Former Court of Appeal president calls for full lockdown, dismisses constitutional arguments

Former Court of Appeal president calls for full lockdown, dismisses constitutional arguments
Dame Anita Alllen.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Former Court of Appeal President Dame Anita Allen is calling for a full lockdown as officials recorded more than 200 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend.

In a statement, Dame Anita said constitutional arguments against the lockdowns and state of emergency are wrong, and have “garbled and diluted” messaging on the seriousness of adhering to protocols.

Dame Anita furthered there is “little to no enforcement” of the lockdown order because the measures are not perceived to be serious, adding “people are merrily moving around spreading the virus”.

“The more lukewarm we are in our response, the more the virus will spread and the longer we will be in this state,” she said.

The Ministry of Health reported a record-breaking 133 cases on Saturday – the highest number of cases reported in a single day.

Officials reported 63 more COVID-19 cases and one additional death in The Bahamas yesterday.

Of the new cases, there were 45 in New Providence, five in Grand Bahama and 13 are pending.

As of yesterday, there were 1,315 COVID-19 cases in the country.

Dame Anita said: “Lord, what are we going to do? Today we have had an exponential rise in cases and if this continues, our medical capacity will be exhausted and we will all be in trouble!

“The message regarding the seriousness of the situation and the absolute necessity for everyone to adhere to the protocols put in place for our protection is being garbled and diluted by people waving the Constitution and wrongly proclaiming the unconstitutionality of lockdowns, curfews and quarantine during a state of public emergency.”

She continued: “Moreover, if the science warrants a lockdown, and in my view it does, there should be a full and complete lockdown for a week with no businesses open, and a partial lockdown the week after, only allowing for food store and pharmacy runs!”

“When businesses other than for the purchase of the most essential items, namely food, water and medicines are permitted to open, it encourages people to go out; and really what should be a full lockdown becomes a partial lockdown which greatly exposes people to risk of infection.”

Last week Tuesday, Attorney Wayne Munroe filed a lawsuit the constitutionality of the state of emergency and emergency orders.

The writ was filed on behalf of 21 people – some of whom are business owners impacted by the orders and others who were charged and convicted for breaking the orders.

The writ seeks declarations that there was no state of emergency within the meaning and contemplation of Article 29 of the constitution, in The Bahamas or on every island of The Bahamas, at the time the proclamation was made by the governor-general; or when the state of emergency was extended by Parliament.

For her part, Dame Anita said the framers of the Constitution had anticipated there would be times of emergency when some of our constitutional rights and freedoms would have to be curtailed in the public’s interest and for the public’s safety.

She pointed out Article 29 states that “nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of Article 19, any provision of Article 20 other than paragraph (4) thereof, or any provision of Articles 21 through 26 (inclusive) of this Constitution to the extent that the law in question makes in relation to any period to which this Article applies, provision, or authorises the doing during any such period of anything, which is reasonably justifiable in the circumstances of any situation or existing during that period for the purpose of dealing with that situation.”

Dame Anita furthered the Governor General is authorized to “make regulations by section 3 of the Emergency Powers Act, for the purpose of securing the public safety during an emergency, and is authorized to delegate power to authorities or persons, the power to make rules and orders for any of the purposes for which the regulations are authorized to be made”.

“Regulations authorized to be made for the purpose of dealing with emergencies may provide: for the detention of persons; restriction on their movements; and for the apprehension, trial and punishment of persons who offend against the regulations,” she continued.

“Consequently, subject to Article 29, and section 3, laws may be made in an emergency which curtail, for example: our right not to be arbitrarily arrested or detained; our right to the protection of the law except that provision of Article 20(4) which expressly prohibits the conviction of any act or omission which was not an offence at the time it was done; our right to the privacy of our home and property; our freedom of conscience including freedom of religion including our right to manifest our religion in worship, practice and observance; our freedom of expression; freedom of assembly and association; freedom of movement; and freedom from discrimination.”

Dame Anita said: “It is therefore lawful to lock us down, impose curfews, quarantines, requirements to shelter in place, and wear masks when we go out and to impose penalties for non- compliance, provided such acts are unlawful at the time they were committed.

“The only requirement for the constitutionality of such provisions made under Article 29, is that they are reasonably justifiable in the circumstances of the public emergency for the purpose of dealing with the situation.”

