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What About My Wedding Day? Bride’S Anger At Calling Off Her Big Day When Pm Gave Other Ceremonies Go-Ahead

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

A bride-to-be is upset that she cancelled her wedding to comply with COVID-19 rules only to learn that Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis exempted two couples from regulations limiting the number of wedding attendees to five.

The Office of the Prime Minister released a statement last night after photos and videos of a wedding at the Coral Sands resort in Harbour Island went viral. The wedding had more than five attendees, featured a Junkanoo performance and appeared to have guests who did not strictly follow social distancing protocols.

The Office of the Prime Minister said in a statement: “The competent authority granted permission for two pre-planned weddings with more than five in attendance to be held over the weekend lockdown, provided that proper COVID-19 mitigation protocols were adhered to. Permission was granted for a destination wedding on Harbour Island, Eleuthera, and a Bahamian wedding in New Providence. The competent authority has asked the Royal Bahamas Police Force to investigate reports that proper COVID-19 protocols were not adhered to at the wedding held on Harbour Island.”

Wedding planners and engaged couples expressed dismay and the revelation sparked criticism about preferential treatment.

photo

Guests enjoying a wedding at Harbour Island over the weekend.

Dornella Newbold, 29, had a wedding planned for Saturday at 1pm which she cancelled after Dr Minnis announced the new wedding rules during a Ministry of Health press conference on Friday evening.

She said news that a couple was exempted from the rule felt "like an insult, a slap in the face".

“It’s hurtful,” she said. “Everybody knows how expensive it is to put on a wedding. Everyone knows the amount of time that goes into preparing a wedding.”

She said many lack access to request certain privileges from the competent authority.

“I didn’t know any number to ask permission to do things," she said. "They said nothing about whether there was a number to call so I couldn’t reach them to ask them any questions. It’s just double standards. We are supposed to all be under the same order so how could they have their event but others were made to cancel their events after what we heard on Friday night?”

She and her fiancé are now fighting to recuperate their $10,000 investment as most vendors refuse to refund their payments.

“I haven’t heard from one vendor saying they will refund us,” she said. “The flowers were already done. The cake was already done and it’s not like they could be saved for the next time. Both my fiancé and I we had our parents brought here to Nassau for the wedding from Family Islands so the ticket costs are another loss we can't make up. This is such a blow.

"Never in a million years I thought we would be going through this. Now we’re battling vendors, trying to see if I can get refunds and all that. It’s been a hassle and a mess, everyone saying they don’t do refunds and they can only allow me to have the services in the future. I’m not comfortable with that because I don’t know how long we will be in this situation of not being able to host our wedding.”

Ms Newbold said if the new wedding rules were announced earlier she would have saved money.

“I paid close attention to the radio all week because I wanted to see if he would make mention of it," she said. "If he did we could’ve done things differently. He was on the radio days before, had he said something I wouldn’t have made all my payments and the like. But you wait until Friday night at 6pm to address the nation when everything for our weddings were already set, when we couldn’t do anything?”

The couple initially planned to have their wedding on July 4 but pushed their date back because the country “had just reopened” and they wanted more time to prepare.

Ms Newbold said her wedding was planned to follow social distancing guidelines more strictly than what happened at the Harbor Island wedding. “We planned for 30 people,” she said. “In our invites, we requested our guests bring masks because they would need the masks to enter. We told persons doing the decorations to set up tables in such a way that only five people could be at a table to ensure the necessary spacing in accordance with the social distancing rules. We tried to do our part."

The Minnis administration has been criticised for extending privileges to some and not all before during the COVID-19 crisis.

Small restaurant businesses recently complained after learning that the Office of the Prime Minister gave a business group permission to open their restaurants until 9pm while restaurant businesses were generally mandated to close at 8pm.

Dwight Hart, owner of YOLO Grill and Hookah Bar, a restaurant in Exuma, called it a double standard. “Here’s the problem,” he said, “once you do that for one, it shouldn’t be a question where anyone else could write and ask and get it, it should be automatically given because obviously everyone will want the same thing, everyone wants to be open later.”

Comments

joeblow 1 month, 4 weeks ago

People in FNM constituencies need to start calling their MP's advising them to put forth a motion of no confidence in the PM, or else!! Let the DPM take over and lets move forward. I doubt anyone can make as many poor decisions as Minnis has!

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Honestman 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I would love to know what process the tourists followed to get the permission from the Competent Authority to have this wedding in Harbour Island.

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Proguing 1 month, 4 weeks ago

2020 is turning out to be a strange year. Who would have thought that a tourist wedding on Harbour Island would create such a scandal. Anyway no need to worry anymore, Barbados announced that they will take all the tourists the Bahamas does not want anymore...

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Dawes 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Is the person complaining that the other couple got permission to do their wedding? Or that they did not think to call to see if they could do it? Maybe if they called they would have been given the OK? Now to the other items the HI wedding did is a whole different matter. But the wedding itself is not an issue.

