EDITOR, The Tribune
A few months ago, while appearing live, large and in charge at a political event at the Edmund Moxey Park off Blue Hill Road, the PM announced that “the campaign” was on. I am certain that he, not being a known prophet, had absolutely no idea how correct he would have been. Had he known better he would have talked about other issues and matters of concern. Indeed it has often been said: “Be careful what you ask or wish for”.
The FNM has a little over two years remaining in this term, hopefully the first and only one for Minnis and company. The Bahamas cannot take another term in office by this man and his cabal. Minnis, of course, had absolutely nothing to do with the arrival of hurricane Dorian last year and I am equally certain that he had nothing to do with the advent of the Corona virus. The way how he has/is dealing with both of these devastating matters, however, will be the criteria by which he and his administration are judged.
Dorian was predictable to an extent because we all are aware of the traditional start of the hurricane season. More and better preparations could and should have been made. NEMA and those in charge appear to have been caught totally unprepared by the onslaught of Dorian and the massive material damage inflicted on Abaco and Grand Bahama. Almost a year later the reconstruction and rebuilding work goes on and on with no clear end in sight.
Now, yet another hurricane season is unfolding. The Minister of State for National Disasters and Reconstruction says that he and the relevant agencies are not yet up to scratch. He also indicated that some school buildings will be utilized as shelters during the upcoming season if need be. He indicated that the idea was his and his alone but that other stakeholders had bought into the idea!! To use cramped school rooms as shelters is a recipe for the massive spread of the Corona virus, which I am sure will still be lingering come August and September of this year, unfortunately.
A government that is unable to provide a decent Christian burial for citizens and residents within its national confines does not deserve to be in place. What is the gig hold up, if any? This whole exercise is nothing short of a disgrace and a serious indictment on the ability and capacity of this crew and its hapless leader. I continuously hope and pray that Minnis will get it right but this is the Minnis Era and, except God Himself assist the PM he should start clearing out his offices at the Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield Centre in short order and, please PM, turn out the lights when you close the door.
All of the efforts of Minnis and his cabinet so far have been nothing short of a study in futility. He mandated social distancing (and it makes sense) and he/they also unilaterally shut down the local economy( the dumbest thing possible without proper safeguards and protocol. They are relying on social distancing; limited gatherings and the vain hope that the average Bahamian will exercise prudence and common sense.
Almost any week day, when people are moving about, you will see scores of Bahamians and others walking up and down the streets of New Providence and driving around with no face masks....period....especially in the inner city areas where the bulk of residents in New Providence live. Living conditions are already challenged and the deadly corona virus thrives in this environment. To see a police officer walking and patrolling major roads and streets over the hill is like waiting for the Moon to fall from the skies.
We have three police stations in the traditional inner city: those at South Street; Quackoo Street and the Blue Hill Road. We also have ones at Wulff Road; Fox Hill Road and the Carmichael location. Yet, it is a wonder of the world that few if any officers are on foot or vehicular patrol. My daughter and I drove along Bay Street the other day from Nassau Street straight up to Harbour Bay Shopping Centre. We were stopped at least three times by officers on foot at the traffic lights along Bay Street and at the foot of the Sir Sydney Poitier Bridge. That was it.
Driving along Mackey Street and Robinson Road on our way back home in Stapledon Gardens, apart from one or two marked police vehicles racing along the streets and blaring their sirens, not one single officer was in sight. When we drove past several cash transmitting stores on East Street and Wulff Road and at Andros Avenue and Quintine Alley, there were massive lines and absolutely no apparent regard for social distancing. In addition, there was no visible police presence for crowd control. Where are the police?
I am convinced that the PM and his people have absolutely no idea as to how to deal with the pandemic other than following the lead of the USA and other nations with the mandatory lock downs and curfews while hoping for the best with social distancing. The limited reopening of certain selected stores and businesses (while a good thing maybe premature). At least if Minnis and Peter Turnquest were to have a cash plan to alleviate some of the debts which are piling up daily by tens of thousands of jobless Bahamians, they may be able to survive a bit easier.
President Donald J. Trump has been lambasted for many things but at least he was able to cobble together a financial relief package for millions of unemployed Americans. I admit that the scale of economies are different but at the very least Minnis and crew could have assisted more. By the way how come we do not hear about the rent/mortgage relief plan any more? Banks are expecting their mortgages to be paid.
Landlords expect their rent on a timely basis. With no cash in sight for many, how will this be done. Minnis has no contractual locus standi and/or ability to intervene in private contracts without the expressed consent of the parties thereto. The PM may believe that he is all powerful under the provisions of the bogus Emergency Powers Act and the regulations thereunder but he is subjected to law like anyone else. We have no king in The Bahamas who rules by divine decree. I am anxious to see and hear about a serious and solid economic stimulation plan for the nation and for individual Bahamians.
If there are none we will be consigned to at least another year or more of pure economic hell. Tens of thousands of Bahamians will be obliged to stand on Minnis’ Bread Line. To God then, in all things, be the glory.
ORTLAND H. BODIE, JR.
May 17, 2020