Wednesday, August 10, 2022

COVID-19 Protocols For Election Campaigning Now In Effect

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COVID-19 protocols for election campaigning in Saint Lucia came into effect Tuesday, with the Department of Health and Wellness indicating that the measures are subject to constant review in the light of the changing environment, Government, Health and legislative requirements.

According to the preamble to the new protocols, elections usually involve sizeable, state gatherings, not only on Election Day but also during campaign meetings, processions, motorcades, marches and voter registration drives.

The new requirements are reproduced below:

PRE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN
Political Party (Administration)
o Administration must design a Covid-19 Action plan to submit to the Environmental
Health Division for review and appraisal prior to the campaign period. The plan must
detail measures put in place to address all areas of the operation to mitigate the spread
of COVID-19 during the conducting of campaigns, taking into consideration but not
limited to the following;
– It is suggested that requirements for the said plan be listed for ease of reference
– For example Loud Music Permit
– Number of people that can be accommodated with adequate spacing- Number of Sanitizing stations
– Social distancing for all appropriate areas.
– Provision of masks in case individuals do not have a proper face covering
– Outlining procedures for dealing with an individual who becomes ill at the rally.
– Provisions for frequent cleaning and sanitizing of equipment and surfaces and
hygiene of participants/followers
o Identify a team that will audit the COVID-19 Action Plan and SOPs to ensure
compliance on the designated day.

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PRE-CAMPAIGN PERIOD
Voter Education
o Sensitisation of communities, party supporters and politicians:
Develop and publicise code of conduct for political parties – Set guidelines for
conducting campaigns:
– Ensure message is clear, accessible and frequent on campaign processes:
Information on COVID-19, its modes of transmission, and ways of combating it;
follow best practices in health literacy (short messages that use active voice,
familiar words and culturally relevant visuals should be used)
– Provide messages that promote behaviours such as hand hygiene, respiratory
etiquette, practicing physical distancing
o Educate all election staff and volunteers on campaigning process and measures put in
place to protect them.

CAMPAIGN PERIOD
The stage of the outbreak in a country or region- Case growth trajectory will provide
authorities with an idea of whether the number of infections is on an upward trajectory, has stabilized or is declining, in conjunction with this the existing Country regulations. While these variables alone cannot guarantee the safety of elections, as new spikes can occur, stable and declining numbers provide a more optimistic scenario for elections. This will help determine whether authorities will allow Public Rallies or postpone them.
Small Constituency Office Meetings (Planning meetings/not advertised/not public)
 In-person meetings should be limited and done virtually where possible.
 For in person meetings physical distancing must be followed space (a minimum of 30
square feet per individual)
 Wearing of appropriate face covering
 Details of attendees must be recorded for contact tracing purposes
An accurate record of attendees would include:
o A person’s full name
o Their address
o An effective means of communicating with them (for example, an active
phone number or email address)o Time at which the person arrived and left the event
In-Person Public Meetings (outdoor/indoor)/Advertised
o Candidates and teams must ensure that all applicable sections of the COVID- 19
(prevention and Control) Act 2020 are implemented:
– Mass crowd gathering (impose limits on the number of individuals permitted at
gatherings) in relation to venue size
– Wearing of mask
– Social distancing
– Environmental Sanitization
– Hand Hygiene
o Ensure crowd control measures are instituted
o Provide adequate security
o Provide washroom facilities which should be manned and sanitized
o Provide designated ingresses and egresses
Door-to-Door Campaigning
o Candidates and teams must ensure that all applicable sections of the COVID- 19
(prevention and Control) Act 2020 are implemented
o People conducting door-to-door campaigns must:
– Practice risk-mitigation measures to limit person to-person interaction and mitigate risks from transferring leaflets and other campaign material, it is important that campaigners maintain a safe distance from others.
– Wear masks or appropriate face covering/other protective equipment;
– Adopt ways of delivering material that reduce unnecessary touching (e.g. leaving
materials outside the door rather than handing them directly to residents).

OUTDOOR/OPEN AIR MEETINGS/LARGE PUBLIC MEETINGS
Proposed meetings should be conducted within large open areas
o Candidates and teams must ensure that all applicable sections of the COVID- 19
(prevention and Control) Act 2020 are implemented:
Wearing Of Mask
Ensure face mask or appropriate face coverings are worn:
By all followers and
All candidates on stage
Social DistancingMaintain physical distancing between:
Candidates on the stage
Followers on the ground
Environmental sanitization
Ensure mics and lecterns are sanitized after each speaker.
Hand Hygiene
Provide adequate measures to facilitate hand hygiene within candidates on stage and
crowd
Security
o Provide adequate security to maintain and enforce crowd control and adherence to
protocols amongst followers
o Provide washroom facilities which should be manned and sanitized
o Provide designated ingresses and egresses

MOTORCADES
o Organizers should reduce the need for in‐ person coordination by providing written or
telephone directions in advance of the event
o The number of persons in vehicles must comply with COVID-19 protocols
o Individuals are advised not to gather outside of their vehicles before or after the
motorcade (if persons do, they must maintain social distance and wear a mask
properly)
o Participants should remain in their vehicles during the entire event and not congregate
outside
o Each vehicle participating in the motorcade should be comprised of individuals from
the same extended bubble family, sanitizer in vehicles
o Vehicles should not drive parallel to each other at any time and should proceed in
single file through the motorcade route.
o Participants should disperse immediately following the motorcade
o The rules of the road must be followed at all times; and
o Relevant regulations with respect to events/parades must be followed
o Mask or appropriate face covering must be worn at all times

MEAL SERVICE
o If meals or beverages are provided they should be prepacked

GENERAL
o Political parties must comply with all requisites of the existing COVID- 19
(Prevention and Control) Act and its enabling regulations:
– Provide instructions on health precautions for public meetings, marches,
processions debates and other mass crowd gatherings – Adopt or expand access to the media and other methods for remote campaigning
– Consider televised debates between candidates
– Consider debates, press briefings and other events broadcast via radio, television or
online.
– Outdoor events provide more space and better ventilation. Ensure physical
distancing of three feet, and provide hand-washing stations with hand sanitizer, if
possible.

