NASSAU, BAHAMAS — More than 20 people demonstrated yesterday in front of the Cecil Wallace Whitfield Centre on West Bay Street that houses the Office of the Prime Minister, accusing the government of failing to be transparent or accountable.
Operation Sovereign Bahamas organized the demonstration.
The group organized a march from Windsor Lane to Bay Street two weeks ago after Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis ordered an immediate lockdown, a decision that was reversed a day later.
Yesterday, protestors clad in Bahamian garb, beat drums as they walked the sidewalk, holding up placards that read: “Where is the money?”, “Silence no more”, “We are the revolution” among others.
Adrian Francis, a participant of the protest, said: “The prime minister has come on tv for the last three months talking about the pandemic, talking about the coronavirus, talking about Hurricane Dorian, but no one is telling us about our economy, and our question is whether or not the economy is going over a fiscal cliff.”
He also expressed concern about the government’s treatment of healthcare and frontline workers amid the pandemic, questioning whether they were being compensated sufficiently and protected.
The group also called on the government to explain clean-up efforts in Grand Bahama and Abaco a year after Hurricane Dorian decimated those communities.
As the group demonstrated, police officers stood watch.
In contrast to the arrest of organizers and participants ahead of the planned march two weeks ago, yesterday’s protest went without incident.
Lincoln Bain, another participant, expressed gratitude for “treating us like Bahamians, like citizens”, noting the group did not have a permit from the commissioner of police.
“The police came out here and gave us up to a specific time to be out here,” he said.
“That was very reasonable and I just want to thank them for that.”
In a statement yesterday, the Disaster Reconstruction Authority outlined its efforts to restore both islands since the deadly storm.
It said $30 million had been spent on the management of debris sites and community clean-up from the disaster zones on both islands and surrounding cays.
It said the entire figure was spent with local Bahamians “keeping money in the Bahamian economy”.
“We are proud to say that all disaster zones in terms of clean-up has come a mighty long way and we expect as more residents continue to return to rebuild the work has to continue,” the DRA said.
“It is anticipated that the normal municipal waste collection and further debris removal will soon be managed by the local stakeholders in each community.”