Davis: Govt underutilizing critical tools in pandemic fight
“The Minnis government never seems to have a plan”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Official Opposition again criticized the Minnis administration’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis, with its leader Philip Brave Davis asserting yesterday that improving this nation’s pandemic response is “a matter of life and death”.
His comments follow Minister of Health Renward Wells last week Friday announcing a series of restrictions to mitigate a surge of COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths, as well as a national address by Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis on Wednesday night, during which the prime minister reiterated his appeal for Bahamians to get vaccinated.
“The Minnis government never seems to have a plan; instead of thoughtful and comprehensive preparation, they prefer to react and improvise,” Davis said in a statement.
“This is why we are facing a public health crisis without enough hospital beds, or nurses, or doctors, or vaccines, or public education.
“This is why last Friday, the health minister, apparently now speaking for the competent authority, announced a new series of restrictions, many of which are hard to reconcile with science and don’t pass a common-sense test.
“Then last night (Wednesday), the prime minister focused his national address on urging Bahamians to get vaccinated. The main problem? It’s impossible to get vaccinated without vaccines.”
Availability of vaccination appointments has trickled to a near halt recently, with the National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee attempting to balance demand and available vaccine supplies.
However, Minnis said on Wednesday that The Bahamas is expected to receive a final tranche of 33,600 vaccines from WHO’s COVAX Facility next week in addition to a tranche of Pfizer vaccines from the United States, although no information has been made available regarding when that tranche will arrive.
Davis said yesterday his party does “hope that long-promised additional doses do arrive soon”, urging the government to “better prepare for that moment with a public education initiative” in the meantime.
“The prime minister seems to believe that telling people not to be afraid of needles is sufficient public education, an approach that is arrogant and condescending,” he said.
“A much better approach would be to make trusted medical professionals available to answer questions in a series of public education events. Bahamians deserve to have their questions and concerns responded to respectfully by experts.”
The opposition leader also slammed Minnis for failing to take up expanded COVID testing, which he claimed is “a critical tool in fighting COVID and one that is underutilized here”, and for failing to provide tests free of charge — a position Davis has consistently urged the government to adopt.
“Improving our country’s response to the health crisis is literally a matter of life and death,” Davis said.
Noting that his Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) continues to recommend several mitigation measures that should be implemented, he added: “We remain deeply concerned that the government is not doing enough to support Bahamians through this crisis.”