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Statement by Philip J Pierre Leader of the Opposition On the Corona Virus

THE Saint Lucia Labour Party wishes to register its deep concern over the recent spike in corona virus cases in the country and calls upon the Government of Saint Lucia to rethink its approach to handling the crisis.

These recent cases have aroused the anxiety and fear of Saint Lucians. The fact that cases seem to exist in disparate communities is even more worrying. There is need for increased public confidence in the information being distributed from official sources to achieve a coherent and co-ordinated response from the Government.

In recent times, there has been an intense debate on talk shows and social media about fake news and misinformation relating to COVID 19 cases. I do not support and categorically condemn the spreading of fake news and misinformation on a critical matter like COVID 19. Saint Lucians must always be mindful of sharing information which cannot be verified. However, it is equally important for the Cabinet of Ministers and other members of the Administration and party surrogates not to politicize the handling of the crisis and the work of public officials. In a politically charged environment, this can only aggravate suspicion and distrust.

I am of the firm view that only a co-ordinated national approach, utilising all political parties and civil society groups, can ensure success in the fight against COVID-19. I therefore call upon the Prime Minister to have a serious and respectful engagement with the Opposition and civil society to reignite the confidence and trust of the Saint Lucia public. From the onset of the pandemic in Saint Lucia, The Saint Lucia Labour Party has always been willing and has always expressed its willingness to assist the national effort to combat this virus.

The situation is serious and despite your suffering and anxiety, I urge you to follow the Health protocols for Covid-19, outlined by the CMO and the medical fraternity. Wear your masks in public, maintain physical distancing, wash and sanitize hands regularly, avoid touching nose and mouth unnecessarily and protect your family, especially the elderly, sick and differently-abled among us.

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