Saint Lucia fishers caught engaging in human trafficking activities will have their fishing license suspended for a period of one year, according to new COVID-19 protocols.
The measure is among several announced after a meeting Tuesday.
The meeting included a government delegation led by Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, fishers and the police.
It discussed ways fishers and law enforcement can work together to better protect the nation’s borders amidst the high occurrences of illegal entry into the country, according to a release from the Office of the Prime Minister.
The gathering was convened amid an ‘uproar’ in the fishing community over a decision by the government to suspend commercial fishing for a week from Monday, November 2 to Sunday, November 8.
The initiative was adopted in a bid to halt the illegal entry into Saint Lucia from neighbouring Martinique which is currently on COVID-19 lockdown.
However, fishers will be back on the job Thursday under the new COVID-19 protocols governing their operations.
Prime Minister Chastanet believes that monitoring the movement of vessels will assist greatly in controlling borders.
According to his office, a GPS system is soon to be a reality for fishers and will be part of fishing license holder’s agreement.
In the meantime, a plea is being made for fisherfolk to join the fight to protect Saint Lucia’s borders.
At a joint Press Briefing which took place after the meeting, the Prime Minister continued to stress on the need for everyone to appreciate how dynamic the COVID-19 situation is and how vulnerable Saint Lucia is as a country, especially at its borders.
“This is our war to lose, this is our war to win. If we have to keep our borders open and persons working, we must stop this community spread,” said Prime Minister Chastanet in his closing remarks.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sharon Belmar-George, Wednesday announced that the Ministry of Health received confirmation of eight new cases of COVID-19.
The new cases bring the total number of cases diagnosed in country to date to 105.
Headline photo caption: Marine Police vessel on patrol