Letters & Opinion

The Upside to Border Opening

Dear Editor,
Gentlemen, today we have a number of programmes to address by way of the development of St Lucia in order that the public can get a fair idea of what is currently taking place.  The first subject today deals with the opening of our borders.  This decision entertained some mixed feelings based on the politics injected into this decision.  The coronavirus will live with us for a minimum of 18 months from today, whether we like it or not.  Politicians sometimes speak from two sides of their mouths and in the process have the tendency to confuse the public.

The virus as we all know has its downside regarding our health, but by the same token 85 percent of the St Lucian public needs sustainable jobs to feed themselves and their families and this is the decision the current administration embarked upon in the interest of survival. I happened to be at the Sandals Grande on the arrival of the first guests after the shut down and I was amazed at the joy in the eyes of the workers who had been locked down at their homes for the past 90 days, not knowing what their future held. This is the upside of an administration that realized the predicament of their people and worked tirelessly together with the local and international medical authorities to take the steps that were embarked upon.

The television interview by Claudius Francis with Dr Mandy and Charles Greenidge was interesting, but on the economic side I did not quite agree with Dr Charles Greenidge re: a November opening based on his assumption that the Tourism Ministry should have waited ‘til the high season in November, but in the Ministry’s opinion, the critical mass currently available for travel is above normal based on the four months lockdown, hence their decision.  Today, almost three thousand tourist related employees are back at work and if one goes by normal statistics, each person feeds four and at this point, I say no more.  This opening represents a test case of six weeks and once it turns out satisfactorily, St Lucia is well on its way to regaining the lost jobs and kickstarting the economy in a professional and responsible manner.  Watching the television last night, I witnessed for the first time, the facilities put in place to address the new protocols required by this pandemic and I must give the administration full marks for the efforts and thought.  How many St Lucians realized, that the enormous tents brought in by Events St Lucia, some months ago which were heavily criticized by the opposition became the centerpiece for Hewannora Airport, as the spacious layout permitted the authorities to divide the tent into proper social distancing, and all the necessary medical cubicles required to deal with incoming guests. This was amazing and simply incredible.

— Edwin James

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