Sunday 29 November, 2020

Pierre calls on PM to engage with Opposition on COVID to regain trust

Opposition Leader Philip J Pierre

Opposition Leader Philip J Pierre

Opposition Leader Philip J Pierre has called on Prime Minister Allen Chastanet to engage with the opposition and civil society on a co-ordinated COVID-19 response as cases surge.

Pierre spoke at a press conference earlier today (October 29) saying:

"The Saint Lucia Labour Party wishes to register its deep concern over the recent spike in coronavirus cases in the country and calls upon the Government of Saint Lucia to rethink its approach to handling the crisis.

These recent cases have aroused the anxiety and fear of Saint Lucians. The fact that cases seem to exist in disparate communities is even more worrying.

There is need for increased public confidence in the information being distributed from official sources to achieve a coherent and co-ordinated response from the Government.

In recent times, there has been an intense debate on talk shows and social media about fake news and misinformation relating to COVID-19 cases. I do not support and categorically condemn the spreading of fake news and misinformation on a critical matter like COVID-19. Saint Lucians must always be mindful of sharing information which cannot be verified.

However, it is equally important for the Cabinet of Ministers and other members of the administration and party surrogates not to politicize the handling of the crisis and the work of public officials. In a politically charged environment, this can only aggravate suspicion and distrust. I am of the firm view that only a co-ordinated national approach, utilising all political parties and civil society groups, can ensure success in the fight against COVID-19.

I therefore call upon the Prime Minister to have a serious and respectful engagement with the Opposition and civil society to reignite the confidence and trust of the Saint Lucia public. From the onset of the pandemic in St. Lucia, the Saint Lucia Labour Party has always been willing and has always expressed its willingness to assist the national effort to combat this virus.

The situation is serious and despite your suffering and anxiety, I urge you to follow the Health protocols for COVID-19, outlined by the CMO and the medical fraternity. Wear your masks in public, maintain physical distancing, wash and sanitize hands regularly, avoid touching nose and mouth unnecessarily and protect your family, especially the elderly, sick and differently-abled among us."

Earlier this week, the United Workers Party posted to Facebook saying:

"As Saint Lucia continues to respond to this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the United Workers Party (UWP) encourages citizens to come together, be vigilant and adhere to protocols to fight this common threat. Unlike the St Lucia Labour Party that continues to undermine, engage in fearmongering, and criticize every decision by health officials and the Government of Saint Lucia.

From the onset of the pandemic, the Labour Party has demonstrated that they will not act in the best interest of the nation as they continue to vehemently and baselessly oppose the National COVID-19 response. They do so by pushing narratives of falsehoods, causing unnecessary panic and attempting to deplete the public’s trust of government officials.

The fact that leaders of the SLP will say anything and rejoice at the spread of COVID-19, shows that their only concern is politics and have failed to show leadership and rise to the occasion.

The evidence of the SLP’s negative approach and lack of support for the COVID-19 response is well documented:

- On 28th February 2020 when the Prime Minister activates NEMAC, the Opposition is invited and Shawn Edward is sent to represent, he praises the government for their swift response and organized approach. Philip J Pierre undermines his own 2 nd deputy leader by stating Saint Lucia is the worst prepared for COVID-19.

- On March 2, 2020 Philip J Pierre misleads the nation and accuses the Prime Minister of being absent at an Emergency CARICOM Heads meeting. Even when evidence was presented to show the Prime Minister was in attendance at the meeting, Philip J Pierre never apologized for this blatant lie.

- The SLP did not support the National Telethon to raise funds for the country’s National response.

- The SLP falsely stated that the State of Emergency was implemented to infringe on the rights of citizens.

- The SLP only attended one meeting of the Economic strategy response team

- Philip J Pierre announces on July 17th, 2020 that as soon as the State of Emergency comes to an end the SLP would hold a massive protest rally. This is despite the fact that we are still facing a global pandemic.

- SLP lobbies civil societies to write to Government requesting delay of COVID-19 Prevention and Control Bill, which is the only protection our island would have in battling COVID and enforcing the protocols.

- Dr Kenny Anthony tries to prevent COVID-19 Prevention and Control Bill from being debated early during the Sitting of Parliament

- SLP walks out of Parliament during COVID-19 Prevention and Control Bill debate and doesn't vote to support it.

- SLP lobbies senators to boycott Senate meeting to delay enactment of the bill

- On Sunday, October 4th, 2020 SLP holds Public Protest in the middle of a pandemic

- At the SLP COVID-19 Protest Rally Philip J Pierre tells people not to believe any announcement of new COVID-19 cases. 8 Days after the SLP Protest on October 12th, 2020 COVID-19 Case #29 is recorded.

-SLP operatives attack the CMO and Ministry of Health claiming that case #29 is false because Philip J Pierre told them not to believe any announcement of new cases.

- The SLP undermines and criticizes public support for the hardworking Chief Medical Officer and fails to condemn personal attacks on the CMO.

The latest Press Release by the SLP is now blatantly and shamelessly celebrating about the recent cases in Saint Lucia. This is shameful and the United Party condemns this behaviour and calls on the Government to continue its efforts to combat COVID-19.

The UWP calls on all Saint Lucians to stay united in the battle against COVID-19."

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