Saint Lucia police have denied permission for a Black Lives Matter rally planned for Friday.
Acting Police Commissioner, Milton Desir, informed Saint Lucia Goodwill Ambassador, Taj Weekes, of the decision in a letter dated June 10, 2020.
Weekes was helping to facilitate the event.
The letter to him cited the Emergency Powers (Disasters) (COVID-19) (Curfew) (No. 8) order, 2020.
The Acting Police Commissioner quoted the order as placing restrictions on social activities.
He cited Section 10 (1): ‘A person shall not host or attend – (e) a social event including the cinema and mass crowd events.’
“It’s unfortunate that they cannot see the necessity of a march at such a time,” Taj Weekes told St Lucia Times regarding the police denial of permission for the Black Lives Matter event.
The advocacy group Black Lives Matter Saint Lucia planned the peaceful protest as a show of solidarity with the protest movement against police violence and racial injustice that has been sweeping the United States and the world.
The movement was sparked by the police killing of George Floyd.
Floyd, an African-American man, was killed by police during an arrest in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020.
Taj Weekes made it clear that he understands the COVID-19 protocols in place here.
However he observed that the conversation was not even allowed whereby the organisers could have a ‘back and forth’ with the Saint Lucia police regarding how they could have made the event possible.
“The idea was to space people out – even do it on a rotation bases,” the Saint Lucia Goodwill Ambassador explained.
“What we were thinking is, if the maximum amount of people were, say 20 or 10, you could have had people every 8 minutes and 46 seconds, whatever time the police officer was on Floyd’s neck and then rotate so another ten, another 15, another 20 could come,” Weekes stated.
He told St Lucia Times that the organisers of the Black Lives Matter event here were willing to work within certain parameters and not go against the provisions of the current State of Emergency here.