.

Nevertheless, the PM told reporters that in terms of keeping cases under control, allowing the economy to turn over and allowing people to keep their businesses open, it has been ideal in that respect.

He said the curfew is decided by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer which advises the Command Centre.

He explained that the Command Centre passes the information to cabinet.

“If in fact the protocols are going to be changed, the recommendation is made for them to be changed, it is then brought to NEMAC which is the wider body, and there is a thorough discussion of the proposed protocols and then they’re implemented.”

“Right now, the recommendation is that we do not change any of the protocols,” Chastanet disclosed.

The current state of emergency expires on May 16.

Chastanet said it is much easier to cancel the emergency than implement it.

“It takes parliament to give the authority of a state of emergency,” the PM told reporters.

“But the government, once it decides that we don’t need a state of emergency, meaning what we don’t need to have curfews in place anymore, then we simply have to issue an SI (Statutory Instrument) and it will be suspended,” he stated.

Headline photo: Allen Chastanet (File image)

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

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