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Emergency Orders To Run Beyond Tourism Reopening Until End Of October

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis.

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Senior Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis pleaded with Bahamians to comply with COVID-19 protocols for at least three more weeks as he gave notice that the country’s state of emergency will extend until October 31.

He spoke in the House of Assembly yesterday morning during what House Speaker Halson Moultrie called an “extraordinary sitting” after a Parliament staff member tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

Parliamentarians are not entering quarantine despite the potential exposure, citing advice from health officials. However, Speaker Moultrie said both he and parliamentary clerk David Forbes have tested negative for COVID-19.

Yesterday’s short sitting was adjourned until September 23. According to Mr Moultrie, 15 members attended the sitting, including himself and the deputy speaker of the House.

Progressive Liberal Party members were not in attendance, citing concerns about the virus.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis criticised the absence of Progressive Liberal Party leader Philip “Brave” Davis.

“Under no circumstances would the government nor myself place any Bahamian or even a legislator in any form of danger,” he said. “I’ve been in constant communication with the medical professionals and have been assured of the protocols and as you’ve stated we carry on with the protocols as the medical professionals would have advised us to.

“It’s unfortunate that the leader of the opposition is not here. We all know that the leader of the opposition has COVID and the leader of the opposition has antibodies. For all intents and purposes the leader of the opposition is immune. He is the most safest in this country at this time. He is immune and that immunity will last three to six months. We don’t know the duration but we do know that he is the safest in this country at this time so it’s unfortunate that he is not here.”

According to Dr Minnis’ Emergency Powers Orders, however, a person is required to quarantine for 14 days after returning from travel abroad. Mr Davis returned to the country last Friday from the United States where he was being treated for COVID-19.

Dr Minnis also foreshadowed the approaching reopening of the country as he pleaded with people to follow COVID-19 protocols.

“The medical team, health professionals have been doing an excellent job in conjunction with the minister of health and we would note that numbers are coming down,” he said. “I must congratulate those in the construction industry who have become more disciplined and compliant in terms of wearing the facial masks and that may have possibly helped why we are seeing a decrease; I can’t say at this particular time.

“But I’m still somewhat disappointed by the amount of illegal social gatherings and parties that are still occurring. I ask the Bahamian people if they can at least remain compliant just at least until the end of this particular month by wearing facial masks and trying to resist from such social gatherings it would do a lot for their country in that it would accelerate the process of the decline and decrease in COVID cases that we are seeing and would help us to reopen a lot sooner and would help them in returning back to their jobs and would help the country. So I’m only asking that the Bahamian populace just make a three weeks of sacrifice by utilising the masks and yes I know it’s uncomfortable and discomfiting for some, but what is three weeks of discomfort for a lifetime of success both in the economic and for the future of this country?

“I send out a plea for the Bahamian people to be compliant for us over the next three weeks as we continue to open our country. And they would not be surprised to hear very soon that the Family Islands now are being declared COVID-free because that’s the message we want to send out to the world so the world would come and visit our country and help to boost our tourism and economy. But the Family Islands are doing well. Harbour Island for example has no cases and I’m happy to say Harbour Island is free for all intents and purposes and can engage in activities but still follow the mitigation protocols.

“I would be happy to stand very soon and declare that the entire Bahamas is in such a state but we would need their compliance just for three weeks. Three weeks of sacrifice by our young people and our Bahamians and three weeks of enforcement by what we call the Bahamian security force because we’re all a part of this together. We can’t leave this just to the police. The police are stressed. They have an entire nation to manage.”

Yesterday, PLP chairman Fred Mitchell responded to Dr Minnis’ “attacks” on Mr Davis, calling his remarks “divisive” and “contradictory”.

“The prime minister told the House that it was ‘unfortunate’ that the leader of the opposition was not present in the House,” Mr Mitchell said in a statement. “What a joke. The COVID-19 orders signed by the competent authority, the prime minister, require returning residents to quarantine for a period of 14 days upon arrival.

“Mr Davis is complying with that protocol despite the fact that the attorney general claimed in the Senate that the rules do not apply to members of Parliament and senators. The leader of the opposition therefore claims no special privileges. He sticks to the rules,” Mr Mitchell added.

Comments

ISpeakFacts 4 months ago

Tourism Reopening

Good one lol, wonder which idiots will come to the Bahamas to "Vacation in Place" as they would call it, when they can go spend their time and money elsewhere in the Carribbean where the Prime Minister isnt a complete idiot and hasnt lost their damn mind!!!

Parliamentarians are not entering quarantine despite the potential exposure, citing advice from health officials

Of course they aren't, this country is ran by corrupt thugs after-all! NO RULES APPLY TO THEM!

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tribanon 4 months ago

This corrupt, incompetent, nasty, arrogant and vindictive arsehole will not easily let go of the extraordinary power he thinks he now has over the people.

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The_Oracle 4 months ago

The Bahamian people have sacrificed far beyond what is reasonable considering the painful Government approach to this Pandemic. On again off again, complex and contradictory rules, Micro rules, Layers of poorly written documents to read and understand, Prosecutions and incarcerations, Fines, Long lines everywhere, Lines I might add entirely created by the Authority. Add all this to terrible implementation at the Civil Service level (Customs, Immigration, Min of Health) for Travel. Most of the economic Damage done, and still being done via Authority Micromanagement is unnecessary. KISS technology would have sufficed. Extending it is pointless. The Cat was let out of the bag by none other than the Authority.

