Parliament approves USD$30 million for COVID-19 initiatives.
To ensure successful delivery of the Medium Term Development Strategy and other products of the Department of Economic Development, a Strategic Plan for 2020-2023 has been launched to build the internal capacity of the department.
The 2020-2023 Medium Term Development Strategy, entitled “Economic Growth on the A.R.I.S.E. – Nou Tout Ansanm”, is a clarion call for collective action to drive Saint Lucia’s development agenda. It seeks to accentuate the interconnected nature of development planning by ensuring economic, social and environmental considerations are incorporated and mainstreamed into Saint Lucia’s national planning framework. Most importantly, the Department of Economic Development, Transport and Civil Aviation, the custodian of the MTDS, will aim to position it as the central mechanism to achieve national development policy objectives.
I promised the people of Odsan that I would deliver a Human Resource Development Centre and we are delivering as promised. #LetsKeepWorking
DVRP to boost COVID-19 surveillance through Environmental Health Information System.
DVRP to boost COVID-19 surveillance through Environmental Health Information SystemAdapting to climate change depends heavily on having solid data to inform better planning and decision making. The same applies to flattening the curve and managing the COVID-19 pandemic.One of the strengths of Saint Lucia’s health care system is the little-known but extremely important Environmental Health Information System (EHIS) maintained by the Health Management Information Unit (HMIU) in partnership with the Environmental Health Division. The Environmental Health Information System captures data on all aspects of the environment that may affect human health, in line with the programmatic areas of the country’s environmental health system, including the Food Safety Programme, the Water Quality, Institutional Hygiene and Disaster Management Programme, the Vector Control Programme, the Port Health Surveillance Programme, and theWastewater and Complaints Programme.
Through the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP-CERC), the Environmental Health Information System will be enhanced by the addition of a COVID-19 Surveillance Digital Data Package and training in the same to support Saint Lucia’s national response to the pandemic. The digital data package provides a comprehensive solution for COVID-19 tracking and surveillance and includes modules for clinical examination/lab testing/outcome, port of entry screening/community follow-up, contact tracing and outbreak line listing. In addition to the COVID-19 digital data package, the EHIS will be significantly enhanced through the DVRP-CERC by updates to the underlying software for the system and debugging of the existing modules.Furthermore, to facilitate longer-term growth and expansion, work under the DVRP-CERC will include development of the optimal system design and requirements for all Environmental Health Information System modules required to support the national environmental health system. This will ensure that the EHIS is responsive to the needs of the current legislative and institutional environment, facilitates data sharing and better supports statistical, geospatial and epidemiological analyses. Earlier investments under the DVRP in a National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) will help to support desired geospatial analyses. Why is the Environmental Health Information System (EHIS) so Important?There is a well-established link between changing climate variables, including temperature, rainfall patterns and dust clouds, and health impacts. For instance, in the Caribbean there have been observed increases in the incidence of childhood asthma rates and certain vector and water-borne diseases such as dengue fever and leptospirosis.
There is evidence that changing weather patterns have shortened the breeding cycles of mosquitos and lengthened the transmission seasons of diseases such as dengue, zika and chikungunya, causing the control and management of these to be extremely challenging for the health system. Studies also suggest that climate change poses great danger for the evolution of novel viruses that could compromise vaccination programmes and jeopardize public health. Climate change also affects social and environmental determinants of health, such as access to safe drinking water, nutritious food production and safe shelter.Improving understanding of these connections and developing adaptive measures, including to protect the population from epidemics and pandemics, requires robust databases and surveillance and information systems that can be queried and subjected to statistical, geospatial and epidemiological analysis.
Efforts to enhance the EHIS are being complemented by the procurement of high-end search and rescue drones and an early warning siren. While these are primarily intended for natural and man-made emergency response long-term, these systems will immediately aid in safe and efficient surveillance and mass communication of alerts in respect of COVID-19.
I remain a strong believer in the philosophy that the fundamental cure for poverty is not money but education. As Parliamentary Representative for Castries South-East, I make it my duty to support initiatives that will make learning more conducive for students. This includes providing annual scholarships to Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, Monroe College and other learning institutions both here and abroad.Yesterday, I hosted the Castries South-East Back to School Presentation ceremony where over 150 students from the constituency received school bags filled with school supplies.
The top 6 common entrance students from the constituency were also given laptops for their outstanding performances.Today, distribution of school bags and supplies in the constituency will continue benefiting over 300 students and parents from Castries South-East. #LetsKeepWorking
“Today, Thursday November 5, 2020 the Ministry of Health received confirmation of one new case of COVID-19. This brings the total number of cases diagnosed in country to date to 106.
Case #106 is a 37 year old female from the Laborie District. She was tested at a recent community COVID-19 screening activity which was held in Laborie and was placed in quarantine while awaiting the result.
The Ministry is currently investigating the possibility of an epidemiological link. This new case now brings the number of active cases currently in care in country to 74. All cases remain stable and there are no cases requiring critical care.
