TODAY my thoughts will focus on three issues. Firstly, I shall focus on the Covid situation which shows a decidedly escalating case on island. I won’t venture into the cause of the spread, as enough has been said on the matter. The issue on hand is being able to place a cap on the spread. No administration is able to cap the spread if you, the St. Lucian public are unwilling to adopt the simple protocols put in place.
1. Wearing a mask
2. Reduce on clusters
3. Remain at home after working hours.
Following these simple instructions for thirty days will make a huge difference. Are we that selfish? Blaze’ or lacking common sense? Failing to abide by these simple rules jeopardises the entire nation in three distinct ways
1. People will die
2. Hospitals will be over run
3. The economy will crumble
These instructions come at no cost to you nor the nation. We simply have to switch on our television and witness what irresponsibility has done to the United States both socially and economically. On the other hand, just look at Taiwan with a population of 27 million with only 500 Covid cases. That is the result of discipline.
Covid needs to send some additional advice to all St. Lucians based on our deterioration rate of law and order as no country can survive without basic rules. If our comments today fall on deaf ears, let me reiterate that unless the St. Lucians who share this advice and comprehend the facts, need to spread the word to the naysayers as this is the only way we can address the spread of the virus. So often the authorities and by extension the wider public have pleaded about the senseless speeding by both vehicle drivers and motorcyclists to exercise caution, but all we have witnessed thus far, is an increase of causalities and loss of life, not realizing the stress being placed upon our medical officers who are already faced with a Covid and Dengue problem. The current administration is already faced with major quarantine costs, additional hospital space plus a team of Cuban doctors and nurses while government revenues remain below normal, so what is so difficult for the ordinary man to understand since no one can make blood out of stone.
In respect to the promises made by the Leader of the Opposition re the youth, has he not realized that the present government has already laid a solid foundation by creating some 7,000 call center jobs and counting, successfully rehired 8,000 tourism jobs from the 15,000 jobs lost, because of Covid, created a top-class sports academy at Gros-Islet to stimulate professional sportsmanship, by constructing some 6 international playing fields in order that young St. Lucians can adjust to international standards.
Finally, despite the unwarranted criticism to our agriculture, our farmers are better off today, as the banana industry is in a superior condition and one only has to drive around and witness the extraordinary cultivation of bananas. Based on the dissolution of Winfresh and replacement by a more transparent organization, over 600 farmers have returned to the industry, based on this adjustment. The nonsense that the SLP continues spreading about the shipment of bananas to Martinique is ludicrous as Martinique is a supplier of bananas like St. Lucia and certainly not a consumer.
The market is in France and the current administration had everything in place to commence three months of trial shipments, when St. Lucia experienced high winds which eliminated 80% of its production and therefore could not export. Bananas take at least 12 months to bear after such high winds and unfortunately, during that period the EU set new standards whereby bananas had to be shipped in finger form for economic reasons, which is presently being addressed.