By Caribbean News Global contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia – On Sunday, July 12, at 08:00 pm the government of Saint Lucia is set to present the economic recovery and resilience plan – seven months after the initial outbreak of COVID-19 and the hard reality of despondency.
Two months prior, the prime minister and minister for finance, Allen Chastanet, tabled in parliament the 2020-2021 budget estimates in a masked economy. This followed a budget address ‘a recital of unworthiness’ that laid bare measures in a fragile economy, the enormous challenge of financial difficulty, debt inheritance for future generations and non-expectant economic growth.
On Sunday, the prime minister and minister for finance, Allen Chastanet, is expected to “explained that the plan is part of the government’s structured and long-term response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
The statement from the office of the prime minister said:
“The plan was prepared by the ministry of finance with recommendations from the Economic Recovery Multi-Sectoral Committee, comprising representatives from the private sector, trade unions and employers. That body was tasked with making recommendations to prepare an Economic Recovery and Resilience Plan given the adverse effects, that “lockdown” and physical distancing measures have had on earnings of all sectors within the economy.
“The government is aware that no segment of our country has been spared from the COVID-19 pandemic and there has been the loss of household income and job security with many Saint Lucians on the breadline. The government has taken immediate measures to address some of these issues including the income support programme and the national feeding programme.
“The COVID-19 Economic Recovery and Resilience Plan primarily seeks to curtail the impact of both global and domestic economic contraction is having on the business sector, drive economic activity through public sector capital investment projects, protect the poor, marginalized and most vulnerable segments of the Saint Lucian population, accelerate reforms that will build the resilience of the private and public sector, strengthen the health system and continue to build a resilience of Saint Lucia,” given the ‘understanding’ of the government of Saint Lucia to the health and economic crisis.
Last week, the UK – Caribbean (COVID-19) travel corridors were announced, with few exemption rules. This applies to all travel to England, by train, ferry, coach, air, or any other route. From July 10, 2020, you will not have to self-isolate when you arrive in England if you:
- Are travelling or returning from one of the countries with travel corridor exemption;
- Have not been to or stopped in a country that’s not on the travel corridors exemption list in the previous 14 days.
Saint Lucia likewise, announced revised entry requirements effective July 9, 2020. All arriving passengers (with the exception of persons travelling from within the Caribbean bubble) must have a negative result from a PCR test within seven days of travel. Click here for details of testing protocols.
All persons entering Saint Lucia (including persons arriving from within the “Travel Bubble”) must complete a Pre-Arrival Travel Registration Form to ensure your efficient and expedited processing on arrival.
COVID-19 iron grip on the economy is a new reality. “Uncertain of policy formulation and execution of pragmatism will take a multiyear recovery cycle to heal. Economic data is not reporting employers are hiring workers faster than anticipated, compounded by recent setbacks in economic reopening and subject to increases of coronavirus cases, reiterates that despite early pragmatism, pretty slow public health and the economic outlook remains constant.”
“Let’s continue to do this together,” the statement from the office of the prime minister concludes, nonchalant of the ‘State of Emergency’ expected to end September 30; meantime, curfew measure will be lifted Friday, July 10, 2020, primarily to facilitate “enclave” tourism industry/concept expected to attract travellers rather than – I always put people first – as contextualized by leader of the opposition Philip J Pierre.
Notable, preparations are well advanced for visitors from major markets in the UK, Europe, Canada and the US, the later more severe to contain COVID-19, on July 8, surpassed three million coronavirus cases. Meantime, the prime ministers’ social media postings declares ‘that there would be something for everyone in the Economic Recovery and Resilience Plan’.
Like most good things, however, altruism can be distorted or taken to, reveal a paradox seven months into COVID-19, and four years in political authority, the character traits expected of leadership is historically absent the fundamentals of “integrity, discipline, humanity, trust and solidarity”.
Consequently, if Saint Lucia is ‘COVID-19 free’ – the curfew is lifted – “enclave” tourism and air travel is allowed: then why the need for a ‘State of Emergency’? Is it the political tool of an autocratic ruler with little political credibility, but with self-delusions of grandeur?