NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Fred Mitchell said yesterday the Bahamian people and Bahamian business owners will now unduly suffer as a result of the Minnis administration’s failure to heed sound advice and its mishandling of the reopening of the country’s borders.
“So, the people of Grand Bahama, Arawak Cay and Potter’s Cay are to suffer because of the sins of the prime minister, both of commission and omission,” Mitchell wrote.
“This mish mash and zig zag of ‘do this’ and ‘don’t do that’ regulations can only leave the public throughout our country bitter and confused.
“It seems to me that this is not driven by science but by some unseen fantasies of the prime minister.
“Why are those who use the beaches in New Providence to suffer?
“What is the science behind it? Why are the vendors at Potter’s Cay and Arawak Cay to suffer?
“We warned the prime minister about opening these borders without proper controls.
“We knew what the results would be. Now look where we are.”
Coronavirus cases in The Bahamas climbed to 153 after 15 more new infections were recorded — a record of new cases in a single day in The Bahamas.
Since the reopening of The Bahamas to international commercial carriers, there has been 49 new cases — nearly half the confirmed number of cases recorded between the onset of the pandemic and July 1.
Thirty-one of the new cases were confirmed in Grand Bahama.
During a national address yesterday, the prime minister announcedthe closure of the country’s borders to all incoming international commercial flights, except from Canada, United Kingdom and the European Union as of Wednesday.
Private international flights and charters, as well as private pleasure craft and yachts from all countries may still to enter The Bahamas.
Minnis also announced the immediate suspension of Bahamasair flights to the United States, alongside increased restrictions and offenses aimed at curbing the virus’ resurgence.
As it relates to Grand Bahama, the prime minister announced a new curfew from 7pm to 5am daily on the island, effective Monday, in addition to the closure of all private and public beaches beginning Monday at 5am.
Public parks and beaches in New Providence, Paradise Island, Rose Island, Athol Island and surrounding cays will be also closed until further notice effective Monday at 5am.
The prime minister also announced restaurants at Arawak Cay and Potter’s Cay will also be closed effective tomorrow.
Mitchell also criticized the prime minister’s decision to appoint Transport and Local Government Minister Renward Wells as minister of health, blasting his “lack of accomplishments save and except for slavish, obsequious obedience to the prime minister”.
Calls placed to Wells were not returned.
In a separate statement, Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Arinthia Komolafe also lashed the government, decrying it’s the poor management of the reopening exercise.
The DNA said while the government urged Bahamians and residents to avoid non-essential travel, it placed no travel restrictions on countries “as if only Bahamians and not visitors could contract of spread the virus.
“The advice of the DNA that we delay reopening to the US which was experiencing significant
increase in cases was ignored,” Komolafe said.
She also said despite welcoming thousands of visitors to The Bahamas, including those from the new epicenter of the virus, only 221 tests have been completed since July 1.
She said the competent authority and his administration “squandered the many sacrifices made to date dur to sheer incompetence…”