Asserting that ‘this Government must be mad’, Castries South MP Doctor Ernest Hilaire has strongly criticised the Allen Chastanet administration over what he described as a ‘highly oppressive’ law relating to the hospitality sector.
“At 1.00 am, a Bill is put through all its stages and becomes law. Yes, law, whilst Saint Lucians are asleep,” Hilaire wrote Wednesday on the official Facebook page of the opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP).
He recalled that despite protestations from the SLP Parliamentarians, Saint Lucia now has a new law that is highly oppressive, unjust and unfair.
“Now let us get it clear, I support establishing standards for the hospitality sector but surely we must be reasonable and care for ordinary people trying to make a living,” the Castries South MP stated.
“Why should we pass such a law? I want you to read Section 27A and the definitions. The definition of Accommodation Service is so wide and taken literally, section 27A would mean that you can’t offer anyone to rent from you without registering under the Act,” he explained.
Hilaire’s post was accompanied by a snapshot of the sections.
“Let me give an example. You have an empty apartment downstairs your house and have some friends in Trinidad who usually visit for Jazz and Carnival. You offer that they can stay by you at a reasonable price. They spend a few days. You are not registered. You can be arrested and charged up to $100,000 and/or 4 years in jail,” Hilaire asserted.
“Another example. You have that house for rent and someone wants to rent for one month. Then another person rents for two months. Then another for one month. If you are not registered, you can be arrested and charged up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to 4 years in jail,” the SLP MP declared.
“$100,000 and/or. 4 years in prison for failing to register your room or apartment that you make available as a sleeping accommodation. Is it really necessary to criminalize such failure?” Hilaire wrote.