‘If we can, then we should’: Chastanet calls for revision as St Lucian anti-racism protest rejected

St Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet

Prime Minister of St Lucia Allen Chastanet has called for the local police force and healthy ministry officials to come to a middle ground with activists after an application for a Black Lives Matter protest was rejected on Wednesday (June 10).

Chastanet, in a statement on Thursday morning, said that while the island remains under a state of emergency due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, St Lucia should show solidarity against racism.

“While I fully appreciate the concerns about security, health and safety, especially while we remain under a State of Emergency situation, it is my view that Saint Lucia must show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. The disease that is racism, with all its ominous implications, must be resisted at every opportunity, and by all of us,” he wrote on his official Facebook page.

PM Chastanet explained that since being aware of the protest’s rejection, he has been in talks with all the relevant groups and understands each perspective.

It has come to my attention this morning that a permit application made yesterday (Wednesday) for a Black Lives Matter…

Posted by Allen Chastanet on Thursday, June 11, 2020

In the statement, he said that although the decision ultimately rests with the authorities, he hopes the Black Lives Matter protest, which was planned for Friday, June 12, could be allowed to go on as planned – if the established safety protocols can be adhered to.

“I have requested that all parties concerned pursue every possibility that would permit the Black Lives Matter activity to go on without contravening the established protocols. Let us all acknowledge that their advice has thus far kept Saint Lucia safe,”

The advocacy group Black Lives Matter Saint Lucia planned the peaceful protest as a show of solidarity with the protest movement against police violence and racial injustice that has been sweeping the United States and the world.

Acting Police Commissioner Milton Desir, informed Saint Lucia Goodwill Ambassador Taj Weekes, of the decision to reject the protest application in a letter dated Wednesday, June 10.

Jamaicans protested police brutality in the US as well as locally in front of the American Embassy in Kingston last Saturday. (Photo: Chris Lewinson/BUZZ)

Jamaica has been one of a growing number of Caribbean countries that have joined voices with the African-American struggles for racial equality, following the death of George Floyd.

Floyd was killed by members of the Minneapolis Police Department on Monday, May 25, which triggered protests and rioting across the US, as well as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Mexico, Germany, Brazil, Belgium, France and other countries across the world.