The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force is once again urging Saint Lucians to report persons entering the country illegally because of the threat they pose to in-country spread of COVID-19.
Deputy Police Commissioner Milton Desir reiterated that call last Friday minutes after Prime Minister Allen Chastanet outlined stricter measures to fight the virus that today has infected 94 persons.
“We have a situation whereby persons are entering the island illegally and that is usually, from all indications, coming from the north: Martinique, Guadeloupe area…,” Desir said.
The theory, one in which is supported by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, is that those illegal entrants into Saint Lucia could very well be infected hereby passing the virus onto unsuspecting Saint Lucians and unintentionally creating a community spread.
Although no one in authority has been able to present solid proof of this happening, it cannot be denied that persons coming into Saint Lucia illegally pose a serious threat to the expansion of COVID-19 cases in Saint Lucia, because they do not have to go through established COVID-19 protocols that exist at legal ports of entry.
Desir, speaking directly to persons who entered the country illegally, told them that by their actions they may very well be hurting themselves and those they love.
“There’s no protocol being observed (on entering illegally) because you try to elude everybody, you elude health, you elude the police,” he said.
The Deputy police Commissioner admitted that police have been provided with information on those who entered the country illegally.
“I’m urging members of the public now to give us that information and I must thank those who are calling. We are receiving the calls, we are getting the information; sometimes it is too late because we cannot act then, persons they have mingled with individuals so in as much as we appreciate it but we are saying if we could get it (information) a little earlier then that would do,” Desir said.
To date two members of the police force stationed in Vieux Fort have been tested positive for the virus.
“We know that the others are concerned, let me assure you, if the protocols are maintained that you would be safer. I know that we are working with the Ministry of Health as much as possible to ensure that this is done and persons are tested,” Desir said.
He admitted that COVID-19 had increased the challenges the force faced in terms of enforcing the laws of the country and encouraged individuals and business places to follow the protocols that are in place to protect against the virus.
“We’re asking that you observe the protocols set out by the ministry of health so that we now would get the opportunity to do more in terms of crime fighting,” Desir said.
“As I have said, we are stretched with resources, our response vessels… we are doing all we can with whatever that we have,” Desir said.
According to Desir he would like the public to note that the police are not all about penalizing persons for not observing the protocols.
He said that while police are not in the business of penalizing persons for not wearing masks, after all police did hand out masks to those without while in public. He believed the time had come for persons to take personal responsibility for wearing masks.
“We have sanctions and the police would be out there to ensure that all protocols are maintained and to do what it takes to ensure that you maintain the various protocols,” Desir said.