Dames: People attempting to use fake vaccination cards an inevitable issue
“This is all a part of governance”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of National Security Marvin Dames assured yesterday that law enforcement will be ready to monitor for non-vaccinated individuals during the proposed vaccination holiday announced by the prime minister last week.
On Friday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced a day where individuals who have been inoculated against the coronavirus will be able to engage in certain activities that are currently prohibited.
While the prime minister did not provide a date for the “Vaccination Day”, he said an announcement will be made soon.
Dames, who was speaking to reporters outside Cabinet, said the agencies in his ministry will plan the way forward when dealing with the new protocols, insisting he does not doubt their enforcement ability.
Asked whether authorities intend to verify vaccinated individuals at roadblocks and other checkpoints, Dames said: “We’ll have to see how it’s rolled out and we’ll plan accordingly.”
He noted vaccinated individuals would have cards in their possession indicating they are fully vaccinated, adding that it’s not too big a task for officers.
“At the end of the day, what it requires is discipline on behalf of the Bahamian people,” Dames continued.
“That certainly would go a long way in helping to mitigate any issues in relation to any decision that is forthcoming.”
Pressed on whether proliferation of fake vaccination cards is a concern for authorities, Dames said while it is an inevitable issue, he believes officers have been doing a great job cracking down on individuals producing fraudulent documents.
The national security minister said there have been no incidents of fake vaccination cards to date.
“Anytime you have situations like this, it creates opportunities for those seeking to circumvent the law and the police will prepare for that,” he said.
According to Dames, there were 62 people — 27 men, 33 women, one juvenile female, and a juvenile male — arrested in reference to fraudulent COVID-19 test results, and 52 people convicted and fined, totaling $117,500.
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis has said he believes the “vaccine day” initiative will spark “confusion”.
However, Dames insisted yesterday that the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) and Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) have been able to adapt to the changing times.
“I don’t expect anything will be different. Once the competent authority rolls out new emergency orders or new laws are enacted, those agencies have to adjust. This is nothing new. This is all a part of governance,” he said.
Minnis is expected to make several announcements during his closing of the 2021/2022 budget debate.
The government has maintained vaccination is voluntary.