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PM Allen Chastanet: “We cannot shut the country down”

PRIME Minister Allen Chastanet this week attempted to explain why the country cannot be shut down altogether despite the rising numbers in COVID-19 positive cases on island.

Asserting that COVID-19 is Saint Lucia’s primary enemy which is threatening everyone and everything Saint Lucians work for, Chastanet called for unity in the fight against the virus

Image of Prime Minister Allen Chastanet.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet.

“COVID is the one who has threatened lives and sadly has taken 13. COVID is the one that has caused people to have to leave their families and go and stay in quarantine. COVID is the one and the reason why we have to put restrictions in that prevents us from going out to do the things we love to do: going to church, going to the beach, spending time with our family. COVID is the one that is undermining our livelihoods and whether we’re working for a manufacturing company, whether we’re working for a call center, whether we’re working for a grocery store, whether we have our own business, whether we depend on tourism,” he said.

Claiming that COVID can be beaten, the Prime Minister said that it “requires all of us, not some of us, not most of us, but all of us, to adhere to the protocols.”

“We know wearing a face mask all the way up to your nose, we know that washing our hands, we know social distancing and we know that we must look out for others and if everybody adopts the same attitude that we’ll also be taking care of ourselves. Our immediate family members, our friends, our neighbours, we all now know someone who’s been affected by COVID so to deny that COVID exists or to pretend that you can beat COVID by yourself, you can’t. We have to come together as a nation, we have to fight,” the Prime Minister said.

“My government will continue to do everything it thinks necessary to take care of the lives and live-lihoods of Saint Lucians. We will continue to make those tough decisions because we care, we all care, there’s no one person that I believe would deliberately want to hurt anyone in Saint Lucia, but we all have to rise to the occasion and beat this enemy,” Chastanet said.

“Given the numbers that we currently have, we’re in a red zone, we need to understand that we are on alert and it’s very easy for these numbers to multiply. The moment we let our guard down, every single time that we’ve let our guard down, the numbers multiply,” he added.

Prime Minister Chastanet said that the COVID-19 positive numbers are higher than they’ve ever been before and so the threat is greater than it’s ever been before, however Saint Lucians must coexist with COVID.

“We cannot shut the country down entirely but we have to restrict our interactions. We must de-mand from ourselves that we do the right things all the time. When you’re out in public, wear your mask, continue to hand sanitize, continue the social distancing, stay home, limit your interactions with persons but also we all have to hold each other accountable. We have to, in essence, be each others brother’s keeper, not only in taking care of each other, but also, demanding that we all adhere to the protocols. So Saint Lucia, the decision as to whether we have to shut down the country is ours, the decision as to whether we’re going to defeat COVID is ours,” Chastanet said.

He add, “We have to keep our economy open, we need to get our kids back to school and if you tell me that you really care, if you tell me that you really want those things too, follow the protocols, hold each other accountable to those protocols. Have a great level of respect for those persons who are out there putting themselves at risk: the doctors, the nurses, the police officers, the wardens, customs officers, immigration officers, airport officers, persons who are at the grocery stores. Every-body is coming out to serve you and to earn an income because we need to. Let’s work together, let’s make this happen, let’s do this, let us join hands, join forces and let’s beat COVID. Let’s show the world that we can do it and let’s take care of each other. We can and we will, so again let’s stay strong, let’s stay safe and let’s stay united.”

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