Minnis Told Junkanoo Funeral - No Rushout: Mourners Advised Ceremony Feared To Be 'Super Spreader' Had To Follow Covid Rules

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis.

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis.


Tribune Senior Reporter


PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis told Junkanoo members not to hold a rushout that is now at the centre of claims that it contributed to the creation of a COVID-19 cluster.

The rushout was held earlier this month to celebrate Dr Philip “Slimey” Thompson, a prominent Junkanoo figure and member of the Shell Saxons Superstars who died in August.

Amid questions about whether the event facilitated the rapid spread of COVID-19 among participants, Dion Miller, the chairman of the Junkanoo Corporation of New Providence, said yesterday that he and Dr Minnis told participants not to engage in the activity.

“Persons,” he said, “are sending stuff around through social media claiming that this event spread COVID-19 but I don’t think it was an official document or action from the Ministry of Health that confirmed this. However, the prime minister nor the JCNP chairman gave any group the permission or green light to have such an event.”

“They received communication from both myself and the prime minister advising them not to participate in such an event and the organisation made the decision to do what it had to do.”

A spokesperson for the Office of the Prime Minister confirmed yesterday that Dr Minnis advised members not to have the rushout. Without his permission, the gathering likely contravened Dr Minnis’ emergency powers orders.

A representative of the Saxons declined to comment yesterday and health officials did not respond to questions about whether the event is seen as a “super-spreader” of COVID-19.

“As the chairman of the JCNP I would recommend that all persons who were out there participating in that event do their due diligence if they can afford to to get tested and I would encourage everyone to wear their masks,” Mr Miller said.

He said to his knowledge the only person who participated in the event that is known to have contracted COVID-19 is a relative of Dr Thompson.

“As for actual members of the group, I have not heard reports of anyone testing positive for COVID-19,” he said.

Gene “Sparky” Thompson, one of the participants in the rushout and a friend of Dr Thompson, said Saxons leaders did not plan the rushout.

“There was no organisation of any Junkanoo march by the Saxons organisation,” he said. “The Saxons organised that by themselves. Nobody was around me without masks. The Junkanoo group came out of the Ministry of Health yard, they lined up ahead of me and they started the Junkanoo rush. Nobody organised that. They started marching…all of the fellas around me had their masks on.”

Mr Miller said he is not surprised that some disobeyed official orders.

“Dr Slimey Thompson was one of the leaders of that organisation and was like a father figure to many members of the community,” he said. “I knew they would’ve still tried to recognise him in some way despite what we told them. If you go through Mason’s Addition today you’d still see the gigantic banner they have celebrating him. Traditionally in the Junkanoo world when a Junkanoo (member) passes away we honour that person with a traditional Junkanoo rushout. He was a giant in the community and had such a positive impact so they held this event in his honour.”


ThisIsOurs 2 months, 4 weeks ago

" Dr Hubert Minnis told Junkanoo members not to hold a rushout that is now at the centre of claims that it contributed to the creation of a COVID-19 cluster."

How many times will we hear the "I wash my hands, Pontius Pilate" speech? You know what would have stopped the junkanoo rushout? If Dr Minnis had not relaxed the 10 person per funeral rule right before the funeral then reinstated the 10 person rule immediately after. It was clear from a mile away the rules were relaxed for THIS funeral. So bad, Dr Minnis showed up at the funeral himself. We have to stop allowing these things to skate by. If you open the border what you expect people who been locked down for months to do? This I'll allow it but I told y'all not to do it is unacceptable.


tribanon 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Amen! Thank you for so clearly exposing how much of a loathsome hypocrite Minnis really is.


yeahyasee 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Could not agree more, and to top it off nobody will be penalized.


Dawes 2 months, 4 weeks ago

So if i choose not to obey the competent authority nothing will happen to me? Asking for a friend. This is indicative of how useless we are as a nation. My only hope is that it brings the inevitable collapse a bit quicker as it doesn't matter who is in power all rules will be broken as and when certain connected people see fit. Then once we have collapsed hopefully we can build a better Bahamas.


alfalfa 2 months, 4 weeks ago

If they contravened the emergency laws, how many were arrested, fined or imprisoned. The videos clearly show police officers, some of them high ranking, in the midst of this "illegal" crowd. They were not arresting anyone. It was more like they were participating. It is events like these that have all of the law abiding citizens under curfew and lockdown. If you are not going to enforce your own laws, why make them up? Is that reducing the spread and its consequences?


trueBahamian 2 months, 4 weeks ago

It is understandable that members of the Saxns wanted to honor a giant in their organization. But, the PM has to ensure that the rules are followed. There must be consistency. You put in place fines for breach of the emergency orders. So, where are the fines? Why are people not showing up in the magistrates court for this infraction? You allow a rush out but then want to crucify the guy selling coconut water by thr roadside. This is ridiculous.


TalRussell 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Was noted at the time the now suddenly vocal voices went silent when the same Mr. Minnis had publicly stated he took his grandson play game tennis whilst rest you were placed under emergency orders must shelter and play inside. Voices said nothing when they the homeless and coconut water sellers were being imprisoned and fined beyond their pockets.
The man always moves about. in his luxury motor car under heavy constabulary guard accompanied by motorcycle side riders.
Shakehead once for Yeah your comrade not making this up the man became a certified fake since moment em' attempted to pull off the fake OBAN signatory and then later stood up on floor House in an attempt to mislead the House,** Twice for Not


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