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tribanon 1 month, 4 weeks ago

You just don't get it. It is not for our most 'incompetent' authority to decide who should get or who should not get a waiver from his ridiculous orders. None of us should be put in the very demeaning predicament of having to watch him pick the "winners" and "losers" among us.

Emergency orders like all other laws are intended to apply equally to all of us. If Minnis is cherry-picking the privilged 'favoured' few who are exempt from his orders, then the rest of us should simply no longer comply with any of his more ridiculous orders.

Just who the hell does this nasty, arrogant and most incompetent oaf think he is? Who does he think coronated him King of The Bahamas and above the law with the ability to strip away all of our most basic civil rights and liberties in perpetuity?

And how is it this looney-tune clown can be above the law with no responsibility for the untold harm and damages his more ridiculous spur of the moment orders have caused so many Bahamians and Bahamian businesses?

How much longer are we prepared to put up with this power crazed imbecile ruining the lives and livelihoods of so many of us? Are we Bahamians really that damn stupid and can't see what's so obviously going on here?

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Dawes 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Not sure you understand, that all weddings can still happen per the order, with a maximum of up to 5. This person and someone in Nassau asked to have the numbers increased and this was given the OK. The person in the article could have had their wedding with 5 people or asked to see if they had more (as the HI and Nassau people did). The reason this is a big deal is the HI is a foreigner, whilst no one is hearing about the Nassau one.

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geostorm 1 month, 4 weeks ago

@dawes, they will never understand because they dislike the government so much. Many can not be objective. I was trying to find where it said that people could not have their weddings. If you have invested that much money why cancel? I would have gone on as planned and cut back to the 5 people.

The tourists in Harbour island and the one couple in Nassau had the common sense to ask for permission. She could have easily gotten an exemption, especially since as she said the lockdown was not announced until 6pm on Saturday and her wedding was the next morning .I don't understand why everyone is up in arms about the wedding ceremony.

In any event, why are people still planning $10,000 weddings in these uncertain times. A small ceremony with an officiant is all that is needed. Parties and receptions can be planned for another date. #myfivecents

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tribanon 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Geeezzzz! You're a much more persistently assinine and diehard Minnis supporter than @Dawes could ever be. Are all of you folks, i.e. @stillwaters, @Topdude, @TigerB, etc. on Minnis's early campaign payroll? LOL

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realfreethinker 1 month, 4 weeks ago

You are the village idiot just like the couple in the story They had every right to ask for an exemption like the other two couples but chose not to or not smart enough to do it. This has nothing to do with race or discrimination just political mischief.

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WETHEPEOPLE 1 month, 4 weeks ago

You missed the point completely.

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tribanon 1 month, 4 weeks ago

@Dawes is likely one of the few remaining diehard Minnis/FNM party supporters who disingenuously elects to miss every point of well deserved criticism directed Minnis's way.

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Dawes 1 month, 4 weeks ago

No i am not a die hard any party. All parties do bad as well as good and it is up to each person to work out which one they think will either do the most good for them and the country or the least damage.

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tribanon 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Bollocks! You're a loyal diehard Minnis supporter. And if you can't admit that, then you've got some of the same unhinged mental problems Minnis himself suffers from. I've never been a supporter of Minnis, and for good reason - I know the man better than most. But you will never see me denying the fact that I frankly detest him for all too many good reasons that I usually elaborate on, often ad nauseam. You on the other hand, and others like @geostorm, typically ignore most facts and simply disagree with anything and everything negative said about Minnis, but without providing much logical reasoning or elaboration as to why. Oh well, you're right about one thing - you certainly have the right, as does all of Minnis's diehard supporters, to spew and spin deceitful views on behalf of your much beloved supreme ruler.

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Dawes 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Man I feel sorry for you. All you do is rant at Minnis and then anyone who dares to say anything that you somehow assume to be in support of him. Must be a very sad life you lead.

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tribanon 1 month, 4 weeks ago

No need for you to feel sorry for me. Life has been too good to me and my family and I'm happy as a lark. But sadly too few of my fellow Bahamians can say the same because of the likes of Minnis.

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realfreethinker 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Your life may be good but you nothing but a political hack like most of the other posters. You still haven't said what was wrong with the decision to grant the exemptions

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jackbnimble 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I too would love to know who these tourist called at such short notive.

We need to stop with the double standard. Seems to me that if there are going to be exceptions to the rule, then a contact information should be given in your so-called order for exceptions. But we all know it’s not based on that. It’s based on who you are and your connections and to hell with the rest!!

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Clamshell 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Harbour Island appears to be a whole different world, with different rules — the marina owners over there are campaigning in the newspapers and yachting press for party-yachts from covid-infested Florida to head on over to Harbour Island and party-hearty. This very newspaper has been helping them spread that dangerous message.

The Romora Bay Marina resort actually proclaims on its covid page that visitors don’t have to wear masks on their property!

