PM: Economy will take minimum six months to recover from COVID-19
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, during a virtual press conference on Friday, March 20, 2020, disclosed that it will take Saint Lucia at least six months to recover from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Already several hotels have closed their doors on the island, in addition to several cruise entities and airline halting their services to the island as a result of the virus.
While the tourism sector, Saint Lucia’s main income earner is hardest hit, other sectors and businesses are left paralyzed just the same.
Globally, the Pound Sterling has dropped significantly, the Canadian Dollar, the stock markets continue to decline, however, the United States and Canada are taking steps in addressing the fallout.
“It is fair to say that if in fact the US and Canadian steps to control corona are going to work, it is going to take eight weeks minimum for us to see that. We saw how long it took China to be able to curtail the increase in community spread. Once now you have at least a week or ten days of showing you can control the numbers, it is going to take the economy another eight weeks to get back up,” Chastanet said.
According to the Prime Minister, these are best-case scenarios.
“We are saying sixteen weeks at the minimum,” he declared.
“So my government has made the decision from early said that this is going to take six months to recover,” he added.
Chastanet went onto emphasize the economic fallout left in the wake of COVID-19 and the position taken by his government.
“We are talking about from next week, for the next three months, there will be not tourism arrivals into Saint Lucia…zero, and it potentially can be that it is going to take six months before we start seeing any tourism arrivals coming in.
The impact on us at a human level is that all the people working directly in the industry which there is over 14,500 currently employed in the industry and there is another 2,500 to 3,000 taxi drivers, people who transport staff, farmers etc. from a government perspective, it is a significant amount of revenue."
This Chastanet says will be a substantial shortage of money and liquidity coming into the island.
The ongoing spread of the new coronavirus has become one of the biggest threats to the global economy and financial markets.
COVID-19, which was first discovered in December 2019, has infected more than 250,000 people in over one 100 countries and territories globally.
Over 10,000 deaths have been recorded, with over 89,000 patients recovering from the virus.