PM defends delegation trip to Family Islands

PM defends delegation trip to Family Islands
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis

Minnis says group tested in accordance with protocols

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday defended recent trips to several Family Islands, saying the travel was part of his commitment to keep residents of those communities updated on national matters.

When prompted, Minnis said his travel to Family Islands was not a recent affair.

“From I came into office, I’ve been traveling throughout the Family Islands,” the prime minister said.

“That has never stopped.

“That is just a continuation.

“When I came in, I promised the Family Islanders that I will visit them regularly and keep them abreast of what’s happening in The Bahamas, especially after budget, after COVID, they must be informed.”

His statement came amid criticisms from the opposition that his travel with a delegation to Family Islands, including San Salvador and Cat Island which have zero active cases, appeared to be campaigning at the cost of exposing those communities unnecessarily.

Asked whether the travel was responsible, Minnis said: “I had my test. We had our test. I know that’s what you want to ask. Yes, my wife had her test.”

Minnis traveled to Exuma to open the Barraterre Dock last Friday.

He traveled with a delegation to Cat Island on Saturday to “enjoy a peaceful weekend” at Rollezz Villas Beach Resort.

Photos of the trip, which were uploaded to Facebook, showed the prime minister standing closely next to numerous residents, all of whom were wearing masks.

In one photo, Minnis is shown with 14 other people, posing for a picture.

In another, the same group lined the airport waiting room to greet him.

In others, residents hugged or embraced the prime minister at Blue Bird Restaurant.

On Saturday he also traveled to Rum Cay, where there have been zero cases of the virus.

According to the prime minister’s Facebook page, the purpose of the trip was to “assess the government buildings and listen to the residents regarding any concerns they currently have”.

Just over a week ago, Minnis visited San Salvador to take a “moment to recharge”.

Photos of the visit, including several photos of the prime minister jogging on the beach, went viral.

In other photos, Minnis was shown speaking to six young men, all of whom wore masks.

Last Wednesday, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Senator Fred Mitchell opined the extension of the emergency orders until January 31, 2021, was in part to “tie the PLP down for the next six months”.

“We can’t move around now,” he told Eyewitness News. “Right now, we can hardly move around and there is some political business that needs to get done.

“So, we figure that’s part of the motivation; to keep the population tamped down.”