NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday urged Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis to have faith in public’s ability to continue following COVID guidelines over the Independence holiday.
Davis underscored the success achieved thus far with curbing the virus has been the result of the electorate’s adherence to protocols.
“It’s their cooperation, not your coercion that is producing the result that we have,” Davis said during debate on a resolution to extend the emergency orders.
“Have faith in your people. Your commentary today about what happens between 10pm and 5am, and how Bahamians are basically irresponsible — that’s what you are saying; we are an irresponsible lot — and that’s why I have to put down this coercion thing.”
In response, the prime minister said he has acknowledged the discipline of the Bahamian people and thanked them for it repeatedly.
“Never have I said otherwise,” Minnis said on a point of order.
Davis continued: “You are saying young people in particular after 10pm, they are going out at night and they don’t go out until late, and they are going to complicate [things].
“What I am saying is listen to the argument. They are out during the day.
“They are observing the protocols that are in place.
“Why do you believe they will not do so during the night?
“Have faith in your people. Have faith in your young people.”
Minnis announced on Monday beaches and parks will be closed on Thursday at 10pm until next week Monday at 5am, noting the government has observed surges of cases in other jurisdictions and what may had contributed.
The prime minister defended the decision again yesterday.
He called on Bahamians and residents to sacrifice three days for the good of the nation.
However, the PLP leader said the decision to close beaches and parks over the Independence holiday weekend, prompts people to “mockingly wonder” whether the virus only spreads during certain periods.
Beaches were reopened on June 29 with stipulations — no groups of more than five people.
Davis said Bahamians have been visiting the beach and following the protocols.
He said: “Mr. Speaker, the greater the infringement on civil liberties, the greater the responsibility of the prime minister to provide sound, scientific, justification.”
The opposition leader also said after enduring infringements on fundamental rights and freedoms for over three months is a sufficient sacrifice.
While noting the official opposition supported the original proclamation of a state of emergency to protect Bahamians, he said the component authority has begun to act less competently.
He said while the country has been subjected to the decisions of one man as the competent authority, the prime minister assured he relied on expert medical advice to guide his decisions.
“We supported him and I could give at least two public incidents where measures were implemented and the medical personnel didn’t know anything about it and didn’t know why those measures were implemented,” Davis said.
He was referring to the decision to phase in the resumption of commercial activity on certain islands, while opening others, despite them having zero cases of the vius.
“…So, I don’t know whether it is because the prime minister very often continues to remind us or impress us with the phrase, ‘as a medical doctor’, to justify those actions, but as we have seen in other countries, who don’t have a medical doctor as a prime minister, that is not what is needed,” Davis added.
“What is needed is ministers who follow expert scientific advice and we along with a great number of our fellow citizens have found that far too many of the decisions being made by the competent authority, the prime minister, that defy medicine, science and plain common sense.”