A blunder of national magnitude was displayed for all to see in front of the Greaham Louisy Building along the Castries Waterfront on Thursday morning, after the national flag was seen hoisted up on a flagpole upside down.
The blunder was spotted by the President of the Media Association of St. Lucia, Miguel Fevriere as he drove to work on the cloudy morning.
Fevriere told The VOICE: “The flag caught my attention against the dark sky as can be seen in the photograph, but then after a closer look, I realised that it was upside down.
The MASL President said he immediately drove around the roundabout and went back to the building, where he proceeded to take a photograph of the flag.
He said whilst doing this, he was approached by a member of the building’s security team, who questioned him about his actions.
Fevriere said he showed the officer the offending sight and the flag was immediately taken down and hoisted up in the correct form.
According to Fevriere and other individuals who viewed the photograph after it was posted on social media, this was not the first time that such a blunder had occurred.
One individual also posted another photograph illustrating a similar error, this time in front of the Ministry of Infrastructure at Union.
Such acts, whether erroneous or intentional are termed as “flag desecration”, and as such, flag laws and or protocol have been implemented in numerous countries, including St. Lucia, forbidding certain actions using national flags. Among these are hanging the flag upside down, burning, tearing, soiling, insulting or even the use of nation flags for commercial purposes.
In many countries, breaking such laws or protocol carries penalties of fines, imprisonment or both.
In Saudi Arabia, the flag laws are more stringent as the Saudi flag is considered holy, and even the slightest form of desecration is considered to be an act of blasphemy against Islam.
In other countries where there are no such laws or protocol, one can still be arrested for disorderly conduct if caught deliberately mishandling the respective nation’s flag.
On the other hand, in a few countries including the USA, an upside down flag, if not used in protest is seen as a sign of extreme emergency and distress. The same action can also be used to signal a country at war.