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St. Lucia Observes Quarantine Awareness Day

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August 18, 1999 - The Ministry of Agriculture is seeking to create greater awareness of quarantine procedures as the island observes Quarantine Awareness Day Thursday, August 19, 1999. Addressing the nation Wednesday, Agriculture Minister Hon. Cassius Elias emphasized the importance of quarantine and highlighted the devastating effects on the health of any nation if importers ignore regulations governing the importing of certain goods, fruits and animals.

"You will understand the need to adhere to the laws relating to quarantine in any state. The importation of live animals, fruits and other vegetables must be controlled, inspected at the ports of entry and that is why this year we in the Ministry of Agriculture have endeavoured to post officers at the Air and Sea Ports to ensure that persons importing fruits and vegetables, declare all their inputs," the minister added.

The problem of the onslaught of the pink mealy bug and the recent devastation caused by the Varoa mite which destroyed nearly all the bee hives in the north of the island were cited as examples of what could happen if quarantine regulations are not adhered to. According to Mr. Elias, "We are lucky the destruction of the bee population did not spread to other parts of the island." Notwithstanding this, the Minister made a plea to bee keepers to be extremely careful in transporting beehives and other equipment likely to cause the spread of the mite.

Agriculture officials here suspect that an individual may have imported bees out of England, where the mite is prevalent without informing the Ministry of Agriculture. This irresponsible behaviour has resulted in the destruction of over fifty percent of the bee industry, disrupting the island’s honey export to Martinique and the rest of the Caribbean.

Persons wishing to import fruits, animals and meats should first visit the Ministry of Agriculture in Castries or the Union Agricultural Station and at Beausejour Livestock Division where the necessary Import Permit forms are available.


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