November 2, 2020 Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has defended a decision to suspend commercial fishing for one week, asserting that it was difficult but necessary. The decision has come under fire from the opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) which wants the measure reversed. A group of fishers from the South journeyed to Castries Monday morning where they gained an audience with the Prime Minister to discuss the suspension of commercial fishing. The fishers said the announcement of the measure had caused ‘uproar’ in the fishing industry. The two sides are scheduled to meet again on Tuesday. “Given the announcement from neighboring Martinique that they will be going on a national lockdown for 4 weeks, we anticipate that even more persons would be attempting to enter Saint Lucia to avoid the lockdown measures over the next few days,” Prime Minister Chastanet wrote on his official Facebook page Monday evening.
“Another factor which drove this decision, is that we continue to receive reports of persons entering our borders illegally with the assistance of locals, some as recent as a few days ago,” he disclosed.
Authorities here have said that one of the main challenges in fighting the spread of COVID-19 is the fact that persons are entering Saint Lucia through the back door.
The PM explained that even after increasing patrols and allocating more resources for border control Saint Lucia still faces some challenges.
“This 1 week suspension of fishing activity will allow us to strengthen our systems, monitoring and border patrols against illegal entries,” he asserted.