Davis: Govt. has ‘clinically mishandled’ second wave

Davis: Govt. has ‘clinically mishandled’ second wave
PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis addresses the media at PLP headquarters in July 2020. (FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis has accused the government of clinically mishandling the second wave of coronavirus cases in The Bahamas.

An additional 40 coronavirus cases were confirmed in The Bahamas on Monday, pushing total number of confirmed cases to 382.

The 278 active cases were all recorded this month.

During a press conference at the PLP’s headquarters, Davis said containing the virus during the extensive lockdowns and border closures was never the real challenge.

According to the Davis, the real challenge was to keep Bahamians safe while having a functioning economy and some travel between The Bahamas and other jurisdictions.

“We are in real trouble now,” he told reporters.

“In the weeks before the borders opened, we supported the emergency measures again and again because we wanted the government to have time to strengthen testing and contact tracing systems. We wanted the government to have time to prepare quarantine policies and isolation facilities.

“But the government did not use the time given to them by the Bahamian people wisely.

“They have never answered your questions or mine, about the nation’s capacity for testing and tracing.

“They had a reopening policy full of loopholes.”

Davis said wider testing is critical to identify the extent of the virus’ spread.

As of Monday, 4,014 tests had been completed, an increase of 65 percent since the onset of the second wave.

As of July 1, there were just over 2,424 tests performed, though it remains unclear how many people were tested.

Davis lamented what he called the prime minister’s threat of Bahamasair staff to defer a portion of their salaries amid a health crisis.

The prime minister said a decision has to soon be made on whether to defer as much as 30 percent.

The PLP leader said he understands the pronouncement led to a pay reduction for between 18 and 26 percent of cabin attendants, customers service staff and aircraft engineers.

“Bahamasair management has since defaulted, essentially reneging on their promise to restore supplemental pay when Bahamasair flights resumed on June 19, 2020. They are now proposing deeper cuts into their base pay of their workers,” Davis said.

“The human costs of these cuts to working families are extraordinary.

“None of these cuts or proposed cuts was ever discussed with the workers.

“Where is the transparency? Where is the compassion for these essential workers?

Davis also questioned whether the competent authority appreciates the impact his decisions amid the pandemic have had on Bahamian families and businesses, particularly those which rely on tourism.

He called on the prime minister to “stop hiding from questions”.