NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Englerston MP Glenys Hanna-Martin said yesterday she does not support an extension of the emergency orders to October 31, noting the prime minister has not sufficiently justified a continued infringement of constitutional rights.
“I do not see the rationale or the reason that he wants to extend it,” Hanna-Martin told Eyewitness News.
“To do what and for what purpose? When you look at the curfew in this country, what is the purpose of the curfew? The entire economy is open basically except for the tourism economy and one or two little areas. The entire economy is open, but you still have a curfew at [10pm], why?
“I am very suspect now of what the prime minister is engaging in with our constitution and certainly it is not rationale. I don’t see where it is justified and he has not made a case. You need to suspend constitutional freedoms and rights to do what? It’s not rationale.”
Hanna-Martin said the extension represents an “exercise in control of the Bahamian people and in my view it is abusive.”
The extension of the emergency orders would authorize for the competent authority — the prime minister — to continue existing emergency measures to mitigate the spread of the virus.
These include the curfews, closure of prohibited establishments and other restrictions and health guidelines.
The existing orders will come to an end on September 30.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis tabled the resolution and advised Parliament that it will be debated at the next sitting.
The prime minister urged Bahamians and residents to sacrifice for three more weeks to help further the downward trend of COVID-19 cases, particularly in New Providence.
The House is slated to meet next week Wednesday.
There have been mixed reactions to the extension.
Former Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands said yesterday he will not support an extension of the emergency orders for another month, and called on the return of parliamentary democracy where legislators and the people whom they represent can determine the way forward.
The governor general made the initial proclamation of a public state of emergency in The Bahamas on March 17.
The order was set to expire June 29, but was extended since then as the pandemic and cases in The Bahamas persist.