Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has defended the passage Tuesday of the controversial COVID-19 Protection & Control Bill, asserting that the Saint Lucia constitution permits the measure.
“This Bill is permissible under the Constitution as it exists to maintain and protect the interests of public safety, public order and public health and for related matters,” Chastanet wrote Wednesday on his official Facebook page.
“This Bill, notwithstanding the existence of any other piece of legislation, is for the sole purpose of controlling the spread of COVID-19 outside a State of Emergency. Therefore, it does not conflict with any other piece of legislation,” he explained.
“For emphasis this is not a State of Emergency Bill!” The PM declared.
He recalled that on March 23rd, 2020 it became necessary to implement a State of Emergency to protect the health and safety of Saint Lucians amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PM observed that the State of Emergency officially ended on Wednesday, September 30th, 2020.
“As predicted by the Director General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, we anticipate the threat of COVID-19 to be around for the next two years. As COVID-19 cases and deaths have started to spike again globally, we are still in a very critical position and need to put targeted, sustained measures to protect the health of citizens, Chastanet said.
He noted that given what he described as ‘this grim reality’, it is necessary to introduce the COVID-19 (Prevention and Control) Bill, specifically to deal with and manage the effect and impact of COVID-19 which continues to be a threat to Saint Lucia.