Eleuthera, miraculously, has no covid cases, yet — but if the marina owners get their way, that won’t last long.

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shonkai 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Guess they picked the wrong wedding planner.

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tribanon 1 month, 4 weeks ago

As I've said so many times before:

Minnis is the epitome of a power crazed and most abusive self-annointed tyrannical dictator, no ifs ands or buts. He is without a shadow of doubt mentally unhinged and dangerous to the well-being of our country and its people.

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TalRussell 1 month, 4 weeks ago

The Central Authority might survive agitating the male natives but Mr. Minnis's worst political nightmare be's to have a bunch of comrades upset bride sisters-to-be engaged in a deep piercing of a paralysing stare at His Imperialist through his Imperialists motorcar's windows as his side riders** attempts moves his motorcade abouts the out islands capital's roadways. Just couldn't make this stuff up. Just, couldn't. Nod Once for Yeah, Twice for No?

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Clamshell 1 month, 4 weeks ago

“ ... deep pierecing steer ...” A cow? Or did you mean “stare.” C’mon, Tal, you’re better when you drop the crap and write clearly.

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Jetflt 1 month, 4 weeks ago

And ya'll act like special treatment for special people is a surprise! Why is anyone surprised by this? Welcome to the B-A-H-A-M-A-S!

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DDK 1 month, 4 weeks ago

The PM needs to find a new game to play and/or take a staycation.

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TalRussell 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Ma Comrade DDK, reflect on 'em's Mr.Theodore Minnis has the thirty-four Housed elected red coats MP enablers, and don't forgets 'em's politically appointed to the upper red chamber led by the inconsequential constitutionally ignorant AG Carl Wilshire.Time, Mr. Theodore, exit the OPM.

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tribanon 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I've said it time and time again. Minnis and D'Aguilar revel in catering to every want, need and wish of their foreign friends and have nothing but great disdain for us Bahamians.

If Minnis allowed an already planned wedding to proceed with many guests because of the very short notice he gave for his most recent lock down order, it begs the rhetorical question why did he not immediately clarify his original order by making a public announcement that all weddings already planned for at least the first one or two lockdown weekends could proceed as planned to in order to avoid significant financial harm to the impending newly wed couples.

Minnis and D'Aguilar are both heartless and most vindictive SOBs when it comes to the way they treat us Bahamians. But when it comes to the wants, needs and desires of foreigners, they are all too quick to roll out the red carpet treatment for them.

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bogart 1 month, 4 weeks ago

"Permission was granted for a destination wedding on Harbour Island, Eleuthera and a Bahamian wedding in New Providence."

The writer needs to clarify it some more because the Complainant mentions she and fiance brought their parents from the Family Islands to Nassau (New Providence, Bahamas) for her wedding. So what is the difference between the one described as "destination" Eleuthera Bahamas) and the one referred/described to as "Bahamian" New Providence, Bahamas.

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tribanon 1 month, 4 weeks ago

So according to you we have a foreign wedding 'favour' and a Bahamian wedding 'favour'. What's your point? Do you really think they cancel each other out and all is fine and dandy? Tell that to the unfairly treated bride and groom to be who seem to have suffered great financial loss and stress simply as a result of Minnis not making it publicly known that he does not consider his orders etched in stone and therefore behind the scenes is willing to grant an exemption or waiver to the "right" people when he thinks it's fit to do so. What a joke!

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bogart 1 month, 4 weeks ago

...Tribanon, I am sad at the horrible experience Ms. Newbold and fiance is going through and particular sadened at their contracts and financial loss incurred from Govt decision. There are likely dozens more, perhaps hundreds of contracts and planning of events weddings, funeals, graduation, Christening babies, wedding, business annivarisies, birthdaysetcetc which have been postponed and altered. We all get shorted. On the Ms. Newbold position I would have liked to see their photo published of in all fairness of this couple having plans to wed in Nassau Bahamuan destination just as the other partipants pictured in celebration at the other Bahamian Harbour Island destination. And yes, there are lots of unfair inequalities, lots of unfair situations to many persons under all govts and should have corrections. A solution given the sad situation now that it is known from the Tribune is for the govt to step up to the plate and rearrange wedding free costs for Ms. Newbold who also have stated having wedding with Covid 19 strict guidelines.

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tribanon 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Fully agree that those who have been wrongfully harmed by Minnis's more ridiculous orders given with little or no notice should be able to seek legal redress from the government.

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TalRussell 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Is The Homeless comrade still serving out his jail time up at Fox Hill Prison, courtesy of the red coats courts? Is there a problem with the economy that isn't being caused by Mr. Theodore Minnis?

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BMW 1 month, 4 weeks ago

well muddo sic y'all people could complain!! Not to mention playing drums, lady listened to the radio all week and still did not get a phone number for the competent authority!! FFS this the second time around.

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tribanon 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Why didn't you give the phone number in your post immediately above?

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