By Caribbean News Global contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia — The Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) revealed Wednesday, June 10, that the amended Public Health (Offensive and Hazardous Trades) Regulations which were put into effect by means of Statutory Instrument, 2020, No. 80 by the Allen Chastanet-led United Workers Party (UWP) government through the minister of health, Mary Isaac “lack empathy with the people of the country” and emphasized that “the amended regulations are unjust, unfair, and unreasonable,” meantime, called on the government “to repeal the legislation in the interest of the people of Saint Lucia.”
“It is appalled at the UWP government’s refusal to provide relief to the vulnerable sectors of the population but has instead chosen in this critical time (COVID-19) to be oppressive and harsh towards those most in need of protection,” the SLP statement said.
On June 2 and 4 respectively the Public Health (Offensive and Harzardous Trades) Regulations No. 80, which requires a licence for common activities that form part of the culture of indigenous people — scratching to make a living and entrepreneurs struggling for economic viability.
“… under section 9 of the Public Health Act, Cap 11.01, the minister responsible for health makes these regulations” that are now deemed illegal to do without a licence:
(a) Curing or storing of hides (b) Chicken farming (c) Slaughtering of animals or poultry, operation of slaughterhouses, poultry processing establishments, poultry farming (d) Fat rendering (e) Fat melting, fat extracting or tallow melting (f) Lime making (g) Manufacturing of gases and other chemicals (h) Manufacturing of material for manure or fertilizer purposes (i) Soap-boiling or manufacture (j) Seville of offal boiling (k) Fiber glass works (l) Fish processing (m) Foam making (n) Glue, paint making or processing (o) Asbestos works (p) Bleach manufacturing or processing (q) Cement or cement products manufacturing (r) Quarrying (s) Spraying automobile, furniture or industrial spraying (t) Automobile repairs (u) Printing or photographic trade (v) Jewelry repair or manufacturing (w) Joinery or woodworks (x) Animal or pig farming, piggeries (y) Waste recycling activities (z) Incineration or use of incinerators (aa)Charcoal making (bb) Welding plants; and (cc) other activities which may adversely impact public health.
The Public Health (Offensive and Harzardous Trades) Regulations No. 80 legislation continues with – offenses and penalty (20. – 2) “A person who contravenes subregulation (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both fine and imprisonment.”
The SLP emphasized that: “Practitioners of those occupations will now have to pay high licensing fees in order to operate and make an honest living. The license fees have increased from $10 to $100 a year with an examination fee of $50 when an application is made. Of further dismay, is the fact that the policy has unreasonable stipulations that require applicants among other things, to produce plans for their facilities and to retrofit them, thereby incurring additional costs.
By imposing these new amendments to the 1975 Regulations to expand the list of occupations that are now mandated, 16 new occupations have been added including pig farming, joinery and woodworks, welding, automobile repairs, automobile spraying, photography, printing, jewelry repair and manufacturing, and charcoal making, the SLP reckons: “prime minister Chastanet and his government are showing how much they are oblivious to the harsh realities that Saint Lucians are facing during these extraordinary times.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exerted tremendous socio-economic pressures on the average citizens of Saint Lucia. The government should, therefore, have been moving with haste to introduce policies that would provide relief to the people, as so many other Caribbean governments have done; and as the leader of the opposition, Philip J Pierre proposed in his National Address on March 29, 2020, an Economic Stimulus to Combat COVID-19, health, social and economic crisis in Saint Lucia. The total cost of the stimulus package is XCD$250.5 million.
“The government has once again done the opposite, choosing instead to be oppressive and harsh towards the most entrepreneurial and vulnerable citizens, “the SLP therefore, called upon prime minister Chastanet and his government to immediately repeal the new Public Health (Offensive and Hazardous Trades) Regulations in the interest of the people of Saint Lucia,” the statement said.
June 3, the government of Saint Lucia rescinded flawed legislation — the approve draft Value Added Tax (Rate of Tax — Goods and services provided by hotels and other providers in the tourism sector) Order and Value Added Tax (Amendment of Schedule 2) Order — The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (Amendment) Act and The Tourism Levy Act.