Friday 27 November, 2020

St Lucia PM leading OECS plan to open tourism sector in June

Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Hon Allen Chastanet

Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Hon Allen Chastanet

St Lucia's Prime Minister and former CARICOM Chair, Allen Chastanet, is going to lead the efforts of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States’ (OECS) to reopen the tourism sector in June.

“The Minister of Tourism yesterday started to allude to the fact that St Lucia, along with other Caribbean islands in the OECS, are spearheading the design of the protocol to be able to open up our tourism sector. The goal is to try to see if we can open up by June 4.”

“I’ve been asked by my colleagues, very graciously, and I humbly accepted, given my experience in tourism and certainly in the airline industry,” said St Lucia’s prime minister.

Chastanet has served as St Lucia’s Tourism Minister, as Managing Director of Coco Palm Hotel and worked for Air Jamaica.

The prime minister spoke with reporters on Thursday, April 30, 2020, and reacted to St Lucia's successful containment of the coronavirus when compared to other nations. St Lucia has 17 COVID-19 cases with 15 recoveries and zero deaths.

“This is not a race. We don’t sit here like the Ease of Doing Business Report to rank ourselves.”

“It was in acting out of fear that caused St Lucia to be where we are today… we were very much aligned with Jamaica in terms of the seriousness in which we were taking this virus and Jamaica recently has seen a spike in cases.

I want to say to all St Lucians, that can just as easily happen here. There is no secret formula that guarantees you success. We’ve had the Lord on our side and we have acted every day in total fear in protecting the persons of this country.”

“Everything that we could possibly do to prepare ourselves, we have, and so far, knock on wood, those efforts have worked. I’m proud of what the OECS and the Caribbean as a collective group have been able to achieve because I think that when you look at all of us relative to the rest of the world and given our financial situation, given the varying levels of health care services we have, that we have done an incredible job.”

The prime minister reiterated that St Lucia has to coexist with COVID-19 as it is unable to continue in a perpetual state of lockdown. He recently introduced a phased plan to reopen the economy.

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