PLP leader Philip 'Brave' Davis.
THE Progressive Liberal Party says it will not support another extension of the state of emergency to extend “the sole competent authority’s power to control the lives of the Bahamian people” for another month.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis tabled a resolution in the House of Assembly to extend the country’s state of emergency to November 30, one month past the previous expiration date of October 31.
The resolution will be debated when the House meets on Monday.
“The country has proclamation fatigue,” PLP leader Philip “Brave” Davis noted in a statement reacting to the news. “The Prime Minister is trying the same old methods, the numbers keep going up in deaths and infections, yet the Prime Minister does the same old things.
“The Bahamas has recorded more COVID-19 positive cases in the past few days than Barbados has recorded since the pandemic began in March of this year. We must change course.
“What will it take for this Prime Minister to understand that a lockdown is not a plan? Yet again, he has revealed no plan. He employs the same failed strategy.”
He repeated his party’s “ten point plan” to deal with the coronavirus crisis, which includes offering free testing for all; contact tracing and testing for those who have come into contact with a COVID positive case and isolate those who test positive for the virus, among other ideas.
“It is important to note that case counts are low and stable in many Caribbean countries, but in The Bahamas, we’re nearing six thousand cases and still climbing,” Mr Davis added. “Our country has become a case study for how not to manage a public health crisis.
“The Prime Minister seems to have run out of ideas or even interest. When reporters and the public have questions, he is nowhere to be found, sending out others to defend his failed policies.
“It’s agonising to see other countries put in place science-based policies to protect their citizens while here our doctors and nurses are under siege, Bahamians are locked up every weekend, and suffering from the economic fallout has become widespread.
“We can’t keep failing – the costs are too high. The PLP continues to call for a major shift in testing policy. We need widespread testing so we can find the virus, help people get treatment, trace their contacts, and break transmission chains.
“The government must move quickly to knock down barriers to testing. We need more testing centres, we need to test frontline workers regularly, and we need to add antigen tests to our testing arsenal -- these tests are not perfect, but they are inexpensive and quick and can help us identify cases when they’re most infectious.
“Testing should be free, because your ability to protect yourself, your family and your co-workers from COVID shouldn’t depend on your income. The Prime Minister must move quickly to adopt Free Testing – and if he won’t, he should explain why he believes that, as a deadly virus spreads, it is morally acceptable that a person’s wealth could determine their health.”
The country has been under a state of emergency since March. During the first wave of the pandemic, cases and deaths were relatively low — with just over 100 confirmed cases at the beginning of July and 11 deaths.
Those numbers have surged since July 1, with 6,051 cases reported as of Tuesday and 127 confirmed deaths.