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Emergency Powers Set To Continue 'Til November 30

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis speaks in the House of Assembly.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis speaks in the House of Assembly.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis on Wednesday announced the government's intention to extend the country’s state of emergency until November 30.

A resolution to effect this, he said, is expected to be debated during next week’s sitting of Parliament. Earlier this month, Dr Minnis said the discontinuation of COVID-19 Emergency Powers Orders would depend on an improvement of the current situation. However, this has not happened and the nation continues to see a rise in cases - more than 400 over the last several days.

Ahead of the announcement, Dr Minnis painted a bleak economic picture, saying with tourism mostly ground to a halt, the economy “is in the worst state ever in our modern history, indeed much worse than the Great Recession of 2008.”

With record tourism levels reported before the pandemic, he said people must prepare for the reality that these figures will not return for some time.

“The pandemic is not close to ending,” he said. “We will still be in it well into next year.

“Bahamians should not think of this pandemic as a short-term diversion in our lives, that when over it will quickly lead to the resumption of how we once lived.”

However, Dr Minnis referenced several initiatives conceived in a bid to help the Bahamas recover from its COVID-19 induced economic slump and assured Bahamians that a “rebound” is coming.

Speaking in the House of Assembly, Dr Minnis revealed several recommendations from the Economic Recovery Committee, adding the body was instructed to be bold and specific with its suggestions to combat the current economic crisis.

The group’s recommendations include the full legalisation of marijuana for medicinal, religious, and recreational purposes coupled with a regulatory regime that oversees the production and manufacturing, sale, consumption and export of marijuana.

He said the government was also reviewing the possible legalisation of a hemp industry.

He added the government is significantly increasing funding to the Small Business Development Centre with a view to embracing the ERC’s recommendations.

The Killarney MP said $250m over five years will be given to SBDC as a broad, sustained recovery requires Bahamian businesspeople to have the funding required to create jobs.

The ERC has also said a review of the Sovereign Wealth Fund legislation is needed to determine what amendments might be required and how a National Sovereign Fund may be constituted.

“In the past few years, the world’s view on marijuana has changed dramatically,” Dr Minnis told parliamentarians Wednesday. "Marijuana is one of the varieties of the cannabis plant. Uruguay and Canada are the two countries that have fully legalised marijuana.

“In numerous other jurisdictions there has been decriminalisation of the possession of small amounts of marijuana while also legalising cannabis plants for various medicinal and industrial purposes. In the United States, for example, marijuana is fully legal in 11 states. Medical marijuana is legal in more than 30. Hemp is legal at the federal level.”

Dr Minis continued: “The Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana recommended decriminalisation of possession of small amounts of marijuana in its report in January of this year.

“The government will begin next year, the expunging of records of those convicted for the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

“The Commission recommended allowing medicinal marijuana use. The ERC has recommended the full legalization of marijuana for medicinal, religious and recreational purposes coupled with an appropriate but nimble regulatory regime that oversees the production and manufacturing, sale, consumption and export of marijuana.

“There is this consistency in the recommendations of both the Marijuana Commission and the ERC: Our cannabis laws are outdated and must change. The global legal cannabis market is already in the billions of dollars with significant projected growth in the years to come.

“We are reviewing the possible legalization of a hemp industry. We will report back to the nation following greater public consultation,” Dr Minnis said further.

“A hemp industry would include variations of cannabis low in THC. Bahamian-owned or majority Bahamian-owned companies must and will lead any new hemp industry in The Bahamas.”

Regarding small businesses, Dr Minnis said funding has been the greatest barrier for entrepreneurs.

“That is why my government created the Small Business Development Centre, extending millions in funding to those who want to start or expand a business. We will now significantly increase the funding to the centre, embracing a key recommendation of the ERC.

“My government will provide $250m to Bahamian businesses over five years. A broad, sustained recovery requires Bahamian businesspeople to have the funding required to create jobs.

“We need our Bahamian entrepreneurs to have money to create new businesses, or to expand existing ones. With entrepreneurship comes risk. Not every idea we lend to will work.

“But some will and the successes of these Bahamian entrepreneurs will be our shared success.”

Apart from this, the Prime Minister said three major investment projects are still projected to come on stream.

These include a port operation and lease agreement with Nassau Cruise Port Ltd for the redevelopment and operation of Prince George Wharf and related areas, with a capital investment of $200m. Environmental studies are complete and work is ongoing.

