Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has defended Saint Lucia’s new curfew measures for Easter, citing short term pain for long term gain.
He recalled that he has said in the past that the Island’s COVID-19 protocols are not like a switch that the authorities can turn either on or off.
“We said it’s a dimmer switch, ” Chastanet observed.
As a result, he said depending on what’s happening, Saint Lucia can either increase or reduce the lighting.
“You’re always adjusting it based on what’s trending,” the PM stated.
He made the comments last week during an appearance on Blazin FM.
Chastanet noted that the authorities had the Christmas and New Year experience.
“We had protocols in, we reduced the amount of time, we reduced the amount of people,” he recalled.
But he said that sadly, Christmas and the New Year are ’emotional’ times and people were unable to contain themselves.
Chastanet said because of that, Saint Lucia recorded a significant increase in COVID-19 cases.
He asserted that indiscipline caused the surge.
However, the PM noted that with other measures that the authorities put on place, the numbers have been coming down.
Nevertheless he said people seem to be getting overconfident.
“When we spoke to the CMO and in particular the police, they were terrified – both groups, as to what they were seeing trending and how they were going to now control just a 7 O’ clock curfew, particularly persons going to the beaches, persons going to river limes and people going to house parties,” Chastanet told Blazin FM.
“So we had to put this in,” he said of the change in curfew hours.
Chastanet cited examples in the Caribbean and the world.
And he declared that everyone now recognises that during important vacation periods, they need to tighten COVID-19 protocols.
The PM said to do otherwise could result in a significant outbreak and everyone will pay the price.
From Thursday to Good Friday, a 7:00 pm to 4:00 am curfew was in effect.
The curfew changed by an hour on Saturday, beginning at 6:00 pm.
But Saint Lucia has adjusted it further for Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, running from 3:00 pm to 4:00 am.