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(St Lucia News Online) – National Security Minister Hermangild Francis has a sent out a strong warning to people who smuggle Saint Lucians from Martinique into the island in light of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Several reports have surfaced that Saint Lucians who were in the French island are being clandestinely brought into Saint Lucia since France closed its borders recently to combat the virus.
Speaking on an NTN/GIS live program on Wednesday, Francis said such a practice is very serious since people who are presently showing symptoms of the dreaded virus came from Martinique.
“Only yesterday, based on information received, from the commissioner of police, that two persons from a district on the east coast had to be taken by the police and brought in for quarantine,” he said. “This is very, very serious.”
He pointed out that emergency laws, that have been put in place by the government in light of the virus, are what he called “draconian” and should be known by those who are involved in “the illicit transport of people from Martinique into Saint Lucia”.
Francis explained that a person arrested in relation to such activity can be kept for six days without being told what he was arrested for.
He went on to say a person can be kept in custody for at least 13 days before it is published in the official gazette the reason for the arrest.
“There is more, but I just want to make persons understand that this is very serious and we should not engage in the issue of bringing persons from Martinique into Saint Lucia,” he noted.
The security minister said when he came on the program, he intended to name one of the suspected persons involved in the activity but he changed his mind.
“But I want to tell you that we know him and the police are going to make sure that we arrest him,” he stated.
Francis also appealed to residents to report such matters to the police.
“Please, Saint Lucians, do not allow those persons to enter,” he said.