Chamber Spearheads Moves for Solution
THE St Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture says that enabling a healthy business environment in which members can flourish is part of its mission. Therefore, addressing issues which impinge on that business environment is seen as part of the organization’s responsibility.
With that mindset the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce convened a meeting of concerned parties to discuss and find “a sensitive and socially acceptable” approach to addressing the apparently growing problem of vagrants on the streets of St. Lucia.
Said a Chamber statement yesterday: “The numbers have risen steadily over the last few years, with the numbers appearing to have grown significantly over the last year in particular. From shopping malls and shopping centres, to the supermarket parking lots, along the many streets and byways of St. Lucia both in urban rural communities, the numbers appear even more outrageous within the City of Castries. The age range of the desperate citizens varies from elderly to children as young as kindergarten age”.
The meeting was chaired by Martin Dorville, a Chamber Board Member who sits on the Advocacy Committee. It was called to discuss the issue of the rise and impact of vagrancy, the objective being to understand the concerns and perspective of key institutions and also to establish a working relationship with these institutions to address this critical issue.
The meeting was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Social Transformation, Ministry of Health, The Wellness Centre, The Royal St. Lucia Police Force, The Drug Abuse Secretariat, The Ministry of Commerce, The Castries City Council and representatives of malls and shopping centres across the island.
The statement added: “It was agreed that the problem was a complex one – which in order to be effectively managed- required broad participation, understanding and involvement. Because of this, a holistic and scientific approach is needed to properly understand this social and economic ill, so that humane and effective solutions can be identified and applied.
“There was also consensus that collaboration among partners; public, private, law enforcement and social agencies would be critical in implementing sustainable and successful measures to mitigate the situation”.
The St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture agreed to continue to drive the discussion on this critical matter and would officially request that the Ministry of Social Transformation conduct some empirical assessment of the situation to inform a holistic approach to this situation and to find methodologies to effectively and humanely manage it.
Attendees from the Royal St. Lucia Police Force to the Ministry of Social Transformation applauded the leadership which the Chamber had taken in bringing partners together and pledged continued support and collaboration in addressing “this unacceptable situation”.