She added: “People, let’s get serious. Let’s take responsibility for our health and that of others!”

About Ava Turnquest

Ava Turnquest is the head of the Digital Department at Eyewitness News. Her most notable beat coverage spans but is not limited to politics, immigration and human rights, with a focus especially on minority groups. In 2018, she was nominated by the Bahamas Press Club for “The Eric Wilmott Award for Investigative Journalism”. Ava is deeply motivated by her passion about the role of fourth estate, and uses her pen to inform, educate and sensitize the public.


I hope she is prepared to get in her vehicle and lead a fleet around the island to deliver food and medicine to all households, not just what they label the poor and less fortunate. People live day to day in this god forsaken country. The privileged have much to say and should be equally prepared to get their hands and knees dirty to feed the people not fortunate enough to afford food enough to last a month at a time.

No government under any circumstances has the constitutional rights to lock a country down like that it’s ungodly, unconstitutional and it’s a sign of a dictatorship government. We have to find other ways to protect the Bahamian people through health and wellness, also using natural remedies for treating diseases and not pharmaceuticals that doesn’t work. The medicine that was made by God is better. We as the people of God must work together to make this nation healthier and more righteous than before. A lockdown only shows ignorance and fear.

Miss shut the hell up cause if you watching its y’all government fucken people who getting this shot now.

Is a shame when leader’s only plan such things that benefit themselves all around 360, but what about us unfortunate where these free food don’t reach us no time out the week… And KEMP ROAD HAVEN’T WITNESS THESE CRISIS YET MISSES ??GOD DON’T SLEEP REMEMBER THAT

Countries that started doing 2 weeks lockdown in March are still in lookdown. This is a bad road to start. In those countries churches are still close and many small businesses will not reopen. The elite get richer while the rest of the population loose everything.
The science says that people at risk are 65+ with co morbidity factors. Those are the people to protect, the rest of the population need to work and keep on living to provide for them. Sweden did no lockdown with same result as countries that did a lockdown. It is proven that lockdown do not work, it needs to stop short before authorities take too much taste of power and stretch it for months.

My God my god, only those who feels it knows it. Not every one can be lockdown for 2 weeks much less a day, what about the people who have to hussle what about the people that are unemployed what about kids what are the food assistance that never reaches .anyone that is privileged can say anything and give their opinions but please remember the world doesn’t only hold a place for you and yours…..God has the final say in all things.

I don’t know why these top officials in this country always talking about a 2 week complete lockdown like that’s some magic remedy this country cannot take that you have people living day to day. Those numbers coming out everyday about COVID-19 is not a true reflection of what happening now they could be people you was infected from over three week ago and have already recovered because the government have a serious back log it take about 7 day for a result to come back to a person until the government can have test done in the matter of 24 hour you will be having high numbers like that everyday, 2 weeks complete lockdown come on man I hate the way people just lay down and allow there freedom and rights as a nation to be taking away all because the fear of people telling them they could die from something. Each country that have a dictator as a leader if you go and ask them why they did what they did they will always have a reason to say something about they was trying to save there country, I think some line you should not cross regardless of what’s happening and breaking the constitution is one of them these official in this country are really unbelievable.

The problem is with the lock down there has been an increase in the spread of the virus. So it’s showing us that many more people go out to shop for groceries probably than needed just to get out or panic buy because of fear. So opening and keeping your distance and wearing your masks, hand sanitizing etc can be the protocol for being served and opening as usual will actually stem the tide of so many people trying to get out.

This government just want to do something to be remembered but I’m sorry we won’t remember you at all for GOD is our help in the time of trouble Not you

If the government is going to impose a full lock down, then they need to have a major plan in place to get food, medicine, care and water to those who are in need. We need to think about the poor, the sick and the elderly who depend on the government, family and friends for survival. It will be devastating if the cure causes more illness and death because people can not get the necessary care that they need. The bottom line is we could have a larger health problem on our hands than Covid-19 itself. Those who are fortunate enough to have food, medicine and water to survive need to stop complaining and go out there and help those in need. If we would all just wear our mask properly (not around our nose or on our chin), keep our hands clean, social distance and stop gathering in large groups, we may be able to bring this under control. Until there is a vaccine, we are going to have to learn how to live with Covid-19.

