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‘Why Are They Still Closed?’: Islanders Angry At Lack Of Answers On Keeping Them Shut

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

RESIDENTS in Family Islands without COVID-19 have criticised the government’s decision for not allowing Exuma, Eleuthera and San Salvador to resume commercial activities, saying it’s unfair that some islands without cases are given certain freedoms, while others are not.

Calling the situation “disappointing” to residents who have been following the health and safety protocols since the pandemic began, one San Salvador resident, who wanted to be identified as Mrs Sawyer, said the community is in need of answers from the government as to why their lives cannot return to some normalcy.

“The persons in San Salvador are very, very angry,” she said. “If we don’t have any cases here, I don’t know why. Rum Cay is right next door to us and they give Rum Cay the (freedom) to move around and they still have San Salvador at a standstill.

“There wasn’t any incident reported that caused us to not be clear like the other islands, especially like Rum Cay that’s right next door to us. I know they don’t have as much residents as San Salvador but like I said, we’ve been practising (social distancing) and abiding by the rules.”

On Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis relaxed restrictions on Cat Island, Long Island, Abaco and Andros, allowing commercial activity to resume on the communities along with the other islands that were given the green light earlier this month.

However, Exuma, San Salvador and Eleuthera, which also have no confirmed cases, were absent from the list, with no explanation given by Dr Minnis or health officials on the matter.

These islands have been under strict guidelines for roughly eight weeks now, despite having no confirmed COVID-19 cases.

In view of this, Mrs Sawyer said residents are calling for the government to listen as the current restrictions could potentially affect preparation for the upcoming hurricane season.

She said: “You need the support of the community to go and assist to help and prepare the homes for hurricanes. So, it will affect us because we have an elderly person in San Salvador that doesn’t have family members here who are able to help her and assist with getting her house prepared.

“Even though we have a hurricane committee that does it, sometimes persons in the community who are not even on the hurricane relief committee may take the initiative to go and help assist other persons to make the process much quicker and to get everyone well prepared.

“We thought we would’ve been cleared in the first one, but they skipped us and went to Rum Cay. That was like ‘what’ and here it is again, they bypass again so we’re thinking that its something that is personal, and we haven’t had any cases.”

San Salvador’s Island Administrator Earl Campbell added: “Some of the other concerns that persons have here is a lot of the restaurants and other businesses aren’t open, but in addition to that persons here they want to go crabbing and the crab business is a part of the local industry.”

Residents of San Salvador are not the only ones questioning the logic of the government’s decision.

Referring to the situation as “mind boggling”, Maxine Wilson, of Harbour Island told The Tribune yesterday that “it doesn’t make sense” that residents cannot operate freely, while construction workers from New Providence are allowed to travel to the island.

“It’s funny because they still allow persons to come here,” she said.

“Because there’s construction going on and they had people come in from Nassau here so I don’t really understand what they’re trying to protect if they’re still allowing people from the capital where the virus was mainly to come here.

“That doesn’t really make much sense to me but, they probably have their reasons why they didn’t open up.”

Expressing his dismay on the matter, Exuma and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper noted that the residents of Exuma were “deeply disappointed” with Dr Minnis’ address.

He also accused Dr Minnis of acting like a “dictator” who doesn’t have to explain “nonsensical decisions” to the public.

“There was no legitimate reason given for why Exuma cannot resume commercial activity while other Family Islands are allowed to do so. The prime minister appears to be using the emergency powers granted to him to lord over the Bahamas as a dictator without having to explain the nonsensical decisions he is making to the people whom he serves,” he said in a statement on Sunday.

Attempts to get an explanation from health officials on the matter were unsuccessful up to press time.

Comments

happyfly 11 months ago

Dont worry. Elections will come around sooner or later and these so-called "Public Servants" are going to have to crawl into a deep hole and lick their wounds once the people have had a chance to realize how abusive they have been. Add a ruined economy to that and the PLP could run a drunk three-leg donkey and it would win

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moncurcool 11 months ago

Only a fool believes the current PLP and its leadership have the people at heart. the same man who lied in parliament about BAMSI having insurance and it didn't? And he sees no reason to resign for his moral ineptitude and wants others too? And that's who you want to run this country? Minnis may be bad, but Davis just is not an option.

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Clamshell 11 months ago

Well, a drunken three-leg donkey would be an improvement over Philip “Gravy” Davis.

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longgone 11 months ago

A drunk three-leg donkey would be better than what they ran before!

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SP 11 months ago

Whatever the reason is, and even if its' an invalid reason, the donkey gets my whole families votes too, hands-down!

Give the damn donkey a pair of crutches and another case of rum. Going back to the PLP is NOT an option.

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TalRussell 11 months ago

Our comrade Abacoians has never struck me as being anything but out islanders with loooong UBPism voting history, so became clear as the colony's blue sea waters that the very second Abacoians in mass decided that their out islands concerns were not the concerns of their House elected redcoat MP''s that there'd be no reversal to the turning of their backs on the dictates Imperialists' authoritarianism redcoats, come the creeping up general election.day and hour.
Even Abaco's Swimming Pigs have begun swimmers social distancing themselves apart from Abaco's two redcoat House MP's. Nod once for yeah, Twice for no?

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Clamshell 11 months ago

Here’s something fascinating:

Dr. Minnis punished Eleuthera because of a motorcade. Just now, in his daily briefing, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo — whose state has been savaged worse than any place on earth by this virus — just encouraged New Yorkers to organize car parades to celebrate Memorial Day.

Go figure.

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Kiley 11 months ago

Keeping Eleuthera locked down had nothing to do with the motorcade on Friday. In the Ministry of Health press briefing on Friday the good Dr. laughed at the reporter from Eleuthera when she asked about opening up like the Southern Islands.

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TalRussell 11 months ago

Lord almighty. Imagine having political gall load up a Defense Force's Marines barge set sail out from Nassau loaded with the Imperialist's High Priest's of where and when moved about your own island, motorcade's Royal Constabulary side riders, and then hundreds of curfewed movement restricted Eleutheran's - made, stand dockside watch its docking and unloading.
And some still think we are making this all up. Well, just, can't. Nod once for yeah, Twice for no?

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sealice 11 months ago

this stinks wonderfully of petty political BS... nice reminder that the our red devil masters are as petty and crooked as our yellow devil masters....

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longgone 11 months ago

Red or Yellow Devil Masters---Can't win for losing I guess!

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SP 11 months ago

We really should give the three-legged, drunk donkey a try.

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stillwaters 11 months ago

Totally willing too.....go donkey !!!!!

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stillwaters 11 months ago

Wait.......what is the donkey's name?

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