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Honestman 4 months ago

"I ask the Bahamian people if they can at least remain compliant just at least until the end of this particular month by wearing facial masks and trying to resist from such social gatherings"

Frankly, with 55 new cases yesterday, the Bahamian people need to continue with face coverings and social distancing until this virus is under control. Why is the PM putting a time limit on it?

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happyfly 4 months ago

If you haven't figured it out yet - the only place in the world that has COVID under control is Sweden. They put their heads down and pushed through the storm whilst everyone else has embraced the fear and cowered to a bunch of farsical attempts to subdue an airborne pathogen that has done nothing but prolong the inevitable - herd immunity. Papa Doc now understands that he has destroyed our economy and completely failed to protect anyone from the virus in the long term and has no choice but to prepare us for reality. I sure hope you have all been working on your own natural immune systems in the meantime

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Honestman 4 months ago

I am all for keeping businesses open but just think it is premature to be suggesting we are only weeks away from being back to normal. Face coverings and social distancing need to be continued until this thing is under control. Otherwise, no visitors will want to come to our islands where infection rates rage and there are no hospital beds.

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rodentos 4 months ago

every year there are new viruses. Mother nature gave you immune system to handle EXACTLY THAT! you do not need lock downs, face masks, and so on. All you need is healthy life, way to maintain yourself and your family. But the so called government is doing exactly the opposite. Everyone sitting on the couch eating fatty fast food, without moving the body watching shitty TV. Now you do not need to be Einstein to predict the outcome!

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rodentos 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Economist 4 months ago

There is no need to extend the Emergency Powers.

Minnis is just drunk on the power it gives him.

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bogart 4 months ago

Of all the Meetings in Parliament, Her Majesty Loyal Opposition in govt, representing peoples rights, debating skills, in action in Parliament with fierce debates ...did not show up to represent the people. The Englerston MP is a very fierce debater and should have been there as only Opposition party Nassau MP, most populated island.

Willfull and calculated absence of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition from attending Parliament to represent peoples interests...glaring lack of democracy for people for their Opposition representation absence in Parliament.

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Dawes 4 months ago

I think the reason they are extended is due to the fact it means employers do not have to make their decision on whether to layoff (and severance) or rehire a lot of people. Government knows many businesses will have no other choice but to be declared bankrupt and that would make the economic collapse a lot worse then need be. I am sure whenever that date comes there will still be many bankruptcies.

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TalRussell 4 months ago

Shouldn't required but once glance over of the 35 House-elected MP red coats to understand why such types comrade individuals focused on building wealth when starting off on day-one as the elected with financial worths ranging anywhere from not less than $1m to $5m to $12m and closing off at $650 million be's expected to be more receptive introduce authoritarian rule not exactly the ideal candidates for being sensitive riddin' The Colony of poverty corruption, greed and crime. A nod of Once for Yeah, Twice for No?

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birdiestrachan 4 months ago

The competent Authority is incompetent. He does not have the ability to think through he should have someone who when he makes decisions to ask does it make sense?

Opening a parts store without mechanics makes no sense. When he closed service stations.at 1 pm no sense at all. 6 people at a funeral. made no sense. Now he wants more power to make no sense. he took the bread out of the mouths of many Bahamians by not allowing them to work.

The man is visionless and drunk with power.s

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hj 4 months ago

The majority of the Bahamian people have already sacrifised 6 months of their lives. Many have been without income for 6 months while politicians and civil servants keep collecting their salaries,many of them "working from home". You have already proved that the only thing you can do is ordering lockdowns and travel restrictions. Do you really think that 3 more weeks will have any effect? Judging from your actions and from the notorious "efficiency" of the Bahamian civil service you can call for emergency powers for the next 10 years and you still will not be able to get it right

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rodentos 4 months ago

virus will not disappear in 4 weeks. Nor in one year, nor in 10. Look at influenca, despite vaccine still millions of people get sick every year. You need to lock down everyone forever if nobody is allowed to ever get sick. Makes any sense?

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bogart 4 months ago

Isn't this session in the peoples Parliament...when of all Sessions of great importance.... that the nations Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition chose not to show up and represent the people of the nation.????....and those on the Govt side made the herculean effort to show up following virus protection protocols.

"Progressive Liberal Party representatives were not in attendance, citing concerns about he virus."

Totally atrocious, eliminating peoples democratic representation, dispicable action of the Opposition not to show up in peoples Parliament to put the feet of govt on fire and serve the peoples of democratic nation to the best of their abilities and sworn oaths to do so. Past times the one MP 'Big bad Brad' had the phenomenal ability and being in few members Opposition party in govt., had the ability to take on massive govt opposite and gain respect from members.

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ThisIsOurs 4 months ago

"I must congratulate those in the construction industry who have become more disciplined and compliant in terms of wearing the facial masks and that may have possibly helped why we are seeing a decrease"

OMG. This the stuff we spreading as information now

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ted4bz 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Once you freely give up your freedoms and common sense to governments, it becomes a bargaining chip dangling over your heads. Hopes and beliefs are losing cards, you won’t be getting what you waiting for. All of history and whats left of common sense proves you will not be getting Any of it back, well, at least not just like that, not freely, not without a battle and certainly not any time soon.

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