NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday questioned the rationale behind adding more businesses to the essential services list, calling the prime minister’s latest coronavirus address a “study in confusion”.
During a press briefing yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis underscsored the country will resume its 24-hour curfew through the week, with only essential services opened ahead of the weekend lockdown.
Minnis announced that hardware, lumber, plumbing, electrical stores, auto part stores, hardware and homes and plant nurseries will now be included as essential services, and open to the public throughout the week.
But Davis questioned the rationale for the decision.
“The country remains in the middle of a COVID-19 surge so it was confusing that the prime minister announced the opening up of additional businesses and the domestic economy well ahead of any indication of a leveling of the COVID-19 infection and transmission curve,” he said.
Minnis also announced that health officials will begin random testing in short order – which has had increase calls from different sectors of the country.
In his statement, Davis said the prime minister appears to be dragging his feet on implementing this strategy. Health officials have said that initial rapid tests introduced to the market were not reliable, thus the apprehension to launch mass testing.
However, the country is expected to receive thousands of additional rapid molecular tests, which are believed to provide more trusted diagnoses.
Minnis also provided updates on social assistance benefits being provided to Bahamians amid the country’s closures and the increase in unemployment as a result.
Despite this, Davis asserted that the longer term and the rationale for going forward is missing from the government’s plan.
“We are sure the public is relieved that there is a slow return to normalcy but there has to be some idea of what this is based upon and that it is evidence driven,” he said.
“It also seems a bit comical to be appointing a task force to talk about providing food when people are hungry not next week but today.”
He added that The Bahamas must be able to produce a plan that would lay out projected dates and plans on how to proceed as the matter progresses.
” This is the kind of plan we are looking for from this prime minister, not making it up as you go along,” he said.
“…The PLP stands ready to assist in protecting the country from the virus and in saving our economy.”