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Editorial: Bold Decisions At A Time When They Are Needed

WE said it was crunch time for Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis ahead of his national address yesterday – and the stakes only got higher as the country set a new single-day record for COVID-19 cases.

It was a time for tough decisions, and whether you agree with the choice he made or not, it was certainly a bold moment in closing down commercial travel to and from the United States once more.

It’s a difficult decision indeed, because Dr Minnis knows what it means to the economy, but with Atlantis delaying its reopening indefinitely too, both government and private businesses are looking at the tourist market from the US and realising the danger it represents right now, with COVID-19 still surging there. Yesterday alone, Florida had 12,478 new cases, taking the state total alone to more than 350,000, nearly as much as the total population of The Bahamas.

In this column, we had argued previously that the government ought not to be afraid of saying no to the US if cases were at such a level that they presented a risk to our nation’s health.

The soaring number of cases there – and the increase in cases here since people started to come back in from the US – shows the level of risk we face.

Grand Bahama, which had gone for such a long time without new cases, has seen 30 new cases in the past two weeks. A series of new clampdowns there take effect today, and a medical team has been despatched to monitor the situation more closely.

So is Dr Minnis doing the right thing? Largely, we would say yes. No one wants to roll back the hard-earned freedoms we have rediscovered as our number of cases has reduced, but here’s the most important thing – we know these measures worked before, we know they can work again.

We might quibble over whether closing the beaches again is necessary, because if people want to gather together they can go and do that in restaurants instead in a more enclosed environment.

We might wonder whether the newly instituted COVID-19 enforcement unit of the police force could not keep people from large gatherings and allow those who respect social distancing to act a little more freely.

We might, in the other direction, wonder whether private flights from the US should also be stopped in addition to commercial flights.

But we know that we need to stop this virus again, and we need to do so now. Closing things down again in response to a clear surge – and that’s what we’re seeing – is understandable.

We might wish for the opportunity to ask more questions of the Prime Minister in those moments – but that’s a weight that will fall on his newly minted Minister of Health. Renward Wells MP is an engineer, not a man with a medical background, but he is Dr Minnis’ choice to lead the Ministry of Health as the full-time successor to Dr Duane Sands.

It is a big task, and a big moment, and we shall see if Mr Wells is able to rise to the occasion.

We do hope he takes a leaf out of Dr Sands’ book in being present at briefings, and willing to answer questions about why the government is taking particular actions. It helps Bahamians immensely to be able to understand the process, and know that their concerns can be aired by reporters in order to gain an official response.

Simply put, the government has asked Bahamians to forego some of their liberty for a while to combat the disease, and it is only proper that they present a public face to reassure and explain.

It’s a big decision to close the doors again to the US. Already, as we write this column, people on social media in the US are carrying the news on The Bahamas and condemning the US president that it would come to this.

We would say only this – that we wish the very best for our neighbour and that we hope that it can wrestle the pandemic affecting it into submission. America is often held up as the greatest nation in the world, and it has the power to rise to this challenge.

We look forward to seeing our friends and our visitors as soon as possible. There is only one unwelcome guest to our shores – the coronavirus itself.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 2 weeks, 1 day ago

"bold"

it's that word that's led us down this path. All these bold decisions have undone 3 months of work by Dr Sands and the health team

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tribanon 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Who writes this wishy washy kiss arse leftist trash for The Tribune? I couldn't stomach more than the first seven paragraphs with the seventh paragraph being the most offensive BS.

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ISpeakFacts 2 weeks, 1 day ago

So is Dr Minnis doing the right thing? Largely, we would say yes. No one wants to roll back the hard-earned freedoms we have rediscovered as our number of cases has reduced, but here’s the most important thing – we know these measures worked before, we know they can work again.

LMAO Minnis and "doing the right thing" don't belong together!!!

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whogothere 2 weeks ago

Except his "success" was limited testing. They did 1000s tests between Sunday and Monday and turned up 21 cases...0.021% of people the tested turned up positive.. And no ones talking about that all they hear is record cases...rather the fact there is a record number of tests..

