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The Week Before Christmas

A lot has transpired in the week before Christmas. The road-widening project of the north-bound lane from Sandals Halcyon to the Choc Roundabout was completed, but not without some concern over the limited room for pedestrians walking along that road. The project, which began four months ago, caused major disruptions to the flow of traffic which impeded the activities of various sectors. However, some motorists have expressed their contentment for the road’s completion, while others continue to criticise.

Now that the road-widening project is complete, members of the public can expect to commute much easier between Castries and Gros Islet during the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. As part of the New Year’s celebrations is the Assou Square activity slated for January 1st and January 2nd 2020. Preparations for Assou Square are already underway as wooden tents for vendors are in the process of being erected on the Derek Walcott Square.

Image of tents already erected on The Sir Derek Walcott Square for Assou Square
Tents already erected on The Sir Derek Walcott Square for Assou Square

Preparations for Assou Square also encompassed a meeting which the Castries Constituency Council (CCC) held for interested vendors. Health, safety and security issues were the main focus of this meeting. Stakeholders at the meeting included the Saint Lucia Fire Service, the Environmental Health Department and the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF).

The RSLPF are working on their commitment to increase security in the festive season. Greater police patrol in and around the city were announced at an earlier police press briefing. Police investigations also increased this past week as a decomposed body was discovered in Garrand, Babonneau on Thursday.

Residents from the area reported that a stench had been emanated from the area where the body was found, but did not suspect from the beginning that anything was amiss since persons were in the habit of disposing dead animals in that area. The body has not yet been identified due to its advanced stage of decomposition. Speculations on the identity of the body are beginning to surface among some members of the public as persons have been missing for months now.

In addition to Thursday’s events, a male individual was shot in Gros Islet at about 6 pm. He was transported to Victoria Hospital where he was reported to be in stable condition. No arrests were reported in relation to this incident. Police investigations into these matters are continuing.

Then Friday afternoon, in the heart of town, a homeless man was stabbed by an unknown assailant. According to eye witness reports, the homeless man was shuffling through a public waste bin when a male individual approached him and demanded that he stops what he was doing. This male individual was said to physically assault the homeless man with his fist when the man did not adhere. The homeless man defended himself, in response to which his assailant drew a pair of scissors from his pocket and stabbed the homeless man about the body.

The wounded man was taken to hospital via ambulance. No pronouncements were made on his medical condition although he was reported to be responsive at the time the ambulance took him away.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Health and Wellness is calling for donations of blood, noting the challenge this time of the year presents for blood services as blood donations decline during the festive season.

The Ministry reminds that the demand for blood never stops hence the blood bank must always be ready for any casualty that may arise, and makes the appeal to everyone reminding that the greatest gift anyone can give this season is the gift of life by donating blood.

The Substance Abuse Unit is warning against binge drinking or alcohol misuse and that of other substances.

Programme Officer Heidi Khodra noted that alcohol enters straight into the blood stream avoiding the normal digestive process hereby causing immediate effects. She particularly called on young persons who will choose to socialise and drink heavily to be mindful of the consequences of heavy drinking, such as poor judgment, risky sexual behaviours and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

She cautioned persons who are inclined to drink to eat before and while drinking since food slows the rate of alcohol absorbed by the body.

Be temperate in your drinking. Do not feel pressured or pressure anyone to drink alcohol. Be vigilant, be considerate, be responsible,” was her sage advice.

Assistant Principal Nursing Officer Tecla Jn Baptiste said that services at all wellness centres will continue throughout the season except on December 25 and 26 and January 1 and 2, while district hospitals and polyclinics like those in Soufriere, Dennery and Gros Islet will maintain their usual working hours with no interruptions even on the aforementioned dates.

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