Press Release:- The Saint Lucia Labour Party is appalled at the UWP government’s refusal to provide relief to the vulnerable sectors of the population but has instead chosen in this critical time to be oppressive and harsh towards those most in need of protection.
The amended Public Health (Offensive and Hazardous Trades) Regulations which were put into effect by means of Statutory Instrument, 2020, No. 80 recently issued by the Allen Chastanet led UWP Government through the Minister of Health, Mary Isaac are the latest example of this behaviour and the Government’s lack of empathy with the people of the country.
The amended regulations are unjust, unfair, and unreasonable.
They impose a fine of $5000.00 or 6 months imprisonment or both for those who fail to observe their requirements.
The new regulations have amended the 1975 Regulations to expand the list of occupations which are now mandated to apply to be registered to ply their trade.
Sixteen new occupations have been added including pig farming, joinery and wood works, welding, automobile repairs, automobile spraying, photography, printing, jewelry repair and manufacturing and charcoal making.
In addition practitioners of those occupations will now have to pay high licensing fees in order to operate and make an honest living.
The license fees have increased from $10 to $100 a year with an examination fee of $50 when an application is made.
Of further dismay, is the fact that the policy has unreasonable stipulations that require applicants among other things, to produce plans for their facilities and to retrofit them, thereby incurring additional costs.
By imposing these new regulations Prime Minister Chastanet and his Government are showing how much they are oblivious to the harsh realities that Saint Lucians are facing during these extraordinary times.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has exerted tremendous socio economic pressures on the average citizens of Saint. Lucia.
The Government should therefore have been moving with haste to introduce policies that would provide relief to the people, as so many other Caribbean Governments have been doing and as the Leader of the Opposition had proposed in his National Address on 29th March 2020, recommending an Economic Survival and Support Programme.
The Government has once again done the opposite.
The Government has chosen instead to be oppressive and harsh towards the most entrepreneurial and vulnerable citizens.
The Saint Lucia Labour Party is therefore calling upon Prime Minister Allen Chastanet and his Government to immediately repeal the new Public Health (Offensive and Hazardous Trades) Regulations in the interest of the people of Saint Lucia.