THERE are two parts to the measures we are using to prevent coronavirus. On one hand, there are the instructions on what we need to do to stop the virus spreading. On the other, there is the enforcement that needs to be done for those who break those rules.
It is alarming then to discover that people have tried to enter The Bahamas with fake COVID-19 documents.
The process to enter the country is fairly straightforward, whether you are a tourist or a Bahamian or resident returning home.
To get back into the country, you need to present a negative COVID-19 test from the past ten days. One of the recent cases in Grand Bahama, we learned yesterday, was someone allowed on a repatriation test with a 12-day-old test.
The shorter the time gap between taking the test and getting on the flight, the less chance there is for someone to catch the virus in the meantime. The battle against COVID-19 is very much one of reducing the odds – and everything that makes it less likely for someone to catch the virus is a tool we can use.
To find out then that there have been cases where people have faked those documents is something that should not just be a shock, but an outrage.
All the effort that people have put in to prevent the virus from spreading here in The Bahamas could be put in jeopardy because someone faked papers to say they were clear, when in fact they had no idea whether that was the case. We can only hope it wasn’t worse and they knew they were infected.
Minister of National Security Marvin Dames has spoken of stepping up measures to enforce emergency powers in recent times – and with the borders now open to visitors, extra vigilance is very much required.
That vigilance will help protect us – but we should also be aware it should not go too far. The case we report today of a man being pulled over by police and being fined for not having a mask when he was driving alone seems heavy-handed. That same story also, however, notes a case of another man fined for not having a face mask – who said that the officers who arrested him were not wearing face masks themselves. It should not be one rule for one, and one for another, and we hope that the police are following the rules themselves too.
We also hope that the police are able to conduct an investigation of those with faked documents – and bring them to face the court. Such behaviour puts us all at risk, and should be dealt with swiftly.
A MONUMENT was unveiled yesterday in memory of those who died from Hurricane Dorian.
The event was held in Grand Bahama, and we are glad to see that Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest was present to speak at the ceremony.
He said the occasion paid “tribute to those who died as a result of Hurricane Dorian. It reminds us not only of their loss, but also of the tremendous effort and courage the surviving families and friends have had to bear as they carry on and rebuild their lives and properties”.
His presence at such an occasion, and his words, are very welcome. What a shame then that neither he nor the Prime Minister were present at the ceremony when the victims themselves were laid to rest.