“This is when you have political pronouncements taking place before a campaign and then after you would have won a government”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Former Minister of Health Renward Wells said yesterday that the Davis-led government has to take responsibility for the repercussions of its decisions to ease restrictions.
Wells dismissed Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell’s assertion that the surge of COVID-19 cases recently observed stems from the Minnis administration’s handling of the pandemic before demitting office.
He also accused Mitchell of being ignorant of the science related to COVID, stressing that the recent surges of cases reflect on the period two weeks prior, outside the window of the general election called by the Minnis administration, which demitted office over a month ago.
“What’s interesting about the chairman of the PLP’s (Progressive Liberal Party) little voice note here is that he is obviously daft when it comes to the science of COVID,” Wells purportedly said in a voice note in an internal Free National Movement (FNM) Whatsapp group.
“There is a 14-day incubation cycle, not a month or 28-day incubation cycle.
“So, at the end of the day, this ‘new day’, obviously they are not wanting to take responsibility for the decision they made on the night of the general election and the days preceding when they decided they would lift the curfew; allow folks to just be able to go and do whatever they wanted to do; that they would no longer have folks fill out the domestic visa, so that contact tracing — the surveillance unit would have a better opportunity to do contact tracing.
“Obviously, he (Mitchell) is off about the science and no wonder we’re seeing the kind of issues that we are seeing.”
A number of Family Islands have recorded increased infections and deaths in recent weeks.
Of the 24 cases recorded on Saturday, 11 stemmed from the Family Islands — nine on Crooked Island, one on Inagua and one on the Berry Islands.
Wells suggested the PLP’s criticisms of the former administration in the lead-up to the general election have forced them to follow through on certain decisions to save face, despite those decisions endangering the public.
“This is when you have political pronouncements taking place before a campaign and then after you would have won a government,” he said.
“You don’t want to look like you have egg on your face in having to change course and changing the policy positions that you put forward, [and] you sort of dig your heels in and allow things to continue in the manner in which they are continuing.
“The sad fact is while they are trying to figure this all out, the Bahamian people are dying.”
Wells recalled that both he and former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said new cases would trend downward ahead of the general election.
In the voice note, he said cases trended downward overall.
He attributed this to the Minnis administration’s aggressive vaccination campaign and targeted restrictions it had in place, namely the curfew.
“The fact that we did keep the curfew hours down so that we could stop the interaction of individuals in more festive gatherings in the afternoon; we kept the festive gatherings during the day down as much as possible as well — the weddings, the churches, the funerals,” he said.
“We understand that during the day, folks go to work and they are much more engaged in activities where you don’t have particularly large gatherings or the potential for that, and during the day, when you had the potential for large gatherings, there were orders put in place to be able to deal with those issues so that we could keep control of the spread of COVID.”
Wells said the former administration’s plan was defined and specific to ensure COVID did not spike in the Family Islands, which he said remain ill-equipped to deal with surges.