(SNO) – The ruling United Workers Party (UWP) has pounced on opposition leader and leader of the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP), Philip J. Pierre for statements he reportedly made at a recent town hall meeting concerning the coronavirus and the island’s response to it.
The statements have been described as careless, erroneous and disingenuous and the UWP is calling on the SLP leader to apologize to Saint Lucia.
According to the UWP, Pierre used the town hall meeting platform to play politics, to spread fear and false information by saying that “Saint Lucia is the worse prepared island for this virus in the region.”
“At a time when the Government of Saint Lucia is calling for all citizens to come together to monitor, prepare and protect ourselves, a time where the Honourable Prime Minister Allen Chastanet stated at a recently convened National Emergency Management Advisory Committee (NEMAC) meeting, that our biggest threat right now is the spreading of misinformation; Mr. Pierre went on to incite fear, panic and by extension diminish the efforts of the essential workers who are at the forefront of this looming threat,” the UWP said in a statement on Wednesday.
The statement continued, “Did Philip J Pierre forget that just last Friday 28th February, 2020 an emergency meeting of (NEMAC) was called to brief stakeholders of the disaster management landscape on the ongoing national response to safeguard against the arrival of the virus on our shores? Did he also forget that he was invited to sit at the head table but sent Hon. Shawn Edward to represent him instead?”
The statement went on to say that contrary to Pierre’s comment, the Prime Minister and Chief Medical Officer, Dr Sharon Belmar-George participated in a Special Meeting of CARICOM which convened on Sunday March 2nd 2020 in Barbados to discuss the threat of the Coronavirus to the region.
It said there was an official statement on the Prime Minister’s presence at the meeting on this official Facebook page and also media reports of it.
The party is now calling for an immediate apology to the nation by Pierre, adding that he should put Saint Lucia first.
“The UWP also calls for Philip J Pierre to apologize to the Prime Minister and the nation’s Ministry of Health for his disgraceful statements which only hurt and undermine the efforts of our medical officials,” the statement said. “This begs the question: How can someone who seeks to run for the highest office be so careless and reckless and spread such lies? The Opposition Leader has a responsibility and means to verify his information, yet he chose to go on a platform and speak falsehoods. The UWP joins the Government of Saint Lucia in putting our country first and advising all Saint Lucians to pay attention to the advisories and factual information given by our nation’s Ministry of Health.”
The statement concluded by saying, “The Leader of the opposition must understand there is a time for politics, now is not that time! It’s time to put St Lucia first.”