Opposition leader Philip J. Pierre has raised questions in regard to whether this country is adequately prepared for Coronavirus.
Pierre, accused by the ruling United Workers Party (UWP) of creating panic with recent statements about the virus, said in response that the same accusation should be levelled at the entire world.
In an address to a Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) Town Hall meeting in Dennery on Tuesday, he had asserted that Saint Lucia is the worst prepared country in the region for Coronavirus.
The ruling party condemned the statement.
“Why haven’t we purchased testing equipment?” Pierre told a news conference this week.
He observed that Barbados and Dominica have the testing equipment.
The SLP leader recalled what he described as a situation with the Carnival Fascination last week.
“The boat was not allowed to come ashore because some people on the ship had symptoms of flu,” Pierre told reporters.
According to Pierre, the vessel, which had a Saint Lucian aboard, was turned away and went to Barbados.
“The Prime Minister of Barbados acted swiftly – they boarded the ship and the testing took place,” he told reporters.
He said the passengers were found to be negative and given an all clear.
Pierre said the Carnival Fascination was not in Saint Lucia on Thursday, the day of his news conference, but had gone to Dominica because of the way they were treated since Saint Lucia did not have testing facilities.
He explained that the questions he was raising were not political in nature.
“The government by its own admission says that Saint Lucia depends on tourism. The government should have had from December – like other countries, imported and purchased testing facilities,” the Castries East MP asserted.
He declared that there’s no excuse for the lack of testing facilities in Saint Lucia.
Pierre said the government is obsessed with politics, giving every statement a ‘political twist’.
“I have no benefit in the country suffering from the Coronavirus. What benefit do I have as (leader of ) a political party seeking to win an election if the country suffers from Coronavirus? I have no benefit,” the SLP leader told Thursday’s news conference.