PM not ready to pull the lever
In many countries around the world, states of emergency and curfews have been declared in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, but Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves say he is not ready to pull those levers here in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
“When you declare… a state of emergency, somebody is trying to usurp constitutional authority, a small group. So, you can move the police force, the state authorities directly into that group, which wants to establish by unconstitutional means a governmental authority.
“But if you have hundreds of persons, thousands in fact, who have to be policed because they’re not yet saying to you, not to be on the road, to stay indoors. The problem with that, how are you going to police it?” Gonsalves questioned.
He said instead of a heavy hand, he prefers to build consensus.
“So, whatever we do, we have to build a consensus and bring the best out of us”, the Prime Minister said, adding that at the same time, there is always the heavy-handed approach.
He said that so far, the system is working and he wants to think that, “all of us can get on the page without a heavy hand, but knowing that the state has certain levers that we can pull.”
He said that several of these levers have already been pulled and gave as an example, the order from the Commissioner of Police which withdrew permission for the playing of amplified music in public or private premises.
“You notice the levers which are available, short off a state of emergency or indeed a curfew. And those things may come,” stated Gonsalves.
On Wednesday, St Vincent and the Grenadines recorded its second positive test for COVID-19. It has been reported that the patient broke quarantine and may have exposed several residents of her village.
The Prime Minister said that experience is a teaching and learning moment.
“It’s a learning moment, a teaching and a learning moment,don’t break the quarantine.
“And people are getting more and more sensitive about this and sensible. The Chief Medical Officer told me that there were fewer reports about people breaking the quarantine than the day before,” Gonsalves told listeners of WE FM yesterday.
“Very quietly something is happening. You’ll notice that I’m seeking to build consensus as I said across the country as to what is required to be done rather than use a heavy hand,” Gonsalves stated.