Castries, February 14, 2022 – St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC) on Monday, February 14, 2022 committed to donate four hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($450,000) to the newly established Government of Saint Lucia Social Assistance Fund (SAF). The programme will benefit indigent members of the society.
Speaking at the launch of the Fund, LUCELEC Managing Director Trevor Louisy encouraged all to “broaden your perception of who that is. It’s not just the people we all traditionally think of. No, COVID-19 has given rise to the ‘new needy’.”
COVID-19’s immediate and protracted impact has thrust many into a position where they now need social assistance. That is one of the reasons LUCELEC responded to the call from the Government of Saint Lucia to establish this Social Assistance Fund for the provision of food and basic necessities for those who need it most. LUCELEC will contribute the donated funds in three instalments of $150,000 and hopes the fund will grow quickly as other corporate entities contribute to yet another effort to help families through the extended impact of this pandemic.
Mr. Louisy noted that the private sector, LUCELEC included, has supported the Government and people of Saint Lucia in responding to the impact of COVID-19, in various ways, since this pandemic began directly affecting the country in early 2020. That private sector support has included cash contributions; spear-heading food or grocery donations and feeding drives; the provision of laptops, tablets and other digital devices to allow students to participate in remote learning; providing personal protective equipment to emergency first responders; and testing equipment and supplies to enable quick turnaround of COVID-19 test results and care for COVID-19 patients.
Mr Louisy says between April 2020 and August 2021, LUCELEC contributed more than three-quarters of a million dollars to the local COVID-19 pandemic response, of which, just under $650,000 was direct assistance to the Government of Saint Lucia and its agencies. And for more than a year, the company did not disconnect customers for arrears, and continues to work with customers to manage payment on their accounts.
“We are all going through a challenging period with this pandemic, and we’re doing what is within our power to assist those affected and the country, through it. Obviously, some have been more impacted than others, but none of us has been left unscathed from COVID-19,” says Mr Louisy.
The Social Assistance Fund will be managed directly by the SSDF (St. Lucia Social Development Fund) and will target people who are not already receiving support under the Ministry of Equity’s Public Assistance Programme, but those whom the pandemic has pushed below the poverty line.