KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace has on behalf of his New Democratic Party expressed condolences to the government and people of St. Lucia, after 19 persons there died in an accident on Thursday.
St. Lucians observed three days of national mourning following the accident, in which a bus coming from a funeral went over a cliff and into the sea.
Seventeen bodies have been recovered but authorities assume that two other persons still missing also died.
The accident was the worst in the history of the eastern Caribbean nation and the dead include an infant and a pregnant woman.
“I was really stunned by the news of those deaths in St. Lucia. Nineteen people being killed in one accident in a small country is a scary event,” Eustace said on radio on Monday.
“I can imagine the people who live in the area where all these people come from. … I understand a lot of them are related,” Eustace said.
“I used to wonder whether or not that will happen in St. Vincent. I still wonder. We have to be so careful.
“Here we have a situation where 19 persons were lost in one group — from a baby, right up. It is really, really a very sad situation for the people of St. Lucia,” Eustace further stated.
He noted that campaign for general elections in St. Lucia later this month was suspended.
“That alone tells you about the impact it is having on the psyche of the people of St. Lucia,” Eustace said.
“I understand that people are stunned and saddened by this event. I want to express the sympathy of
this station and our party to the government and people of St. Lucia on this particularly devastating blow to them…
“I can imagine what will happen in the next few days as they proceed to bury.
“I can imagine what a time that is going to be for those people. Our sympathies … deepest sympathies,” Eustace said.
The St Lucian Cabinet on Friday ordered all flags on government buildings and business places to be flown at half mast and all political and public social events be suspended until last Sunday.
Sunday was declared a national day of remembrance and an ecumenical service was scheduled for the Desruisseaux Roman Catholic Church.