Another House of Assembly staffer has virus


Tribune Senior Reporter


A SECOND Parliament staffer has tested positive for COVID-19, raising what House Speaker Halson Moultrie said is concern about “institutional spread” of the virus in the House of Assembly.

Speaker Moultrie said he was told on Friday of the staffer’s positive result, four days after another positive result caused uncertainty about how Parliament would proceed.

Speaker Moultrie said only four of Parliament’s 17 staff members have taken the COVID-19 test to date, including himself, Parliamentary Clerk David Forbes and the two positive cases.

Despite this, he confirmed the House of Assembly is expected to meet tomorrow with more than a quorum of members.

“It is a concern of mine that it is taking an inordinate amount of time to get these tests done,” he said. “I think some of the difficulties would be that some persons are afraid to take the test, second some don’t have the proper facility established that Doctors Hospital demands, some people may not be in the financial position to pay for the test.”

Despite so many staffers not getting tested, Speaker Moultrie said their quarantine period ends in time for them to return to work tomorrow.

The second confirmed COVID-19 case at the House of Assembly does not typically work upstairs in the building where parliamentarians meet but comes into contact with those who do, he said.

“The medical authority has indicated to me that the spouse of that person is exhibiting all of the symptoms as well, so that is a concern,” he said. “Several of the staff members have registered to have their test but we haven’t received any additional results yet.”

Although Speaker Moultrie told the press that he expected parliamentarians to quarantine for 14 days after news of their exposure last week, Cabinet Office later released a statement saying only members who interacted with the positive case for more than 15 minutes without wearing a mask or maintaining physical distance had to quarantine.

Asked about the discrepancy between his view and that of the Cabinet Office, Speaker Moultrie said: “I took it upon myself out of an abundance of caution to personally quarantine and I suggested to staff members and members of Parliament that they should quarantine. I was of the view that in a situation where you are uncertain of whether there was institutional spread, which seems possible now that we have more than one staff who tested positive, it would be in the best interest of everyone to take the test and quarantine for 14 days. That was not information received from any medical experts, but information based on the existing COVID-19 health protocols.”

It is not clear whether parliamentarians have taken the COVID-19 test.

Former Health Minister Dr Duane Sands is regularly tested because of his profession. He has said public health officials should thoroughly investigate the matter and issue individual, not general, recommendations to parliamentarians.

Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine said yesterday he will not attend tomorrow’s House sitting.

“If we are practising what we preach we should all be in quarantine for two weeks based on two persons said to have tested positive,” he said. “Businesses are closing down when this happens yet Parliament refuses to follow its own rule?”


Amused 3 years, 8 months ago

Simply the rules don't apply to these idiots. Only to us common folks


TalRussell 3 years, 8 months ago

Which two has the most credibility?
Now seems likes another major Nassau hotel's management decision push forward their October 2020 opening is in disagreement with the ministry health's statement that the colony isexperiencing a downward slowdown trend in the number testing positive COVID-19. Shakehead once for Yeah why are senior health officials allowed to be saying such things, Twice for Not?


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