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Minnis No Longer The Scapegoat

EDITOR, The Tribune.

The December 2019 SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in Wuhan, China has exacted an immense social, physical, economic, psychological and political toll on Bahamians. I was surprised to read the Ministry of Health and Wellness' statement concerning the 330 COVID-19 infections on Christmas Day. The Nassau Guardian's report that there were 580 cases between Thursday and Saturday of last week underscores the sobering fact that the Omicron variant of COVID-19, first detected in the African countries of Botswana and South Africa in November, has arrived. In one week, claimed a Ministry of Health official, The Bahamas recorded a staggering 889 infections, with the overwhelming majority being on 21/7 New Providence. What this suggests to me is that COVID-19 is politically neutral.

I am by no means a scientist. But based on my layman's understanding, the Delta, Beta, Delta AY.4.2 and Alpha were the COVID-19 variants in The Bahamas between early 2020 and late 2021. On September 16, Bahamians, suffering from COVID-19 fatigue, opted to elect the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and Mr Philip Brave Davis, instead of the Free National Movement (FNM) and Dr Hubert Minnis. I have stated in this space previously that Minnis' popularity suffered a steep plunge after the advent of COVID-19, which singlehandedly brought the tourism sector and the entire Bahamian economy to their knees. Businesses were shuttered and tens of thousands of Bahamians were plunged into poverty. I believe that COVID-19 was undoubtedly the biggest factor in the FNM's general election loss. Bahamians were tired of the lockdowns and curfews. As competent authority, Minnis was scapegoated for the health pandemic and its attendant devastation of the economy. I recall the former Prime Minister being criticized for his handling of the health crisis, especially his decision to close the Bahamian borders.

When the COVID-19 numbers began to spike after Minnis reopened the borders, he was again criticised. For all intents and purposes, Minnis was placed between a rock and a hard place, due to circumstances far beyond this small nation's control. I also recall Minnis being routinely criticised by prominent clergymen for the FNM government's COVID-19 safety protocols for the church. With the advent of the Omicron variant and the uptick in infections, the Davis administration has implemented a safety policy nearly similar to what Minnis had imposed on the church, limiting indoor gatherings to 20 individuals. The one major difference, however, is the noticeable lack of opposition from the clergy fraternity. Moreover, the Princess Margaret Hospital and the healthcare system are currently experiencing manpower shortage due to COVID-19, yet the Bahamas Nurses Union (BNU), which was extremely confrontational with the FNM administration, has been somewhat benign towards the Davis administration. This might be due to the PLP listening to the concerns of the BNU and other unions – something its predecessor was accused of not doing.

As opposition leader, Davis signed a memorandum of understanding with the Trade Union Congress and the National Congress of Trade Unions Bahamas. Even the media has been uncharacteristically patient towards the Davis administration, something that the Minnis administration was not afforded near the tail end of its term. As Bahamians, we took out our frustration on Minnis for the COVID-19 pandemic. I believe the lack of opposition to the Davis administration over the uptick in COVID-19 infections and the new safety protocols is due to our collective embarrassment in how we reacted to the Minnis administration. This writer had made a conscious decision to stay far away from the polls on September 16. I too wanted Minnis gone. With the PLP winning 32 of the 39 seats in the House of Assembly, it was our way of punishing Minnis for the COVID-19 outbreak. With him no longer Prime Minister, who do we as Bahamians scapegoat for the current Omicron variant outbreak?

KEVIN EVANS

Freeport,

Grand Bahama

December 28, 2021.

Comments

TigerB 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Agreed Mr. Evans, back in opposition, these guys didn't even trust the Health care information offered by the government, they elected to get their own PLP Covid Task Force. We've seen them giving advice on the side on the TV. I am surprised that Darville is using the government experts to reply on now. He totally abandoned the PLP Covid task force. He said the FNM didn't have the answer... perhaps he has some answers now. They can't blame Minnis for this one, they love the blame game.

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sheeprunner12 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Minnis was more than a scapegoat, he was a punching bag for stupid Bahamians who refused to cooperate with the Govt rules OR thought that the FNM Govt had a sinister WHO agenda.

Now that the PLP is doing the same thing, the PLP supporters, PLP clergy & PLP unions and the disgruntled FNMs are shaking their heads at the prospect of jumping from the sinking ship into the ocean. Too late. This PLP Cabinet crew has NO Covid plan to rescue us. Just ride the wave and hope it dies out.

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ThisIsOurs 4 months, 3 weeks ago

"I have stated in this space previously that Minnis' popularity suffered a steep plunge after the advent of COVID-19"

I stopped reading at that line. Clearly everything else would be based on false assumptions. People had had it with Minnis lonnnng before COVID. By October 2017 there was a universal cry for some a plan. The govt seemed to be lost and Minnis was in hiding. DAguilar stated that he didnt know why everyone was crying for a plan because they didnt do any big planning at his company. Oban happened before COVID and the people of Abaco and GB experienced Dorian before COVID.

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birdiestrachan 4 months, 3 weeks ago

No longer the scapegoat. HE IS THE GOAT

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themessenger 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Birdie, I never expected you of all people to claim Dr Minnis the GOAT or Greatest Of All Time? But then who knows what goes on in a bird’s brain, Lol.

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