St Lucia: Prime Minister Allen Chastanet says the health risks associated with COVID-19 are the reason for his unwillingness to set a date for the upcoming general election planned for this year.
“My hesitation about calling elections, it’s not about being afraid, it’s about the safety of everyone,” Chastanet said.
The opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) has made several calls on Prime Minister Chastanet to set a date for the next general election.
The SLP claims that the prime minister is buying time and is scared, and therefore he is hesitant to set a date.
June 6 marks five years since the last general election.
According to the constitution, however, the general election is no later than 90 days after the five years of the first session of parliament, which was held on 12 July 2016.
“We would not be the first government to convene the election after the parliamentary date on which it is dissolved, but that is the maximum we can go for, so hopefully we have the situation ahead of time, or I have the confirmation that we can get the vaccines,” Chastanet said.
In 1979 and 1992 general elections were held after the anniversary dates of the parliamentary terms.
Chastanet says he is trying to avoid another outbreak of the virus in the country.
As of February 21, 2020, several countries and territories around the world have decided to postpone national and sub-national elections due to COVID-19.
However, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and even the United States held general elections with strict COVID-19 protocols.
Chastanet says: “We know that people are going to go out like a Christmas if we go for an election and that after all the other elections during COVID, we saw an outbreak again … I can not focus on elections before I know it, I do not have the COVID well in hand, but constitutionally we must call our elections by a certain date before October 12,” the prime minister said.