The Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association (SLHTA) supports the call for zero tolerance of violent crimes and indiscipline which threaten the stability and progress of our nation. The Association condemns the recent violence in the community of Vieux Fort which has taken many lives, disrupted businesses and schools and left residents in fear.
The tourism private sector supports the immediate steps announced by Prime Minister Honourable Philip J. Pierre in his Address to the Nation on Sunday, March 11, 2023, which includes the enlistment of the Regional Security System, 24-hour patrol by the Special Services Unit, enactment of new legislation and provision of more resources to the police.
The Association was pleased to attend a meeting with the Prime Minister and some members of his Cabinet on Sunday, March, 12, 2023 alongside other representatives from the private sector and civil society.
We commend the frontline workers of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force and Saint Lucia Fire Service who have not wavered during this unfortunate period and continue to diligently serve their community and country. Businesses in Vieux Fort must also be applauded for continuing their business operations, providing much-needed support to team members and pledging resources.
The Association is cognizant that whilst security personnel are the ones charged with the immediate, on the ground response to control the situation, all citizens must play a role in the medium to long term solutions— which are critical for healing our country and addressing the needs of our vulnerable communities.
We note that similar issues and challenges are being faced by neighboring islands, and endorse a regional approach to collaboration for the safety and security of our entire region.
As efforts continue to address the situation, we urge citizens to dissuade from sharing false information which can lead to unnecessary panic and have a negative impact on the country’s image.