PM defends staggered reopening of some islands, not all

PM defends staggered reopening of some islands, not all
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis (FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday responded to criticisms surrounding his decision to allow some Family Islands to reopen for commercial activity and not others, amid the country’s COVID-19 lockdown.

During a one-on-one interview with ZNS’ Altovise Munnings, the prime minister explained that the government cannot open multiple islands simultaneously, given the risk of any island experiencing a viral outbreak of the respiratory illness.

The interview, which is being released in parts, is the first time that the prime minister has taken questions from the press since the resignation of former Health Minister Dr Duane Sands.

Minnis, who now serves as the temporary health minister, has also not participated in a Ministry of Health interactive press conference since April 19.

Instead, the prime minister has been providing weekly updates via live televised national addresses.

On Sunday, the prime minister announced that Cat Island, Long Island, Abaco and Andros could resume commercial this week, joining Inagua, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, Mayaguana, Crooked Island, Acklins and Long Cay.

However, the announcement was met with anger and frustration from residents on remaining closed islands including Exuma, Eleuthera, and San Salvador, questioning why they did not qualify to reopen given that they too have no cases of the virus.

But the prime minister shot those criticisms down, noting that The Bahamas simply does not have the capacity to transport possible cases to New Providence – especially given the $10,000 cost for a single incubation tent.

“We must assume that there’s a possibility that individuals could enter the island and an island can possibly go viral on you,” Minnis said.

“…So if a particular island goes viral or goes left on you, you can manage that. If you open up all and two go viral on you, you have a catastrophe. Your health system may possibly meltdown.

“So whatever we do, we must take into consideration our capacity to manage, our capacity to transport.

“Yes [the islands] are sterile at this time, but we must assume that if anything goes wrong, we must be on top of it, never catching up.”

The prime minister took his justification further. He explained that the government had only intended on opening one additional island.

Minnis insisted that given the land crab season and the expected economic boost from crab sales, it was decided to release Andros. He described this time for the island as Christmas for Androsians.

“So we had to make a determination, do we open San Salvador, Eleuthera…or do we allow the Androsians to take advantage of this particular time when their economic engine is roaring”, he continued.

“That’s an entire population we had to take into consideration and I could not allow them not to take advantage of a situation like this when their economy is booming, at a time when Androsians themselves depend on their livelihood.

“The amount of monies that they generate at this particular time take them through the entire year.

“That was a deciding factor that I could not lose such an opportunity. So as a result, the decision was made to release Andros and hold back the remainder at this time.”


Please get rid of this man he makes me sick. He is acting like a dictator and has no respect for bahamian’s and news reporter.Please put Dr Duane Sands as leader he is respectful.

Yes please give us mr Sands for the fnm or Chester cooper for the plp but seriously minis u must go I think this seriously getting to your head cuz. You become so dictative that you put your self above all as the (most) u hear how stupid you sound opening up island but curfews n weekend lock downs still apply u full of cat s**t

That don’t make any sense, so your telling me if that motorcade didn’t exist you still would’ve had Eleuthera on lock? Or even the island of Exuma? You punished both Islands because of what they did which is understandable. But don’t come to the media saying you had to make a choice between Eleuthera, San Salvador and Andros so Andros can take advantage of the opportunity because not only Andros produce crabs, other islands you refuse to open do the same. It’s not the time to be spiteful because every last island in the Bahamas economy low as ever!!!!!!

This is archaic, opening an island for crab collection and purporting that the people in Andros are so happy, celebrating like it is Christmas. What a vision for world to read about.

Still using fear based words, viral, catastrophe, meltdown, sterile. Bahamians need to join other Bahamians and unite to get their country back functioning, unless wanting to remain under the dictatorship of the Bahamian government. The plans are obviously not being guided by evidence based reseach.

I respect your decision Mr PM…but I wish you would not allow any foreigners to come into our islands…They are coming from a Country that is infested with this virus….you made it clear we do not have the facilities but yet you are allowing them to come here ….Mr PM please stop giving in to pressure

Please send your suggestions on how to get the economy restored once the Bahamas is closed to any International tourist travel.

I wish the media would question how this use of powers act is being used,, supposedly for a health crisis but many out islands have never reported a case and have been quarantined for 2 months,, so according to all knowledge of this virus there are no cases there,,, how can they be held to the powers act,,, media please start forcibly questioning the scope this law has and also question all MP’s to know where they stand on this lockdown because I am sure it will make a difference at the polls,,, you know there will be murders in the country but you don’t put all people in prison to stop crime,, same goes for the virus, it is going to be around for quite a while, it is impossible for this to continue til the virus has vaccine. MP’s that disagree with the harsh way the lockdown is being handled please speak up, media stop catering to the normal and try find out how long this can lawfully go without some sort of vote on record in parliament

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