THE Government of Saint Lucia has found an ally in the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce in efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus in country.
Explaining how extremely worrying the COVID situation is on island, President of the St Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Karen Fontenelle said the chamber has maintained a keen interest in the execution of plans to manage the coronavirus and “its impact on the economy and the people of St Lucia.”
“We are encouraged by the consultative approach adopted in charting a way forward to arrest the rate of infection in St Lucia,” Fontenelle said.
The chamber president disclosed that they have been in consultation with medical experts and have also had discussions on ‘best practices’ with the wider international membership on this issue. “We have consulted very broadly with our members and understand their concerns and need for clarification on a number of issues,” said Fontenelle.
“The entire business community has been negatively affected by this pandemic and continue to be,” she added. Fontenelle said that businesses across the board will continue to suffer in this coming period and that the Chamber will continue to represent members and their genuine interest.
“The chamber supports the effort taken by government to address the backlog in testing and provision of results to persons,” Fontenelle said.
She said that the chamber was cognizant of efforts to procure the services of a technician from Trinidad & Tobago to make additional equipment functional. Also, the hiring of additional administrative staff to support work at the laboratory “and the decision to divert testing from tourists to private labs, thus easing pressure on the public facilities and we must continue to look for ways to improve this even further, wherever possible.”
Fontenelle stated, “We note the decision once again to utilize excess capacity in hotels to ensure an effective quarantine and isolation strategy to ease the burden on the respiratory hospital.” She said these steps would help in easing congestion at the facility and to better control the movement of persons awaiting results.
“The chamber supports the extension and further limiting of non-essential commercial activity during that period aimed at limiting non-essential movement of people. The chamber looks forward to more assertive police enforcement of all law related to the COVID-19 virus,” Fontenelle said.
Fontenelle asserted: “We are equally convinced that if properly implemented and recommended protocols are faithfully followed, this will be in the best long-term interest of business, citizens and the economy.”
On the issue of implementing a 7-day curfew, she said, the chamber supports this cause.
“We support the introduction of more stringent restrictions, introduction of the State of Emergency, the introduction of curfew, more assertive police and wardens in enforcement of the laws,” Fontenelle said.