Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee has said in connection with the gradual re-opening of this country’s borders that the health and safety of Saint Lucians come first.
Fedee indicated that an announcement will be made soon on what the new protocols will be.
But he made it clear that local authorities will not be ‘pushed or bullied’ into doing something that is not in the best interest of Saint Lucia or Saint Lucians.
The Tourism Minister made the comments Wednesday during an interview with Lissa Joseph of the National Television Network (NTN).
His remarks came against the backdrop of a letter from the President of the Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association (SLHTA), Karolin Troubetzkoy, to Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, complaining about the precarious state of the local tourism industry.
Troubetzkoy called on the Chastanet administration to review the entry requirements for visitors.
She also highlighted the impact that restrictions have on businesses which depend on tourism.
According to the SLHTA President, prescribed entry requirements have created a stalemate between the airlines and the destination delaying scheduled flights which would ultimately reduce airlift.
While expressing empathy with the hoteliers because plants are shutting down and revenues are not coming in, Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee asserted that now is not the time to push the ‘panic button’ and make a hurried decision.
“The protocols which they spoke of I think we discussed it with the aviation sector and it is a real fact that we may have to review those protocols,” he stated.
However the Minister took issue with any suggestion that there had been a lack of consultation with tourism sector operatives.
“I think that a statement that suggests there is a lack of consultation is absolutely unfortunate and I think it goes against the facts or the chronology of the events that have taken place, because in the last two months we have met with tourism related organisations, including the SLHTA and various sub-sectors, 15 times,” Fedee recalled.
“It is quite unfortunate that the SLHTA is now making the allegation that consultation has not taken place. I want to debunk this as absolutely false,” he asserted.