PERMIT REQUIRED FOR PUBLIC MEETINGS
According to Section 3 of the Public Order Act Chap 14.05 Revised Laws of Saint Lucia,
despite anything contained in any other enactment, but subject to section 8, a person shall not organize, hold, call together or address a meeting in any public place unless a permit has been issued in respect thereof by or on behalf of The Commissioner of Police.

APPLICATIONS FOR PERMITS OF MEETINGS
According to section 4 of the Public Order Act Chap 14.05 Revised Laws of Saint Lucia,
(1) Subject to subsection (3) any person who desires to organise, hold or call together a meeting in a public place shall, at least 3 days before the day on which it is proposed to hold such meeting, apply to the Commissioner of Police for a permit and any such application may be made by delivering it to the Commissioner of Police or to a police officer in charge of the police station nearest to the place at which the meeting is to be held.
(2) Every application under subsection (1) shall be in writing and shall specify—
(a) the name or names of the person or persons desiring to organise hold or call
together the meeting;
(b) the purpose or purposes of the meeting;
(c) the place at which the meeting is to be held and the approximate time at which
it is to begin; and
(d) the name of every speaker who is to address the meeting.

MARCHES AND PROCESSIONS (MOTORCADES)
In accordance to section 9 of the Public Order Act Chap 14.05 Revised Laws of Saint Lucia,
a permit is required for public marches or audio visual exhibitions. Despite anything
contained in any other enactment but subject to section 15, a person shall not organise, lead or take part in any public march, or exhibit visual images with or without sound in any public place, unless a permit has been issued by the Commissioner of Police. (Substituted by Act 5 of 1983)

APPLICATION FOR PERMITS FOR MARCHES OR EXHIBITIONS
As stated in section 10 of the Public Order Act Chap 14.05 Revised Laws of Saint Lucia:
(1) Any person who desires to organise any public march or meeting with a view to
exhibit any visual images with or without sound in a public place shall, at least 3
days before the day on which such public march or exhibition is to take place, apply
to the Commissioner of Police for a permit.
(2) Every application under subsection (1) shall be in writing and shall contain
particulars of—
(a) the name or names of the person or persons desiring to organise the public
march or the exhibition to which the application relates;
(b) the purpose or purposes of the march or the exhibition;
(c) in the case of a public march the point of departure route and the point of
termination of march or in the case of an audio visual exhibition, the place of
exhibition;
(d) the hours between which the march or the exhibition shall take place; and
(e) an estimate of the number of persons who are expected to take part in the
march or to witness the exhibition.
(Substituted by Act 5 of 1983)
Applicants are advised to familiarize themselves with the Public Order Act Cap 14.05
Revised Laws of Saint Lucia prior to submitting an application.
Campaign Activity Quota:
Guiding Principle: All campaign activities/events must comply with COVID 19
prevention and control protocols as directed by the Ministry of Health.
1. Small Constituency Office Meetings (Planning meetings/not advertised/not public)
– No limit on the number of meetings
2. In-Person Public Constituency Meetings
– No limit on the number of meetings. All meetings will require the prior approval
of the Police.
3. National Public Political Meetings/Rallies
– No National Public meeting/rally will be permitted during the campaign to reduce
the risk of infection associated with major Mass Crowd gatherings.
4. Island Wide National Motorcades- Island wide National Motorcades will only be permitted on a Saturday, Sunday or Public Holiday
– Each party will be permitted one (1) Island wide motorcade per week
– Permission will be granted for constituency whistle-stops.
5. Constituency Motorcades (only within the Constituency)
– One (1) each per Party/Independent candidate per constituency per week.
North of the Island means: From Gros-Islet to – Dennery South and Gros-Islet to Ansle
La Raye/Canaries
South of the Island means: From Micoud North to Soufriere/Fond St. Jacques
Curfew compliance
All authorized activities must end at least 1 hour before the curfew time.
Application Process:
– Parties must apply to the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) at least 3 days
in advance of the day of the proposed event/activity (motorcades and public
meetings) providing all details on the activity
– Parties/Organizers must gain written authorization/approval from the Police
before proceeding with any activity
All applications be made to the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force at
copsec.rslpf@gmail.com
NB: Please be reminded that offences regarding this campaign protocol are created under the principle legislative documents, i.e., the Public Order Act Cap 14,05 Revised Laws of Saint Lucia and Statutory Instruments No. 98 A of 2021- the Constitution of Saint Lucia (State of Emergency) (Amendment) (No 4) Regulations, Statutory Instrument No 98 B of 2021 – COVID -19 (Prevention and Control) (Protocol) (Public Omnibus) (Amendment) Regulations, Statutory Instrument No, 98 D of 2021 – COVID- 19 (Prevention and Control) Physical Distancing (No. 7) Order and Statutory Instrument No. 98 E 2021 – COVID-19 (Preventionand Control) (Prohibition of Assembly) (No. 7) Order.

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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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