It is so sad that we Bahamians are negative when it comes to good advice from learned people. I believe you’ll prefer to just die and leave it like that well I want us to live God willing. If the Bahamas was the only Country that was affected you folks would have great points but the whole World is facing this come on let’s be realistic here and not ignorant.(uninformed not stupid)

Mr Knowles, I find your comment very insulting even though it was given with good intentions. `Learned people are fucking this world right up. left right and centre. And what you’re advocating is that we give blind trust because someone has a degree? I hate to burst your bubble buddy but I don’t have a degree of any sort, But intelligence is not measured by degrees. furthermore I find it quite condescending of you to suggest that “WEEEEE” should basically not question things or disagree OR, ask for more information to be given. THAT, to me is absolute bullshit to the third degree. there’s a lot of Medical Doctors who have spent decades in the field and they are saying something else. they are telling people to build their immune systems. they are saying that mask is not healthy. They are saying that Hydroxychloroquine coupled with Zinc has in some cases cured many people.. Now I’m not saying it’s so. But have we any evidence that our leaders explored this or ANY other options? Will we be able to have our concerns addressed during these PM updates? Come on man, don’t tell me to just accept and not question what’s happening. that’s stupidity at its best..

Wow we have over a thousand people infected and the Bahamian people are still blind and ignorant…God help us…help us lord. The unemployed due to COVID are getting unemployment pay to buy food. Social services vouches and food packages are available to assist the people who need. I saw lots of people getting food on the food drive…Probably if the selfish people who don’t need it, leave it, It will reach the people in desperate need. This is the time to come together as family and friend and help each other…lockdown is a must. We can’t tackle this thing if we don’t stop or at least slow down the spread. God give us common sense my Bahamian people…the time to use it is now. No one should have to tell us that we should stay home and wear masks. Food, light, water and medicine are necessities…get them and stay home.

Yes it’s always our fault isn’t it?? Sorry, but you’re not telling the complete truth. and for some of us just complying isn’t good enough. we need information. Some of us actually do research on the matter. And what we find compared to how we are being informed by those leading the fight, truly infuriates me and many other Bahamians who are sick n tired of this crappy press conferences where important questions aren’t being ask by the press and other so called intelligent people. I’m terribly sorry but the fault does not lie with us. Address the concerns of the citizens who want clarity. don’t just tell us wear mask, stay inside, wash hands. and still shit’s rising. the majority complies. furthermore I do not know ANYONE who have actually contracted the virus. If a 1000 people have been infected, how many have recovered? how many have died? BUT ON A REAL, WHY IS IT THAT NO LOVE ONES ARE POSTING ABOUT IT? NO ONE WHO HAVE RECOVERED ARE POSTING ANYTHING ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE? ESPECIALLY HOW BAHAMIANS POST ERYTHANG? MAN PLEASE!!!

Well go around to the foodstore and the banks and look at people’s faces. I did not see anyone “merrily moving about”. People are angry.

Yes, there is little to no enforcement. Who is supposed to enforce? Am I supposed to tell the angry looking people to wear their masks?

People need to go back to work to keep themselves.

Lockdown aren’t working in no country in the world right now so it have nothing to do with being negative or uninformed or what ever you wanna call it. The truth is even the so called learned are lost right now. If you notice The health officials aren’t really saying much because they know that they have to get a better handle on testing in a timely manner to really have a idea of what the true situation is, until the government can get test results in the space of 24 hours like they did in the beginning you would see this happen they have a back log of hundreds of test just waiting to be tested so the numbers would be high whenever the results come in

you do not understand it…. the masks are there so you can’t see other people’s face so you do not see how angry they are! That way people do not organize

Smgdh,the lockdowns are not working period,may it be full or partial. These high ranking officials only create fair amongst the nation,so WHO don’t know what they are saying when they said,lockdowns are not working aye. Listen ppl,wear your mask,wash your hands and social distancing is key


This have miinnis and carl bethel written all over it.
I am reading forums where lawyers all over are talkng about the non complexity of the bahamas constitution. We have one of the most easily interpreted constitutions in the world. HOWEVER, THERE IS A CLEAR VIOLATION OF IT AND LAWYERS AND HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS ARE SILENT ON IT.

