AFTER a long day of waiting to find out who the new Minister of Health would be, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis revealed there was only one man for the job – himself!
It’s not quite what we imagined when he announced he would make a statement on “who will serve as Minister of Health”.
If anything, it adds to the sense that there hasn’t been a clear plan of action since the now-departed Minister of Health, Dr Duane Sands, said last week that he took responsibility for the decision to allow two Americans – that he later discovered to be a family of six – into the country along with a donation to COVID-19 supplies.
Dr Minnis knew that position before he made his national address on Sunday – when he said Dr Sands would make an announcement the following day.
The whole process since then – a reportedly false letter saying Dr Minnis was not going to accept the resignation, Dr Sands then offering his resignation and it being accepted, all conducted in short statements without greater explanation – leaves more questions in the air than answers.
In looking at what led to Dr Sands’ departure, what stands out is the lack of questions asked before the flight – even to not knowing how many people were on the plane and wanting to come into the country.
It’s a lack of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s, a lack of making sure that things were done the right way.
In the time between Dr Minnis speaking on Sunday and his appointment of himself as interim minister last night, the public has been left to wonder precisely what has gone on.
The two statements from the Prime Minister were 50 words or less each but even within the second of those statements, they had the coat of arms on backwards!
In addition to the six Americans in the flight fiasco, suggestions are being raised that others have come in despite the boundaries reportedly being shut.
The names that have been suggested include famous or wealthy individuals. It adds to the concern that if you have the right phone number or the right contact, you can get in while other Bahamians are left waiting in the US to be allowed back.
If the reason for accepting Dr Sands’ resignation was because he breached the protocol for allowing people into the country, it must be made very clear whether any other flights met that protocol – and if not, who arranged them and what the consequences are for those individuals.
In warning about COVID-19, Dr Sands warned last month that it could kill “rich or poor”. If the virus can treat people alike, then why can’t we?
So far, 11 people have died and a minister has resigned. Surely that’s enough.
A deadly reminder
Two lives were lost yesterday. One 17-year-old boy shot dead. One man in his 40s stabbed.
It is a grim reminder that while the country wrestles with COVID-19, the underlying issues have not gone away. We do not know the reasons yet for these crimes, but we know the problems the country faces with crime, poverty and homicides.
Each crime took place despite a 24-hour curfew monitored by police. Each served as a warning of the problems that will return. Some of those issues will be magnified – poverty will only have increased. As much as the focus remains on defeating this virus, we must be very conscious not to forget the other problems our country faces.