PLP Leader Philip "Brave" Davis.
By EARYEL BOWLEG
PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party leader Philip “Brave” Davis called for the resignation of Health Minister Dr Duane Sands on Friday - and claimed there were potentially other instances of people coming into the country while the borders are closed for Bahamians.
Mr Davis spoke after Dr Sands defended his discussion to allow two Americans, who are said to be Bahamian residents, to enter the country and quarantine at home. He previously criticised the move calling it a “show of hypocrisy.” However, on Friday the PLP leader went on to say he had received information that `this was possibly not the first time this was allowed to happen.
“I don’t think this is the only one and I think we just need to check the records, check customs, and just check Odyssey and we’ll know the numbers that have come in since then,” he said.
“We have been on this since day one crying for them to let our people come home. They refuse to do so, but we were hearing reports. We were hearing reports about others coming in from aboard – not Bahamians, but others coming in.
“We were made aware that at least one airline from the commencement of this exercise had the permission to fly people in and out of the country. So the reports are bound. They’ve been caught now where there’s evidence.”
During Thursday’s Ministry of Health’s press conference, Dr Sands explained the US couple brought COVID-19 testing supplies and he made the decision to allow them to disembark as it was considered “a matter of urgency”.
Yet, Mr Davis argued these same conditions should apply for Bahamians stuck abroad to have medical supplies in order to come back home.
Getting into the country by offering “gifts” that have not been tested makes The Bahamas look like a “Banana Republic”, said party chairman Fred Mitchell.
“We don’t even know if this equipment works or anything, so it comes off as political prostitution. You know you can get in The Bahamas, just offer them some little test and in you come and for a minister to get up and say ‘Oh I take responsibility for it’ and he in law is not the person responsible. So both he and the people who came in are in violation of law.”
Mr Davis chimed in that the prime minister is the competent authority to make the call for the Americans to enter on Bahamian soil. He questioned how a minister could go against that power and breach the measures. According to Mr Davis, Dr Sands stepping down would be the right thing to do.
“He’s accepted responsibility and the next step for him now to do is to do what is right. Having accepted responsibility, what he knows was wrong, what then is the next thing to do – character dictates that he should resign or at the very least offer his resignation to the competent authority,” he said.