St Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet insists he did not declare in a national broadcast last Sunday that his country was broke.
Instead, the message he shared with St Lucians is that if they do not continue to observe COVID-19 safety protocols the Government will not be able to again finance the raft of programmes it implemented before to help citizens cope with the financial and social effects of the pandemic.
“What I don’t want is for us to close down the country, and the point I made was, if we have to close down the country, we don’t have the money to redo all the things that we did the first time,” Chastanet told the Jamaica Observer last Thursday.
The St Lucian prime minister was responding to a story on his national broadcast filed by Caribbean Media Corporation ( CMC) headlined ‘PM says Government is broke, can’t afford to fund stabilisation programme’.
The CMC report quoted Chastanet as saying: “It is no secret the Government has exhausted all of the efforts, all of the resources with the NIC (National Insurance Corporation) and donor agencies to provide a social stabilisation programme for the public and for those persons who have lost their jobs. We have no more money. What we are hoping to do is to regain the strength of our economy so many persons can be re-employed.”
He also thanked hoteliers who have re-employed their workers “despite knowing that they are going to lose money for several months”.
The prime minister had delivered the broadcast after health authorities confirmed that a 48-year-old bus driver had become the country’s latest COVID-19 case.