The demolition of the customs warehouse has taken place and the demolition of Festival Place is imminent, Dr Minnis said.

ITM and RCCL’s purchase of the Grand Lucayan Hotel and related properties; as well as the re- development of a cruise port remains on stream and the GoldWyn’s construction remains on target.

Dr Minnis also revealed that work on two schools has started. This includes a new government-operated school on Ragged Island, near completion and preliminary work for a school in Inagua.

Comments

ISpeakFacts 1 month ago

Of course it is, the Lockdown King will NEVER let anyone take away his new powers, be prepared because we'll be having more useless lockdowns well into Summer 2021. We've been on a curfew since MARCH, why doesn't this idiot realize that his stupid lockdowns are doing more harm to this country than the Chinese Virus ever could!

Minnis is right, when this pandemic is over, a different world will emerge...a world without this USELESS s.o.b as our PM! This country is forever doomed until this fool is removed from office along with his corrupt and useless administration.

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jackbnimble 1 month ago

Minnis the man with the plan. Lockdown, lockdown, lockdown!

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Porcupine 1 month ago

I don't think PM Minnis has been reading the Bahamian papers these last few years. "Regarding small businesses, Dr Minnis said funding has been the greatest barrier for entrepreneurs." No Dr. Minnis, it is one of the challenges, but not the major barrier. The major barrier is the attitude of our government employees who feel it is their responsibility to hold Bahamians back by saying "no" more often than they say "yes, how can we help?" As a business person, I can tell you that the challenges to doing business are not funding. They are the piss poor attitudes of our fellow Bahamians, who either too jealous, too incompetent or too lazy to do their job. Some have a problem even being at their job. No, Dr. Minnis, your administration is only more of the SOS that we have gotten with every other administration. You want to boost local business? Put some of that Crown Land into Bahamian hands, instead of foreign hands. You want Bahamian businesses? Get rid of some of the onerous taxes and duties required to start businesses. You want Bahamian businesses? Find some public servants who understand what "helping" their fellow citizens actually means. You want Bahamian businesses? Find some Ministers who actually want to help their constituents, not just secure a pension, draw a salary and get kickbacks. Dr. Minnis, you could have a million dollars cash in your hands and still be very disappointed that so many barriers were thrown up to you, as a Bahamian, just for trying to better yourself and your country. I think I have actually heard you say that yourself, some long time ago. Like education, we talk the talk, but just can't find the wisdom to see the reality as it exists. Words, words, words. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Bahamians are tired of eating shit. This paper has been rife with stories about how Bahamian entrepreneurs have been held back at every turn over the years. I do not expect an easy fix. No one alone can do it themselves. Not even you. But, to suggest that funding alone that will change anything in Bahamian business terms is an absolutely ignorant statement, with no basis in reality.

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DDK 1 month ago

So very right you are Porcupine, on all counts!!

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bahamianson 1 month ago

the whole world is on lockdown, it's not Minnis' fault. he does not know what to do. No government knows what to do. The Czech government is closing down after saying in March that lockdowns would never happen again, having almost zero cases in april, having a party in april with over 1000 people celebrating, and lifting all restrictions in the summer. Now , they are in trouble again and locking down. the only solution the world has at this time is to lockdown and pause for a second.

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whogothere 1 month ago

It’s almost like Sweden was right...lockdowns delay the inevitable... I think everyone is forgetting LDs were went to be a temporary Measure to limit the overwhelming of hospitals - not a suit of armor against the disease. It’s now turned out that lockdown certainly kept people out hospitals (not necessarily COVID cases) but people that needed other care. End result is around 100k extra deaths in us between Jan and October mostly of young adults...lockdowns kill...

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tribanon 1 month ago

@bahamianson you must be kidding us when you say, "The Czech goverment". Is that really the best you could conjure up? Believe it or not, many of us do know fake news when we read it. LOL

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joeblow 1 month ago

@bahamianson... please find out the last time Taiwan had a lockdown!

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whogothere 1 month ago

Well mr Minnis power corrupts and absolutely power corrupts absolutely...the irony is you powerless to do anything about the transmission of this disease...the only thing you can do at this point is make what’s left of society doesn’t go to hell in a handbag...put the kids back in school and for the love of Christ stop taking tourism for joy rides...No more lockdowns, no more curfews, allow people to move so they can get cat scans and MRIs, look yeah night clubs are bad idea, gyms aren’t t great either but don t force people to huddle in homes that just makes matters worse. Get people on the beach. Get them outdoors. Situationally this the best defense against transmission...but ultimately at this point herd immunity quickly is the only option fortunately most evidence puts that threshold at 20-40% of the population...

