By Shareene Lindsay
(St. Lucia News Online) — Prime Minister Allen Chastanet is standing by St. Lucia’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Sharon Belmar-George in light of the recent rapid community-spread of COVID-19 and a recent open letter to the CMO criticising her for linking Aux Lyon, Dennery to most of the recent cases.
Chastanet posted an image with a quote on his official Facebook page Wednesday afternoon, which reads: “I stand with Sharon Belmar-George #bestCMOever”.
His post comes as the CMO disclosed that St. Lucia recorded two new cases on Wednesday — cases #38 and $39.
The CMO said more new cases are anticipated as contact tracing continues in the communities.
In response to the prime minister’s comments supporting the CMO, the majority of persons heaped praises on Belmar-George saying she is indeed the best CMO ever and recommended her as the next minister of health for St. Lucia.
However, one person questioned the prime minister’s statement.
“Well I did not know there was actually a problem there – but since you posted this, I am left to wonder,” wrote Felicia Browne, a well-known local human rights advocate.
A Ross David responded to Browne’s post, saying: “Felicia Browne say it good job CMO bcuz you know that well”.
The CMO came under rare criticism earlier this week when a “concerned resident” in an “open letter” — published on St. Lucia News Online — to Belmar-George demanded a public apology and threatened legal action over the Aux Lyon ‘issue’.
The letter reads: I am from the community of Aux Lyon and I have always admired your level of professionalism in conducting your job. I have found myself on many occasion defending positions taken by you. However, today I find myself questioning the very professionalism that I admire and have defended on many levels.
In your recent report on Saint Lucia’s COVID-19 cases, you stated that: “The Ministry’s tracing team have been able to link all cases to establish a common link to the Aux-Lyon community on the east coast of Saint Lucia.”
Is it not established policy that the communities are NEVER mentioned when relating medical information? Am I to believe that this was a slip of the tongue?
Is it not true that out of the 63 persons tested in Aux Lyon, only two persons turned out positive?
As we speak, are there not four positive cases in the communities of Marc and Ciceron, respectively?
Was Aux Lyon the first known community with COVID-19 in Saint Lucia?
Is it not true that the person in close contact to case #29 all turned out negative, including his girlfriend?
So when you establish Aux Lyon as the common link, it leaves me more questions than answers. Please do not give me reasons to question your motives for scandalizing Aux Lyon as the common link.
Aux Lyon is a closely knitted community with approximately 3,500 residence. Out of this, two persons from the community tested positive. Other communities have had more than two persons. These communities have not been mentioned or scandalized.
You have now managed to stigmatize the community of Aux Lyon. As a result, the consequences will include shunning from persons of other communities as well as shunning of persons on their jobs. The confirmed case of the lady at Castries Comprehensive, please help me understand how she is linked to Aux Lyon.
As experts we need to be careful what and how we report issues, especially those that have lasting consequences.
Enlighten me as to how the tracing was able to link Aux Lyon to all other cases given that case #29 has refused to cooperate with the officials. Is something missing here? I pray that you will never compromise your integrity and professionalism under political pressure.
I look forward to a public apology to the people of Aux Lyon. I will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves and I will seek legal counsel if needs be.