The St. Lucia government says it will introduce new protocols next week so as to take better control of the borders and prevent the illegal entry of persons into the island.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, speaking at a news conference on Friday evening, outlining new measures to deal with the spike in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, said that the new measures could come into place by Monday.
“There is going to be some new protocols coming in place with regards to the border control, which will include the fishermen. An announcement will be made… and I know we’re going to be meeting with the different associations, but the likelihood is by Monday, that we will be suspending licenses for fishermen to go out, for at least one week.
“Again, that is to regain control of our borders and we will be looking at other measures to significantly strengthen our borders,” Chastanet said.
“We are bringing in new engines, we’re putting in new surveillance teams but we are going to take the breaches at the border very seriously and we will include putting some rewards in place for whistleblowers who help us in terms of deterring people from bringing people in illegally,” he said.
Chastanet said that his administration is working with the authorities in the French island of Martinique in a bid to prevent the illegal entry of nationals into St. Lucia.
Prime Minister Chastanet said he was encouraging St. Lucians who want to come home, to do so legally, “so that we can keep them safe, we can keep their family members safe and keep our communities safe as well”.
Martinique is one of the islands in the Caribbean with a high number of COVID-19 cases, with figures showing that as of Friday, the French-speaking island had recorded 3552 COVID-19 cases.