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benniesun 1 month ago

The Bahamas' economy is fubared and we are living on what is left of the fat that was put on. Soon the fat will be gone, and the situation is getting worse by the day. Lockdowns are the way to contain frustrated and angry citizens, so there will be no end to them until the economy can provide for them - which will take years. Trying to live a normal life under abnormal conditions is irrational.

Welcome to the madness of the new normal.

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rodentos 1 month ago

World bank published a report saying lockdowns will go until 2025. So prepare for complete fuck up here in the Bahamas. No tourists, no money, no business, probably also no food until 2025. If you need treatment at the hospital please bring your own oxygen machine and your own organ transplant.

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tribanon 1 month ago

The big picture here is not too difficult to see.

Minnis, with the help of the Chinese Communist Party, is transforming the Bahamas into a police state, having already self-annointed himself as its dictator. And the new Bahamas police state ruled by him will have as one of its principal economic activities the cultivation of marijuana for export (smuggling) to the North American market place. This will provide employment for many thousands of Bahamians who would be expected to toil in the sun day-in-and-day-out for very little pay on the large marijuana plantations owned by the ruling class headed by Minnis.

The Chinese Communist Party will of course be allowed to establish naval and other military bases throughout the new Bahamas police state (much to the chagrin of the US government and its national security interests) in exchange for helping to ensure unruly Bahamian dissidents are mercilessly forced to obey the harsh dictums of the ruling class headed by Minnis.

Just think of the irony here. Many decendants of Bahamian slaves along with illegal immigrants will find themselves toiling in the fields of modern day marijuana plantations in a new era of slavery.

LOL with tears in fear of what's to come.

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rodentos 1 month ago

ask yourself why there are no cases in China where it allegedly came from?

There are only 2 options:

  1. the numbers are fake and they are dying like flies
  2. OR they have vaccine/medicine long time ago.

actually to me a country with 1.5 billion of people saying we have only 15 cases is equivalent to (2).

So there is some possibility that all this was done to troll Trump (re-)election. For this speak also the moment covid arrived: not too early (risk of US finding a vaccine etc) and not too late (then it had no impact on the elections). Add the permanent hate speech of DT against China... you think that didnt arrive anywhere?

If you put the facts together I believe what is going to happen is that "wise chinese men" will "suddenly" "discover" miracle medicine against covid, IF Trump losses the election. If he wins prepare for 4 more years of covid.

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tribanon 1 month ago

Whether Trump wins or loses the US presidential election really doesn't matter a hill of beans to the very sinister and evil Xi Jinping led Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The ruthless CCP have ushered in the era of wicked bio-warfare, consistent with their longstanding ideology and goal of worldwide domination. Undeniably though, Biden would be the easier and much more compromised foe for the CCP to go up against in the coming years. And his running mate would be an even easier foe for the CCP if Biden became president and then had to turn the presidency over to her for any reason.

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JokeyJack 1 month ago

“The government will begin next year, the expunging of records of those convicted for the possession of small amounts of marijuana."

Next year? Next year? Why don't you outlaw the import of toilet paper and make it illegal to be in possession of toilet paper until next year. This will allow the Bahamian people to have at least some small amount of empathy with the so-called law breakers.

It seems like people are being taught that stupidity is a good thing. What will happen when the masses start to engage in stupidity on a large scale because they simply know no other way? All the stupid, all the time - yeah - great. Unbelievable.

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tribanon 1 month ago

Any one know when is Minnis going to allow Wells to come out from hiding in the basement bunker of PMH?

We are in the midst of a pandemic crisis and our minister of health is no where to be found on most days. It's not characteristic of Wells to be quiet as a church mouse. Perhaps Wells is now as overwhelmed and dysfunctional as our public healthcare system. Minnis, a medical doctor no less, was only too quick to toss the hottest political potato to Wells by putting the minister health hat on his head. LOL

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Chucky 3 weeks, 6 days ago

Ok Hitler, I mean Dr Minnis.

You are nothing if not incompetent, and drunk on power.

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