Saturday 28 March, 2020

'We do not need a state of emergency' - Thaddeus Antoine

Thaddeus Antoine

Thaddeus Antoine

A Saint Lucian attorney is questioning the decision by the island's Governor-General to declare a state of emergency.

According to Mr Thaddeus Antoine, who is also president of the OECS Bar Association, declaring a state of emergency is premature.

"Sorry but the lawyer in me, the defender of the rule of law, is of the opinion that the powers required for this public health pandemic, COVID-19 are available by passing orders or regulations to the public health act and the quarantine act...The emergency powers are too wide...we do not need a state of emergency," Antoine says.

The state of emergency came into effect on March 23, 2020, as part of the island's measures in addressing and dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

During an address to the nation Monday evening, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet declared that Saint Lucia is at war with the pandemic which has claimed thousands of lives globally with no signs of coming to ahead.

Other combative measures included shutting down all incoming flights into Saint Lucia, including for returning nationals.

A curfew has been implemented in addition to the closure of all non-essential entities, leaving several private and public sector employees working remotely from home.

"Yes, we have a war, a war against a public health issue. Our enemy is not a foreign power, our enemy is not our people...our enemy is lack of proper and lawful orders and guidelines.

Further, a partial closure of businesses, ministries, agencies, allowing construction and renovations, allowing flights in to repatriate tourist while keeping your nationals out, are all not compatible with a state of emergency," Antoine asserted.

According to him, "No government should have no greater powers or latitude than is necessary for the health and safety of our people."

Saint Lucia has recorded three imported cases of the coronavirus to date.

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