The opposition United Workers Party (UWP) on Thursday criticised the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) administration’s handling of what was described as a national health crisis.
“We are therefore extremely concerned about a lack of direction and irresponsible behavior exhibited by this government in its management of the pandemic,” UWP Senator, Phera Polius told a news conference.
She told reporters that the current COVID-19 surge needs immediate implementation of more assertive measures to reverse the spike, safeguard the health of the people and keep the economy buoyant.
She referred to the government’s stated intention to decriminalise COVID-19 protocol violations and expunge the criminal records of violators, at a time when viral infections and deaths are spiralling not only locally, but throughout the region and the world.
“This is ridiculous. What underlying message is this government conveying to the people of this country regarding its position on the pandemic and how it intends to combat this virus? Was the decision to expunge COVID-19 criminal records a move to primarily exonerate popular SLP operatives? It is no wonder, based on observations and reports, that many Saint Lucians are now becoming carefree in the wearing of masks in public, adhering to curfew and other protocols,” Polius asserted.
According to her, the approach of simply talking and encouraging citizens to comply was not working eight or ten months ago.
She observed that while some citizens were and are still disciplined in their actions, many failed and to this day still fail to comply or refuse to comply, hence the need for ‘aggressive monitoring and enforcement.’
But Polius declared that today, when the situation is at its worst and governments across the globe are strengthening guidelines, protocols and regulations, Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre finds it fitting to relax on some of the same previously established regulations and simply hopes that encouraging and educating citizens alone will most effectively combat the spread of COVID-19.
The UWP Senator declared that in its desperation to be elected to office the SLP created ‘one big hoax’, claiming that the then UWP government did not care and that the COVID-19 Prevention and Control Bill was illegal, the State of Emergency was oppressive and Saint Lucia should close its borders.
She also said the SLP claimed that it was the intention of then Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, to prevent people from socialising and interacting with their family and friends.
“Now that the shoe is on the other foot, the labour party is telling a different narrative,” the UWP Senator told reporters.