In summary, over the past week from Friday October 30 to today Thursday November 5, 2020, Saint Lucia has conducted 1,056 tests and a total of 30 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded during this period. Most of these cases were captured through the contact tracing process. This information is very meaningful to the public and useful for the Ministry in the management of our current outbreak, as it indicates we are managing clusters of cases. This also indicates that we are able to prevent further spread of the virus by identifying the positive COVID-19 cases who are linked to previous cases.
As efforts continue by the public health team of the Ministry of Health to conduct health education as well as contact tracing and testing of individuals, we make an appeal to every individual to continue regulating movements and behaviours to reduce risk of exposure to the virus.
When leaving to go to public places, please maintain a higher level of alertness. Be sure to have with you a mask and hand sanitizer as these two items are effective in preventing the transmission of the virus. In addition, upon returning home, it should be a priority to immediately wash hands with soap and flowing water. Making these a habit will help in reducing the spread of the virus.
Let’s continue to practice the guidelines to reduce exposure to the virus: – always wear a mask if you are in public – maintain a separation of six feet from others – wash hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer – seek medical care if experiencing respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat – avoid contact with people who are experiencing respiratory symptoms By doing all of this in combination, we will each be making a big contribution to improving the safety of everyone.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness will continue providing updates as new information becomes available.”
Work on the Hewanorra International Airport Redevelopment Project will officially commence this week.
So says Daren Cenac, General Manager of the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Port Authority (SLASPA).
For more than a decade, SLASPA and the Government of Saint Lucia have embarked on the airport redevelopment project to meet the ever-changing aviation demands, standards, and protocols.
Since the groundbreaking ceremony last year, SLASPA’s Management, Port Council, and the project team have finalized critical conditions for the commencement of the project.
Speaking on the commencement of the project, Economic Development Minister, Guy Joseph says now is the ideal time to begin work, taking advantage of the downtime currently experienced as a result of COVID-19.
“Now is a good time to capitalize and get this project going and as we have seen most countries around the region they are using construction as a stimulus to help drive activities within the economy during this slow period given the impact of COVID on all of the economies of the region,” Joseph explained.
As a statutory entity, SLASPA is governed by stringent policies.
A project of this magnitude necessitates due diligence and meticulous project planning to ensure success and timely delivery.
Having completed contractual terms as well as the approvals for the masterplan from both international and local authorities, the Authority is now ready to move ahead with the project.
The project kicks off with site hoarding of about 55 acres and the relocation of just over 20 existing airport services this week.
This component is part one of a four-phased approach and is expected to last approximately four months.
The foundation aspect of the project, which involves the driving of more than 3000 piles, will be launched simultaneously.
Construction for the HIA Redevelopment Project is undertaken by Taiwan based, Overseas Engineering and Construction Company (OECC), with project management, engineering and oversight by Miami based, CBRE | Heery.
The two companies have extensive experience in their field of work (construction and engineering respectively) for major infrastructural projects across North & Latin America and the Caribbean.
Through its committed, hardworking and qualified staff, SLASPA has played a significant role in fueling economic activity for over 37 years. It has made a sterling contribution to national development, particularly in the areas of trade facilitation, commerce, and tourism.
The HIA Redevelopment Project will have a long-term impact on varied sectors of the economy, as the aviation industry evolves into new and dynamic opportunities.
Transport Minister Guy Joseph has applauded the efforts by minibus operators in adhering to the established COVID-19 protocols which were put in place for the sector in controlling the spread of the virus.
These include a ten passenger limit, wearing of masks, sanitizing hands before entry and in some cases temperature checks.
However, according to Minister Joseph, drivers, in establishing or enforcing the established protocols encounter issues with passengers who are leaving the stand and going to other buses that are not complying with the requirements. “We have made it very clear that any driver who is found not complying with the protocols will be suspended for four weeks and in the first instance they would be suspended for 14 days,” Joseph said.
Delinquent drivers, he says, can and will be arrested and charged by the police for non-adherence.
In addition to that, guilty drivers will be suspended from plying the respective route and depending on the level of exposure, placed in quarantine for a two week period.
Saint Lucia to date has recorded 41 cases of the virus with evidence of community spread which is of great concern to health officials.
Delinquency, he says, should be addressed using the full brunt of the law.
“We do not want to go down that road but if that’s the only option that is available, and we have given that authority to the National Council itself to be able to suspend the members who are not complying because it’s putting everybody at risk.
We cannot overemphasize, the importance of people, adhering to the basic protocols,” said Joseph.
On Monday this week, lines of passengers were backed up for blocks at the Gros Islet Bus Stand as drivers ensured that passengers were sanitized and wore their face masks before departure.
“So if I take the Gros Islet situation, the association decided that everybody should be sanitized even before they enter the bus, they want to verify that they have the mask and if other drivers are going to pick up the passengers, not meeting these requirements, then it means that these are the drivers needs to be suspended,” Minister Joseph said.