(PRESS RELEASE) — As the Government of Saint Lucia continues to monitor and respond to the COVID-19 situation, Prime Minister Honouble Allen Chastanet and the Cabinet of Ministers held an open meeting with the Private Sector Community on Sunday 15th March 2020.
The purpose of the meeting was to allow key stakeholders of the country’s private and economic landscape the opportunity to make recommendations and proposals amidst the COVID-19 health threat for the Government to consider moving forward.
The Prime Minister chaired the meeting and in his opening remarks said: “At this time, our focus as a Government is on containment and mitigation. This is why it was important for us to meet as a collective to decide on a strategy moving forward. To ensure that no segment of our society is left behind. We can only do this together.”
Director of Finance, Esther Rigobert gave an overview of the economy and how the decisions made will have a financial impact on the government, households and businesses who depend heavily on sectors like Tourism, Trade and Business.
Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce Brian Louisy presented on behalf of the Private Sector expressing concerns, ideas and options for moving forward within this evolving health threat. Mr. Louisy commended the Government of Saint Lucia, in particular the work of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, for the work that they continue to do, he added: “The Chamber is ready to play its part in this dynamic health situation. We advocate for everyone to come together to better respond.”
Echoing the sentiments of the Chamber’s Executive Director, was the President of the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) Karolin Troubetzkoy. Joining the meeting via ZOOM, Ms. Troubetzkoy said that hotels are already recording high cancellations and the Association is discussing next steps based on various Government decisions moving forward.
More key stakeholders were present and made presentations on behalf of their members: these include The Saint Lucia Medical Dental Association’s (SLMDA) Dr. Merle Clarke, Saint Lucia’s Employers Federation represented by Ms. Tecla Fitz Lewis, The National Workers Union (NWU) Ms. Solace Myers, The Carnival Bands Association’s (CBA) Adrian Augier, just to name a few. The Prime Minister also thanked the Opposition for participating in the essential discussions.
These presentations and recommendations according to the Prime Minister in his closing remarks are important as the Government considers and weighs all options.
“I want to be able to understand the ramifications of every single decision we will be making,” noted the Prime Minister. “This is why it is so important that we continue to have these consultative meetings to ensure that all decision makers have a clear picture of what we are dealing with; and how it will affect every Saint Lucian. The health and safety of our country and nation is number one and we will all have to make sacrifices. Our focus now is to try to cushion the economic fall-out that our businesses may face, to minimize bankruptcy, secure resources for food, and healthcare.”
A National Emergency Management Advisory Committee (NEMAC) will be held on Monday 16th March 2020 AT 9:00AM and will broadcast live via all local television and radio stations. At this meeting, the country will be updated on definitive decisions and moves to help contain and mitigate against the spread of the COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the country is encouraged to follow the Government of Saint Lucia social media pages and uphold the public health advisories given by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.