President Charles Savarin, e-passports, COVID19 lockdown, St. Lucia's election and African Swine Fever
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Dominica's president His Excellency Charles is of the view that Dominica should make vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory. Savarin comments came while delivering the opening remarks at the First Meeting of the Second Session of the Tenth Parliament, where he called on citizens to take full ownership of the vaccination rollout programme, and to be more aggressive in the awareness and advocacy campaigns.
Minister of Immigration and National Security Rayburn Blackmore has revealed that there will be a two-year period for the phasing out of the current machine-readable passport to the new e-passport. "We are perfectly aware that some of us may have just renewed our passport, and it is this consideration as well as ensuring that there is a smooth transition. That is why we've given the people a phase-out period within which you can apply for your new passport," Blackmore said. "So, therefore, everyone with a machine-readable passport will have a period from July 26 to the 30th of July 2023 within which you can apply for a new ePassport." He said, for the time being, the cost will remain the same as the previous passport which is EC$150 for citizens above the age of 16 years and $75 for those under. For Dominicans in the diaspora who wish to make the switch to the new passport, arrangements can be made with the various embassies or directly to the immigration department in Dominica, Blackmore said.
Just as the COVID-19 lockdown was uplifted for the community of GrandFond, the second town of Portsmouth is reporting two active cases. The two were admitted to the St. James COVID-19 isolation unit and at the time of press, over 50 contacts are under investigation while the country's total active cases stand at ten.
"The reality is [that] in difficult times people turn to Labour Party," said Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit while congratulating Philip J Pierre and the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) on its landslide win over the United Workers Party (UWP) in the island's general election on July 26, 2021. The SLP won 13 seats while the UWP gained only two – one by outgoing Prime Minister Allen Chastanet and the other by Choiseul representative Bradley Felix. Two independent candidates – Stephenson King and Richard Frederick – both former UWP members, captured the two remaining seats. Speaking to DBS Radio on Tuesday morning, Skerrit said that the poll results are an indication that the people of St. Lucia were very clear on who they wanted as their leaders in these challenging times. "Look at it anywhere in the region. Anytime a country is difficult, people feel more comfortable with the Labour Party in office. This is a party that genuinely cares for people. Our philosophy as the Labour Party is steep in that ideology," Dominica's Prime Minister said. He wished Chastanet, who Skerrit mentioned that he's worked with for five years well "in his new road," while expressing confidence that the SLP government will get St. Lucia out of its current challenges.
Dominica, as well as other countries in the region, are being advised by the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA) to intensify protective measures against the African Swine Fever (ASF) which is now confirmed to be in the region, killing more than 800 pigs. The matter was under discussion at the recent 21st Annual Meeting of the CARICOM Committee of Chief Veterinary Officers. Among the recommendations, the meeting advanced to limit the spread of the disease to other countries in the region were: increased border surveillance, activating or updating national disease emergency/contingency plans, intensifying surveillance and early detection mechanisms and activities, intensifying regional coordination among development partners revising and updating procedures to manage international garbage from ports of entry, and improving collaboration in the area of diagnostics.