Opposition leader Philip J. Pierre, acknowledging that the COVID-19 pandemic has made things difficult for any government, has explained that had he been Prime Minister at the time of the current pandemic, he would have brought this country together.
“That’s what I would have done differently,” he explained to journalist Robert Whitley during an interview broadcast Saturday night on DBS Television.
” If I was the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia at this time of pandemic you would not even know the difference between the government and the opposition,” Pierre stated.
In this regard, he explained that he would have taken the leader of the opposition into his confidence.
Pierre also made reference to the appointment last year by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, of an opposition MP as the country’s new health minister to help combat the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
“Because that’s a time when everybody is panicking,” the Castries East MP noted.
However, he said that the government of Saint Lucia began the division immediately.
And Pierre recalled having stated that Saint Lucia was the worst prepared country for the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, outlining the conditions under which he made that statement, he explained at the time that Saint Lucia had no quarantine facilities and Prime Minister Allen Chastanet was speaking about using Rat Island as a quarantine location.
“Saint Lucia had no testing capabilities when I said so. Saint Lucia had absolutely no idea as to how many people – there was no testing, so I said Saint Lucia was the worst prepared,” Pierre observed.
In this regard, he said he was denigrated and treated like the scum of the earth over his remarks.
“And I have lived to see the day – and I am not gloating about it, I am very, very concerned about it because I’m a Saint Lucian, I know people who have died from COVID – Saint Lucia has done the worst in COVID management in the OECS,” the SLP leader said.
“Saint Lucia has more people dead than the entire OECS put together,” Pierre observed, adding that it was something not to gloat over, but to be sorry about.
He recalled having presented a seven-point plan to the government but observed that it was brushed aside while ruling party surrogates went on the attack.
Pierre expressed the view that the country is now more divided than it should be.