Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Probe, Safety Measures Announced After Anse La Raye Snakebite Death

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Saint Lucia’s Forestry Department has expressed condolences following the death of an Anse La Raye resident on Monday after a snake bit him and has outlined several safety measures individuals can implement.

According to reports, a fer-de-lance bit Joseph Rigobert the previous day near his farm in the community and he died later in hospital.

Senior Wildlife Officer Pius Haynes described the incident as very unfortunate and told St Lucia Times that on behalf of the Forestry Department, he wanted to offer sincere condolences to the family of the deceased.

Haynes said he did not have the details regarding the incident but disclosed that the department had launched an investigation.

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At the same time, he explained that the public could take specific steps to prevent or survive a snake bite.

“The question of time is very important – the time that it takes from being bitten to getting the anti-venom is very important,” Haynes explained.

He advised snakebite victims to get to the OKEU Hospital as soon as possible, at least within three to four hours, to provide a good chance for not only survival but making a complete recovery without complications.

According to Haynes, people also need to plan if working in fer-de-lance areas such as Anse La Raye, Canaries, Dennery, and Praslin.

“You must have an emergency plan. You must plan ahead so that you could help mitigate against a snake bite,” the Forestry Department official told St Lucia Times.

He spoke of the need to have a mobile telephone that works, has good battery life, and making sure that the area to be visited has mobile telephone coverage.

In addition, Haynes said it was important to alert others to one’s whereabouts and the estimated time of return so that those individuals can investigate in the event of a prolonged absence.

He also identified the need for a transport plan, especially when working in a remote area like a farm, and noted that people have to remain vigilant in an area with snakes.

Nevertheless, Haynes acknowledged that some might not see a snake or step on it.

In this regard, he pointed to the importance of proper gear.

“Even if persons do not have the snake legging for example or a snake boot, it is important at least that you have some decent footwear when working in a fer-de-lance area. For example, a good quality pair of rubber boots – Wellingtons, would be good. It is better than nothing,” he explained.

Haynes advised against open footwear while recommending sturdy closed shoes and baggy rather than tight trousers, explaining that many snake bites occur at the lower extremities of the limbs – the foot and legs, especially below the knees. But he also stated that snakes bite people on the hands as well.

And in the event of a snake bite, Haynes said it was important not to interfere with the area.

“If you put a tourniquet on your leg it would do more harm than good because it restricts the circulation of your blood and it can even create major complications. So we recommend that persons do not interfere with the bite area after a snake injury. The most that persons can do is use some clean water to wash the area – wash off the excess venom but there is no need to cut or burn or attempt to suck out the venom because that would be futile. Once the snake has bitten you then the venom would travel,” Haynes explained.

And he said if the bite is on the hand, it would be necessary for victims to remove rings, watches, or bracelets.

Haynes observed that the area would swell, so removing the accessories would assist blood flow.

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.


  1. To : “wildlife officer” again jackasses in position have you ever heard of training are the nurses at the health center incapable of learning?

  2. Why should we mourn mournfully like dove ?
    Because,we look for justice,and find none ?
    So justice is far away from us and our rights does not reach us ?
    For deliverence, but it was far away,so justice is driven back,our rights stands at a distance,and the truth is nowhere to be found.
    So very sad that nothing could not heal your wound, your fatal injury.
    My sincerly condolances
    To the familles and loved ones !
    With Strength From Above !

  3. @Jean, you have a very good point…Castries don’t have snakes…Well that’s what we think…When is the med in the Victoria hospital???

  4. WOW Angel, who would think of that. I don’t like snakes, but covid-19 have killed more people in St. Lucia; a snake by any other name is a snake, kill it. I like watching nature shows on T.V. but when it shows a snake, it sends shivers down my spine.(Lord in the next world, leave snakes out of it, thanx)

  5. please indicate to the public that the deceased had also in addition to the snake bite had contracted the virus testing positive for covid 19 disease. Let us see what the autopsy will indicate as cause of death. my condolences to the families.

  6. Sir the information is very helpful thank you. But I also agree with the comments. Make the anti venom available in all communities please. And the Especifico thingy, can it be purchased locally or imported legally? Is a license required for it? Let’s fix this. I hope the comments do not fall on deaf ears.

  7. The administration of antivenin or antivenom as it is commonly called is more technical and complicated than many think. One needs to be in a hospital setting with associated medical support like ICU, Surgery theater, specialist etc to deal with snake bite patients if necessary. Hence the reason for not administering the antivenom at health centers. Patients can also have life threatening anaphylactic reactions as a result of the antivenom administration and would need intensive care at the medical facility which are usually not offered at health centers.
    So there needs to be a holistic approach in order to deal with the snake bite issue.

  8. You shouldn’t have to wait to get to OKEU to get the medication .Is should be available for every farmer in Millet Anse lay Raye save life help citizens to protect themselves

  9. Agree with Jean 110% . A recently open and ‘supposedly’ state of the art wellness center in Anse La Raye should have all these medicines available in the event it is needed. In Lucia they give most of their attention to infrastructure than their human resource. Sad. Step up with equipping our Wellness Centers with the pertinent necessities. Start being pro active in our approaches.

  10. There is a five thousand dollars penalty for killing a snake, now that this man has perished after being attacked by a snake on his farm, is there compensation to the family?

  11. All farms should be able to get a bottle of this it’s call Especifico one drop in a glass of water keep any snake venom from traveling to the heart for about 24 hours,anyone of the Agriculture personal that went to Repaha / Mon Repo Guyana school of agriculture should remember this name it was a must in the First Aid kit on the farm don’t know if it’s still in used but there are a lot other medicine all farms should have in the event of snake bite ,snake bites death should be a thing if long ago.

  12. A set of Jackasses in position, if time is of the essence and no snakes in castries what is the antivenom doing there anselaraye has a health center.

  13. My condolences to Mr Rigobert’s family. Mr Haynes, you offer little solution to a problem you know has been endemic in Saint Lucia for decades. You can’t expect someone in Anse-La-Raye, who is beaten by a snake on his farm far from civilization to have any chance of reaching OKEU in time. It appears even though Mr Rigobert made it to hospital, too much time had elapsed before he got the anti venom. The snake’s venom would have done irreparable damage to his organs by the time he travelled that distance to OKEU….What your department along with the Health Department should do is make emergency treatment available in all communities on the island. The authorities are just lackadaisical in their approach. Its this knee jerk reaction that will cause another fatality in the future and it will be the same sound bite from your department. We need effective action in addressing this issue so all Saint Lucians have better options if this happens again.

  14. They really need to have the anti venom at the Soufriere hospital. Dennery is close to OKEU but what about the persons in canaries,anse la raye and Soufriere. i understand its costly but not until a snake bite one of their ppl or a visitor they will try to implement what they knew they had to do years ago.

  15. We already have a ton of mongooses in Saint Lucia since a British administrator imported mongooses into the island during the 19th Century to kill snakes. Well each mongoose soon realized that it was easier to catch lizards and birds so why struggle to hunt snakes. Secondly the mongoose hunts during the day whilst the fer-de-lance comes out at night so it is unlikely that mongoose will eat fer-de-lance in Saint Lucia.

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