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proudloudandfnm 2 weeks, 1 day ago

As I read this GB is now 51 new cases thanks to opening the border to the US...

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Dawes 2 weeks ago

Its not bold. Its trying to hide from the virus. Effectively we are going to shut every time there is a spike. So then there is no point in opening. Just shut it all down. I am sure we will all be ok. Or you could try to have the police enforce the social distancing laws. if a restaurant is found to not be doing what they should close that one down. If people are at the beach in large groups arrest and fine them. What he has done is the easy way out, in the hope that in a couple of weeks he can re-open and there will be no more spread. Chances of that are very low.

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tribanon 2 weeks ago

Just pray the borders were re-closed to travellers from the US soon enough. Undoubtedly some (but let's hope not many) Bahamians will pay the ultimate price for the stupidity of Minnis and D'Aguilar in foolishly deciding to re-open our borders when they did in the first place. Enough information was known at the time to keep our borders closed to travellers from the US, at least through the end of August. But dumb D'Aguilar, and even dumber Minnis, thought they could get tourists to visit in large numbers if they re-opened our economy in the midst of a raging pandemic in the US. As the film character Forrest Gump said: "Stupid is, as stupid does".

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stillwaters 2 weeks ago

Bahamians want to hold the government to standards they are not willing to apply to themselves. They criticize the government for opening borders in order to chase the mighty dollar, while they were pushing the government to hurry up and open up their business so they could chase the mighty dollar.

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tribanon 2 weeks ago

So you're saying directionless Minnis with his tiny rat-size balls is too dumb and weak a leader to think for himself and do the right thing by the Bahamian people as opposed to the wrong thing desired by the Bahamian people on the basis of what little info is available to them in the public domain. Most of us could agree with that. After all, it's Minnis and not the Bahamian public who is privy to all of the more sensitive "non-public" Covid-19 info and advisories shared by healthcare experts, global health authorities and other governments around the world.

We have since learned that based on all the relevant Covid-19 info available to Minnis and D'Aguilar prior to their very foolish decision to re-open our borders to travellers from the US, they should have kept our borders closed at least through the end of August. The harm Minnis and D'Aguilar have done to us is truly unforgivable, but even more unforgivable is their effort (or spin) aimed at blaming us, the Bahamian people, for the consequences of their most foolish and stupid decision to re-open our borders in the midst of a pandemic raging in many states in the US, especially Florida.

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stillwaters 2 weeks ago

As long as Bahamians are not taking responsibility for the stupid things they are doing, we won't move ffirward. This is not rocket science, no matter how much you talk about....science .....we all know the five or six things to do to keep our personal safety....no extreme science involved.

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tribanon 2 weeks ago

I suspect if Minnis shat and it stunk to high heaven everywhere, you (and him) would still blame Bahamians for the foul smell. We all know it was Minnis and not the Bahamian people who had the authority and most foolishly decided to re-open our borders to traveller from the US.

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stillwaters 2 weeks ago

I am not a Minnis fan, but that does not mean that I will sit back acting like we are all so confused that we choose to keep doing crap, rather than do what common sense dictates.

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tribanon 2 weeks ago

Rubbish! You're a die-hard supporter and agent of Minnis and will always be as such. You, Topdude, TigerB and many others like you are all trolls on this web site for Minnis, spinning whatever he wants and tells you to spin his way. That's fine, soldier on up that steepening hill you've chosen to climb. At the top will find a cliff for you to jump off of.

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stillwaters 2 weeks ago

I wish you would write your own hate laden comments and stop flipping trolling mine every damn time I post a comment.

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geostorm 2 weeks ago

An excellent editorial!

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birdiestrachan 2 weeks ago

This Editorial contradicts itself. closing the beaches wrong. allowing private charters and Yachts wrong . the wrongs out weigh any rights

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birdiestrachan 2 weeks ago

and add to all the wrongs the appointments of Wells and Robinson WRONG

There are no Tourist what is Robinson going to do?

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