The government has been explaining its decision to go to parliament to extend the current state of emergency.
Parliament will meet on Tuesday.
One motion before the house seeks to extend the current COVID-19 state of emergency.
The government wants to extend it for a further ninety days.
It wants the new measure to commence from February11, 2021 and end on the May 16, 2021.
The government’s Senior Communications Officer, Nicole Mc Donald, says it’s not something new in terms of the time frame.
She recalled that in 2020 Saint Lucia had a state of emergency for three months.
Mc Donald noted that the first emergency lasted from March 23 to April 26
And she observed that the second ran from April 27 to May 31.
“Following that we had a state of emergency from June 1 to September 30.”
She observed that afterwards, parliament passed the COVID-19 legislation.
According to Mc Donald, Saint Lucia was operating under it for some time until the COVID-19 numbers began to rise.
“It was important, according to our health officials, that we pull back and begin to limit movement,” Mc Donald said.
She disclosed that in January, Saint Lucia recorded triple the COVID-19 cases it had in December.
According to her, Saint Lucia is definitely at a crisis level in terms of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mc Donald explained that the state of emergency will enable the government to respond quickly in the event that the numbers continue to rise.
“A state of emergency, as the Prime Minister explained, is the legislation we have on our books to allow us to institute the curfew.”
“So for now, the state of emergency is only linked to the curfew,” Mc Donald stated.
She said business operations are still under the COVID-19 act.
“So as it stands right now, the current protocols under the COVID-19 act would finish on February 10,” Mc Donald said.
She explained that the Command Centre would then review and make recommendations to cabinet regarding which businesses can open, what phase to enter or whether to pull back.
“The state of emergency is merely the legal framework which allows you to put in the curfew,” Mc Donald said.
“It does not mean that businesses will stay closed over this three month period.”
She also said it does not mean that Saint Lucia will have a curfew for a three-month period.
“That all depends on how we manage the numbers and the pandemic,” Mc Donald observed.
In addition, she said Saint Lucia can lift the state of emergency.
Headline photo caption: Prime Minister Allen Chastanet addresses parliament (File image)