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Weeklong Shutdown of Country Garners Criticism and Appreciation on Social Media

Image of Allen M. Chastanet, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia.

Government’s total shutdown of the country today is receiving both a backlash and applause on social media as Saint Lucians come to grips with what they will really go through for the next seven days.

Several Saint Lucians said that while they agree to the lockdown of the country a better communication plan by the prime minister would have alerted them to the measure ensuring their preparation for it.

Many of them said they were unprepared for the total lockdown in that they are low on food which will not sustain them for the week of the lockdown.

Criticisms were leveled at the government for leaking information of the shutdown to friends and persons of interest to them, several of whom were able to stock up on food and other necessary items yesterday.

Efforts to get someone from government to response to such a charge were futile however this reporter was informed by a government employee that he received “a heads up” of the total shutdown of the country from “my boss” and so was able to “lock in some supplies for my home.”

Several persons took to Facebook to question whether the elderly amongst us who need assistance are to suffer for seven days. Whether households who did not have the time to stock up on supplies for one week be left to die of hunger. Whether farmers, livestock farmers as well, should not go to their farms and livestock to care for them.

But Chastanet’s decision to totally shutdown the country was also defended on social media. Many of those who defended him said that the decision was well-timed and necessary due to the ridiculous behaviour of some Saint Lucians.

One Facebook writer said that were Saint Lucians given advanced notice of the total shutdown, especially of supermarkets, because of the rush at those facilities, more persons would have gotten the virus.

Chastanet defended his decision to shut down supermarkets during the seven days period of the total shutdown of the country by stating on his Facebook page that supermarkets remaining open, even for just one more day would have defeated the purpose of social distancing.

“The tough decision to close supermarkets with immediate effect, is due to the fact that we are currently experiencing community spread of COVID-19. By allowing supermarkets to remain open even for just one more day, would defeat the purpose of Social Distancing as there will be a mass rush to purchase goods possibly allowing for further spread of the virus,” wrote the prime minister on his official Facebook page.

Micah George is an established name in the journalism landscape in St. Lucia. He started his journalism tutelage under the critical eye of the Star Newspaper Publisher and well known journalist, Rick Wayne, as a freelancer. A few months later he moved to the Voice Newspaper under the guidance of the paper’s recognized editor, Guy Ellis in 1988.

Since then he has remained with the Voice Newspaper, progressing from a cub reporter covering court cases and the police to a senior journalist with a focus on parliamentary issues, government and politics. Read full bio...

2 Comments

  1. if you was lucky and had contacts to know in advance of the shut down you was a very lucky person.

    .Most likely,after the 7 days of lock down on supermarkets there will be panic shopping and there is no difference to the choice people had a chance to shop and prepare them self for a 7 day closure.
    Now with this surprise shut down you may starve to death because you have no food/ or you help yourself.

    Why not to make it mandatory when entering a supermarket to cover your mouth with a mask or just a pcs of cloth to prevent the spread of the virus ?
    Can UV-C light be used in supermarkets to kill virus and keep it open ?
    7 days closure without notice is madness !!!

    I’m just one of the persons who don’t know how to make it for 7 days. :-(((

  2. This abrupt curfew shows the level of disrespect by the PM for the people of St. Lucia. Why weren’t the people forewarned of the curfew? Having done so would provide ample time to secure basic household items. There is absolutely no window to escape in order collect any household supplies. There is no cease fire within the stipulated timeframe. Remember, even in time of war there is a cessation of hostility to bury your dead and gather food and medicines.
    On the contrary, take a look at Grenada’s 7-day curfew and see how humane and resolute are the protocols. We do not need an emperor but a PM. Democracy is at a cross road in St. Lucia today and if we remained silent and complacent we are bound to lose all vestiges of it.

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