Press Release:- The impact COVID-19 has had on Saint Lucian families, both on island and abroad has been well-documented. Thousands of jobs were lost. Many lives too were lost, and several families were forced to be oceans apart, due to the strict coronavirus protocols countries the world over instituted. Less known however, is how these very issues affected our political leaders.
Over the past year, Saint Lucia’s leaders have, to their credit, put our families, even before theirs, and have spoken little about the trials they went through; busy trying to keep all families safe.
With restrictions easing and with our various sectors on the road to recovery, Lenard ‘Spider’ Montoute was able to speak a bit about how that initial wave of COVID-19 affected his particular situation.
At Sunday evening’s Flambeau Forum, the Local Government Minister and Gros Islet MP recalled: “It was a significant juggling act in that while I had my duties on the ground to perform, I was also concerned about my family because for a moment my son was working in New York; and remember at that time New York was the epicenter of the pandemic. My daughter and wife were living in Miami and the pandemic became widespread in that area as well. During times of crisis, it’s typical for us to want consolidation and solidarity. You get comfort and assurance from being close to loved ones and from being together. But we were able to remain in touch and were able to comfort each other to a certain extent and thankfully, we got through that trying period.”
Despite concerns about his immediate family, the Gros Islet MP’s heart was never far from his extended family. Speaking about how his interactions with his constituents had to change during that period, he explained: “On the ground it was really a challenge. Given the fact that I represent a very populous constituency, I had to reorient myself in terms of how I went about doing things. The use of technology became very prominent. There was decreased face-to-face interaction while of course simultaneously, the need for social intervention had increased dramatically.”
Montoute credited the UWP for already laying the groundwork pre-COVID-19 for Saint Lucian success in an increasingly digitized world, which in turn smoothed the road for family communication during that stressful period.