NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest appealed for Bahamians to continue to work together during COVID-19 crisis in a written statement responding to the circulation of his comments on a local radio show.
The statement read: “Unfortunately, a comment made during a wide-ranging conversation on the Steve McKinney Show has been circulated in a way that conveys a meaning never intended. The point being made was about the importance of balancing our needs and obligations in times of uncertainty.
“It was never intended to call into questions anyone’s character. Bahamians have always shown, through example, their ability to use whatever resources we have in order to meet our basic needs and personal obligations. It is even more important to remember this lesson when we are tempted to panic when faced with unprecedented events like the COVID-19 crisis.
It continued: “Bahamians across the country are having to adjust to exceedingly difficult circumstances, as the economic impact of the shutdown continues to be felt. This is especially so for the most vulnerable individuals who often survive day to day. This is why the Government has invested over $120 million in support programs to dramatically expand the social safety net. This is why we have made increasing the distribution of food supplies to Bahamians in poverty a top priority.
“This week, the Prime Minister announced the national food committee initiative, and their primary focus is coordinating a wide range of stakeholders to strengthen and digitize the food distribution network for the most vulnerable individuals and communities.
“I am proud to witness how the Bahamian society is coming together in many ways through food banks, care package delivery services and other assistance programs from civil society. Unfortunately, not everyone has the ability to purchase a supply of groceries to last one much less two weeks, and the day to day assistance from the Government’s social services programs, the private sector and civil society provide a vital lifeline to many Bahamians.
“Let us continue to work together as Bahamians and use these challenging times as an opportunity for our community spirit to shine through,” it added.
Turnquest also spoke to the matter earlier today ahead of a Cabinet meeting.