By Cyprian Montrope
CASTRIES, St Lucia – Fellow members of the Saint Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA), public officers and workers of Saint Lucia, I am indeed saddened by what is going on in the world today regarding human health and the immediate future.
The coronavirus has manifested itself around the world and is creating both panic and fear of death in its wake. I urge everyone to take every precaution and follow the advice given by the appropriate authorities to mitigate the spread and the possible impact on you, the family and citizens of our country.
Social distancing has been identified as one of the measures to be used in limiting the spread and impact and therefore I employ all of you to practice this as much as possible in your homes, community and at work. Please let your home be your refuge and curtail the social and entertainment activities you may want to engage in your community and elsewhere.
There is great uncertainty about the duration of this pandemic and so we must begin making the necessary preparations for the times ahead.
I urge you to do the following:
- Limit your spending to essential items;
- Practice conservation (Avoid wastage of goods and services);
- When not at work avoid unnecessary or unwarranted movement from your homes.
This pandemic has begun affecting employers financially, and austerity measures have begun in some quarters. Given this, we need to prepare ourselves for further eventualities.
Given the possibilities for even more austerity measures, the CSA is calling on lending agencies, property owners, individuals or companies to adopt a compassionate posture towards workers who may have lost jobs or have to face pay cuts in the face of this crisis.
We in Saint Lucia have no control of what happens outside our borders and so we have to work together in keeping our beloved country safe and our citizens alive and well.
The CSA stands ready to assist its members as much as possible within the capacity of our limited resources. Members, this is a very serious situation, and our future is highly dependent on how this pandemic pans out globally. I, therefore, urge you not to engage in counterproductive activities. We must remember that we, have a duty to serve the public and so we encourage you to remain at work as long as it is safe to do so.
While we have a duty to serve, we caution that this should not be used as an opportunity for any employer to take advantage of employees. We continue to emphasize that all employers should play their part in safeguarding workers and the citizens of the State by extension.
Members, in light of this pandemic and the anticipated need for even more restrictions to be applied by the State, we may have to consider postponing the CSA elections until the situation improves. A separate announcement will be made in that regard.
CSA wishes to acknowledge the work being done by persons who serve the community at this time, particularly the health care practitioners (doctors, nurses, nursing assistance, other medical personnel, caregivers, etc) and other workers in the service industry who are in the front line at this time especially our members serving the Saint Lucia Customs and Excise Department; Air and Sea Ports Authority.
We thank you for what you are doing now and in the future as part of the national effort to fight COVID-19.
Members I know that we are indeed facing difficult times ahead but I pray for courage and confidence to help us see this through.
Let God take control of our lives and let’s keep the faith, together we will cope and overcome the challenges posed by this pandemic. May God bless you I thank you.