(SNO) – Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this article, a photo of the Freewinds Cruise Ship was published with this story. We would like to clarify that this vessel has neither been denied entry into any port or detained by any authorities with a passenger on board with the virus. We apologise for the initial posting of the photo.
Saint Lucia has already forgone close to 19,000 cruise ship passengers because of the coronavirus, which is now sweeping the globe.
In a statement to parliament this week, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said one ship was denied entry to the island and several had to be re-routed in what he described as “difficult decisions” by the island.
“Over the last few weeks, in consultation with the cruise ship industry, we have denied entry of one ship and the re-routing of a few others,” he stated. “The preliminary calculations show that we have forgone approximately 18,721 cruise passengers coming to our shores. These are the difficult decisions we have had to make, but always in the best interest of our citizens.”
He added that soon the Ministry of Finance will present him a report, “with possible ways we can support the tourism industry and the economy.
“I can report that we have run several different models in order to predict and prepare for the fallout, in particular with regard to tourism arrivals. We will not be caught off guard,” Chastanet said.
He also said that his administation is monitoring what is happening on the world stage due to the virus outbreak as it prepares the 2020-21 national budget
“The economic fallout in the last couple of days in the global stock market, which is a result of the continued spread of coronavirus as well as the oil price war which has now erupted between Russia and Saudi Arabia — this has created economic anxiety,” Chastanet said. “Hence we are in dialogue with the central bank, the World Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the IMF, on what measures and mechanisms we can put in place in order to maintain the confidence of the business community. A conference call with the IMF is scheduled with the region for Monday next week.”