The St Lucia government has defended its decision to seek a four-month extension of the state of emergency saying it allows for the authorities to move swiftly between phases especially as the coronavirus (COVID-19) virus evolves.
“This would not be possible under normal circumstances. We can plan and be prepared for COVID-19 but all of us who watch the international news will observe that this virus is ever changing, and we need to adapt accordingly. Therefore our state of readiness today may be very different next week depending on the effects of its impact,” Prime Minister Allen Chastanet told legislators.
Chastanet said that having examined the actions of countries in the Caribbean and internationally, a state of emergency is the best mechanism in securing timely and seamless execution of protocols and guidelines.
He said that a state of emergency “is no small matter” and comes as a result of a declaration by government in response to an extraordinary situation posing a fundamental threat to the country.
“In our case, we face two fundamental threats; a pandemic and the risk of a financial/economic crisis. It remains one of the most, if not the most effective mechanisms in dealing with events which pose a fundamental threat to a country and it reminds us all to remain vigilant.”
Chastanet likened the virus to a hurricane “like no other that we have faced in this region”.