Castries, Saint Lucia: During the Sitting of the House of Assembly on Tuesday, 3rd October 2023, Ernest Hilaire, the Deputy Prime Minister and Tourism Minister of Saint Lucia, announced that ambulances will soon be free of charge.
He highlighted that the Saint Lucian Government is looking to improve the healthcare system and enhance its services. Additionally, more upgrades will be made to upscale the services of the emergency and fire departments.
DPM Hilaire expressed that many people didn’t call for an ambulance during the need because they had to pay the fees, and some people couldn’t afford it. The Tourism Minister recognized that Saint Lucia needs a better healthcare system.
He noted that the Ambulance service will soon be free, and people can benefit from it without paying fees. Minister Hilaire examined the figures and noted that more funding is needed to run the hospitals and provide adequate medication.
He mentioned that the Saint Lucian populace demands better healthcare services, including Chemotherapy, MRI, and medication. Unfortunately, they didn’t get enough due to lack of equipment and investment in the healthcare sector.
The Tourism Minister stressed the importance of building a mechanism to collect funds and improve the healthcare system. Therefore, he requested every Saint Lucian citizen to contribute to creating a better healthcare system for the country.
Furthermore, DPM Hilaire expressed his support for the Fire and Emergency Personnel for their tremendous work over the years, especially during the COVID crisis. He emphasized that the first response line is always the fire and emergency services in any emergency.
He recognized the critical work done by the fire and emergency services and expressed his willingness to invest in the services to improve and upgrade the emergency services around the country. The Tourism Minister emphasized that Saint Lucia deserves better emergency services and healthcare.
In his statement, he mentioned that he is confident in investing in emergency services not only because of their work done throughout the fire outbreaks but also because they played a crucial role in the success of the tourism sector of Saint Lucia.
The investment will provide the fire and emergency department a better revenue generation opportunity. This will be done by providing complete and improved training to their personnel, making them qualified enough to get certified.
Minister Hilaire mentioned that to work as a firefighter overseas, an individual needs a certificate. Therefore, training Saint Lucians to the required level will help them become more marketable and increase their chances of employment.
DPM Hilaire explained that these developments will generate revenue, which can be used to make further improvements.