Thursday April 30, 2009 - By way of normal procedure, NEMAC convened a
meeting with Cabinet to provide ministers of government with up-to-date
information pertaining to how the country is preparing in the event that anyone
in Saint Lucia, local or visitor, is identified with the North American Flu. Key
stakeholders provided reports on exactly how their particular departments have
been taking necessary measures to ensure the safety of everyone in the country.
Prime Minister Hon. Stephenson King, who chaired the meeting, said that
government is willing and ready to provide all the assistance, within its
capacity, to deal with the potential risk that faces the country. “At this
juncture” prime minister King said, “we need to hit the ground running and put
in place measures—at all levels of government—to allow the people of Saint Lucia
the best possible security from the potential threat.
Senior Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Merlene Frederick
re-emphasized that to date no cases of the North American Flu, which was
previously referred to as swine flu, has been identified in Saint Lucia. “We are
on alert and putting all the stops, along with partner agencies such as the
Saint Lucia Air and Seaports Authority, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Saint
Lucia Fire Service and others to ensure, that we can identify any case,” she
For his part, Chief Veterinary Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr.
George Joseph, explained that whilst eating pork that is properly cooked is
safe, the Ministry of Agriculture has met with pig farmers to offer them advice
on how best to continue to keep live stock farms—particularly poultry and
swine—safe from the possible entry of the disease. Such measures include, the
activation of bio-security systems on their farms by not allowing the entry of
persons exhibiting flu-like symptoms on farms, disinfection of hands and
footwear and change of clothing before entering and leaving all farms. As an
additional precautionary safety measure, Dr. Joseph said, “a suspension is
placed on the importation of live pigs, semen and fresh and frozen pork, from
the United States. In the first instance. The suspension may be extended based
on the manifestation of the disease in other countries that Saint Lucia trades
The meeting agreed that everyone should be alert and should take every
precaution to deal with any symptoms that may be signs of the flu.
Meantime, all key personnel are expected to gather at NEMO's headquarters in
Bisee on Friday May 1, to continue to plan to deal with the potential threat of
the North American Flu.