By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT
RESIDENTS of Bimini are no longer anxious, but adjusting well to life in COVID-19 lockdown, according to Island Administrator Cleola Pinder.
The island has been under a strict 14-day lockdown since Monday.
“Everybody is indoors,” said Ms Pinder. “The streets are very quiet. Everyone who needs food or anything else, we are taking care of it right away. So I think the residents are comfortable now and not as anxious as they were prior to the lockdown. They realise now that it’s not so restrictive. We are not stopping emergencies, all you have to do is log your movements with the police.”
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, announcing the lockdown last week, said the measure was “absolutely necessary” to slow and control the community spread of COVID-19 on the island.
Bimini has had one death, due to the virus and 13 cases, up to press time.
“A lockdown like this is not something that would have been preferred, but it is absolutely necessary because things will get worse on Bimini if we don’t take this strong measure immediately,” Dr Minnis said last Thursday. “Had it not been for the weather we are experiencing now, the lockdown would have been sooner.”
At the time, Dr Minnis assured residents that there would be sufficient food and medicine and various measures were being taken to ensure safety of workers and residents, including additional police on the island.
“We are making sure that persons are not at a disadvantage because of the lock down,” Ms Pinder continued. “Certain things are still happening. We do have a freight charter flight that’s coming in today (Wednesday) so our essential care volunteers will be the ones who take care of that. We have two gentlemen who will go and collect the freight and deliver it to those who would have made the order. So it’s not so restrictive and residents are a bit more comfortable.”
Giving examples of how organised the island is for the lockdown, Ms Pinder noted that those on Bimini who are unable to feed themselves will not have to worry, as they will not be left out.
“We are preparing hot meals today for those persons who may not have the means to cook,” she said. “We are going to issue hot meals to those persons for the next ten days. I’ve already assigned someone to prepare the food. I think curried chicken is on the menu today. We are making sure that every need is met. For example, a few persons had situations where their (cooking) gas ran out and what we did was establish a credit with the gas company and one of my essential care volunteers picked up the tank from them and took it to the person.”
As for Ms Pinder, she said she was actually just staying home, manning the helm and delegating so that each task was taken care of.
“We have someone to do each task, so it’s not a burden on any one person,” said Ms Pinder. “So things are running quite smoothly. The residents pretty much understand that if they have a need we are going to get it for them and so they are not as anxious as before.”
She acknowledged there was a “little hiccup” at the start of lockdown. She said the boat coming in from Grand Bahama, laden with the island’s essentials, was late and it created chaos as it was dark, they couldn’t see and to make matters worse, the rain came down. The start time for the lockdown had to be pushed back by two hours as a result.