As for the “second wave”. We never got to a curve of a first wave to flatten period! They do not know who originally had it because there were no mass testing down to seperate one fron the other in the initiql stage. How can you speak of a curve peak when you didnt test to see who has it. Then compare that number to the populaton. Next, compare that number to the new numbers against the population by a second round of testing to determine the infection level of old and new, then the round up from new and old people.

Next , you have already said that the test were faulty in a previous press announcement. Which test are you now using? How is its accuracy? Are these test only able to detect the presence of the virus or is it also identifying those with antibodies? If the backlog of test results are just being disclosed, then would that not mean that all of these new cases are not new but old information and those previously tested, would need to be retested for the presence of the virus and antivirus? Why is there absolutely no mention of testing for the antivirus, because it from my understanding would also produce a positive results to any test that excludes results for an antibody. IT REGISTER BOTH VIRUS and antibody as one.
You fnm puppets are messing with the lives and lively hood of people by your incompetence. We support Dame Joan Sawyer. This is the difference. Her words and intentions are transparent. Its for the people of the bahamas. However, this creature. She need to go back in her hole where ever she crawl from. Bloody opportunist.


Dead people cannot work or go to the supermarket. It is up to the leaders of the country to make the decision to protect the country. If you want the country to fully open up again, wear your mask whether you like it or not. Don’t wait until you contract the virus to say, oh I see now. This virus is deadly. It is a secret enemy that is wiping out whole family’s. Listen to the healthcare professionals. Government need to follow the healthcare professionals. If you want to do then at least you should do it alone. You do not have the right to infect others. It is the government leaders responsibility to make decisions to run the country. Not politics

The truth is social distancing wearing mask and washing of the hand and not having crowds to me are the keys we need to stick with. Think of lock downs in the sense of when you capture a animal that was free all it life every chance it have to get freedom it would take it and then wild out but when you have it in captivity for a long it would lose all sense of freedom and probably go into depression humans are no different. Won’t be surprised if Minnis completely lock the country down when we does his next press conference

they sold you to IMF, so now they demand the economy being completely destroyed and then you will wake up with 50% income tax rate to “deal with the situation”. You will see in 1-2 years.

She is stuck in her little hole in Nassau, try coming to Abaco and telling us we need to lockdown. We physically can’t because all of us are in survival mode here. She needs to go to hell

Lock downs is the lazy way to control the virus and the government knows that lock downs don’t work. With a population as low as the Bahamas that virus can wipe up out totally. But lock down still aint the way. This is the time the government and business owners should upgrade to the 21st century. The government should mandate that masks be mandatory in public and social distancing. Shops should upgrade to online and curbside shopping. All business and offices should operate at 50/25% capacity. Same with restaurants and bars only if they have drive thru or delivery services they should be opened. Pharmacies and healthcare should not be closed but opened though online deliveries and curbside.(This country should off been upgraded by the means off online services to at least 80% off businesses). Curfew should mean that all non essential business should close at certain times. But thats just MY 5 CENTS I don’t blame the government for their ignorance and dictatorship style of governance. I blame the Bahamian people who sit down and let the government get away with it. I don’t care about party colors after the election period over I care about country. The Bahamian people forgot the famous great words ‘TOGETHER WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL’.

People do not like change we perfer the norm but honestly this pandemic is not a norm. If it were we’d all (countries) have the answers. Learning doesn’t come overnight, think back , it tooks us years in school to learn n get where are today. This pandemic has no borders, but if we have any semblance of common sense and the ability to think then stop for a moment and not allow yourself to be infulenced y negative thinking and hearsay not to mention propoganda. This not about power nor anything of the kind THIS IS ABOUT LIFE….N DEATH. The longer it takes for us to get this thing under control and return to work or normalcy tourism cannot return and more jobs will be lost n hardship will continue. We are all feeling the pinch in one way or another. Tourism is our LIFE BLOOD SO LET’S ALL DO OUR VERY BEST N OBEY THE PROTOCOLS. BLAMING IS NOT THE ANSWER BECAUSE IT SOLVES NOTHING. WE ARE THE SOLUTION ONE BAHAMAS.WHERE’S OUR CHRISTIANITY NOW?

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