Saint Lucia PM Says Country Must Prepare For the Worst

Asserting that the COVID-19 crisis is worse that the worst hurricane and 911, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has said that Saint Lucia must anticipate and prepare for the worst.

While noting that Saint Lucia has two confirmed cases of the disease, both of them ‘imported’, the PM said this country has to be concerned about a spread of the virus locally.

He was addressing a meeting of the National Emergency Management Advisory Committee (NEMAC) on Monday at the Financial Administrative Centre, Pointe Seraphine, at which a number of measures to reduce the spread of the virus and deal with other cases were announced.

He noted that the Chief Medical Officer and her team have been very cognizant of the problems that exist locally, including small households with a lot of people, so that should one individual have symptoms the ability to sufficiently isolate in that home would be impossible.

According to Chastanet, the state must provide facilities where people who have symptoms and have tested positive can go somewhere for the two-week period to ensure that the virus is not spread.

He disclosed that the authorities are in the process of working with the hotel sector to get one or two hotels to be used as holding bays for people who have Coronavirus.

“I think they are also in the process of looking at some schools as well,” Chastanet explained.

He said the country is also in the process of moving into the Owen King EU Hospital.

“We have no choice but to push up the timetable in moving into OKEU, with the idea of using Victoria Hospital as a respiratory hospital, meaning that the cases that need hospitalization, that would take place at Victoria,” the PM told his audience.

“There is no politics in this – we all need to come together,” Chastanet asserted.

He promised that the opposition will be fully involved in the decision-making process and urged the rest of the country to take a cue from that and work together.

He thanked opposition leader Philip J. Pierre for being at the NEMAC meeting.

According to Chastanet, the coronavirus crisis will have an economic impact on Saint Lucia,

He explained that it has been a difficult situation to manage.

“My government has been confronted with two risks – the risk of health and safety for the country which I have to say to you is very, very important to us, as well as the economic risk of fallout,” Chastanet told the meeting.

He disclosed that 13,500 Saint Lucians are employed directly in hotels and restaurants.

According to the PM, the likelihood is if the shutdowns that are occurring globally continue, the hospitality sector will be very hard hit.

He observed that policies of closing down borders have a direct impact on the sector.

“I think the sometimes people – and I know they don’t mean it, are not understanding the dependence that we have on that industry. I can say to you that if we don’t have tourists travelling into Saint Lucia, the ability for us to maintain, or  even have the number of flights coming into our country, is impossible,” he declared.

“I see people using two things in one sentence which explains the contradiction – that I want you to shut down the country, but ‘I want you to make sure that Saint Lucians can come home,’ in the same sentence. Those are conflicting,” the PM declared.

He said there is still need for Saint Lucia to be able to interact with the rest of the world.

On the matter of health care, Chastanet explained that Saint Lucia is not self-sufficient in that regard.

“There are occasions – more than we would like to admit, in which Saint Lucians have to travel abroad to be able to get critical care,” he noted.

Chastanet asserted that Martinique plays an important role in providing that service.

He disclosed that while Saint Lucia has taken the step that anyone who comes from mainland France will be quarantined for two weeks here, authorities here have held back from applying that measure to Martinique.

Chastanet said Saint Lucia and Dominica in particular are developing a protocol with Martinique and Guadeloupe as to how to manage interaction.

“We cannot shut down entirely for Martinique. We still have to leave it open – that if in fact we have critical cases despite the health crisis taking place in Martinique, we have to leave that window of opportunity available,” he told his audience.

Chastanet said stopping private boats from coming across the channel is the first step.

“We will be shutting down Rodney Bay and also shutting down Soufriere and we’ll be allowing Martiniquans and Saint Lucians to traverse back and forth between Martinique and Saint Lucia by either flying or using the fast ferry,” he stated.

“What this does is that it allows us to take very limited resources – because the Marine Police have had to now man and guard a very wide space, to narrow where the traffic is going to come in, but more importantly we have a very active black market or unofficial market between Martinique and Saint Lucia and sometimes they believe, and probably rightfully so, that they are above the law,” the PM said.

However he expressed the view that by restricting or eliminating small boats, any small boat seen in the channel “we know who they are.”

Chastanet said this will make it easier for the Marine Police and police in general to protect Saint Lucia’s borders.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Indeed, people are not taking this very seriously when you lose monthly salary for 3-6 months. How do you survive?

  2. But the minister of health said it’s just a flu, no need to panic. Everything is under control now. So why the prime minister is saying something else. This comes to show that she has no clue it experience in her field of work, she just take pure rubbish when she is in the spot light. I would say her news is fake arrest her.

  3. St.Lucia will end up just like Sudan .So many Hotel workers and the List Continues .How will poor people Survive in St.Lucia .God have to give us a Hand in St.Lucia

  4. Am so angry u let our People down shame on u.,,we are only a small nation and we are ao Close all the time..u let all does touris in when u could have Close the border..now u must do something and dö it fast or all of us Will go inclouding u With the virous .please.

  5. I say to you and all don’t panic, keep a cool head we need rational thinking at a time such as this.
    Castigating our leaders, our medical professionals, or anyone else so as to get your point across
    will not be of any help toward the situation at hand, so cool it. I’m sure that your leaders et al and
    everyone else are trying their very best, so pull out that old prayer book your grand parents left you
    and make it a habit and start repenting: (I) acknowledge that you [and us] are sinners, and ask the
    Lord for forgiveness thru His shed Blood on the cross… He is that faithful Lord who will hear & forgive.
    Now join a friend and go out & catch some fish. If you’re a farmer, invite another friend and show him
    how to plant.This stuff will get worse before it gets better: don’t mess with mother nature.God is in charge

  6. They all new what they were doing they dont believe in God so who told y’all they would help the nation . now let’s just say they got it under control right , in the future this will happen again because they have something worse to take place this is just the beginning of things to come they all join hands to kills us all .( high places ) mean something to anyone? (Power,powerful ,rich, wealthy)

  7. There are more than 2 cases some people have symptoms and just keeping self quarantine for the past week or so talking bush medicine and all kind of majee to fight it off. Those flights from the UK are still coming and as long as this is the case we wont be able to stem the tide. I prepare myself so I don’t listen to them they were all in denial they wanted to have their Jazz and carry on. I just keeping a low profile and avoid lots of people.

  8. They saying about they want to use rat island as a quarantine zone but I more think they clearing there and building something for these politicians and their family to go and hide out if coronavirus get out of control on the main land. You all think these people care about us. If they do that we have to come together as one coronavirus or no coronavirus and bomb them on rat island like the rats they are. Guys we are one nation and if they leave us behind they will be sorry. We must prepare to fight for what’s right!!!

  9. Covid-19 was imported by plane and by boat so it is ironic that visitors have crippled our tourism sector.

  10. St.lucia is a tourist island we have to expect the virus would come in some people are blaming the government.I bet if chas stop the country for one month he will get blame.Lucians don’t know what they want. The entire world is crying. China sneeze the entire world is sick.For goodness sake put red and red aside.

  11. Have you ever seen someone push thier face or eat their own vomitt?they all saying don’t panic but on the other hand saying prepare for the worse.u did leave our borders open as we speak.

  12. You are dropping it bit by bit,dont touch the hospitals we have,we need them for all the sick people that come to them every day.You have beds in the hotels now and if you need more you have to take them This is low season for tourism coming so no boats no tourists,all Europe is closed,Please just talk the truth stop covering up Think about all the workers left with out a job,see what can be done you should be training health workers by the hundreds you will need them any moment.Prepare for war have your guns loaded.

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