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AG concedes July opening ‘cost us dear’

Attorney General Carl Bethel.

Attorney General Carl Bethel.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

ATTORNEY General Carl Bethel insisted the government will not be caught with its guard down again, telling the Senate yesterday officials are now in a “critical” race against time to have all the population vaccinated.

During debate on the extension of emergency orders in the Senate yesterday, Mr Bethel admitted that last July the country let its guard down, an error that “we paid dearly for”.

He also pointed to new, more infectious strains of the coronavirus which are spreading around the world.

He said while officials don’t know much about how these new strains act, it was important to maintain restrictions until most of the country receives vaccinations.

“… The longer the bulk of humanity is not vaccinated there are going to be continual opportunities for this virus to mutate and possibly to become even more contagious, even more variant, meaning that it will kill more people,” Mr Bethel told the Senate. “So, the critical race now is to obtain vaccines and to vaccinate as many Bahamians as possible.

“Pending that we will not drop our guard. We cannot drop our guard. We made that error once in July of 2020 and we paid dearly for it.

“We will not drop our guards again until we have reached the level of vaccination of Bahamians and residents and when I say residents, I mean all populations in The Bahamas. All without discrimination or incrimination. All populations and when we reach that level, yes, we will drop. We will ask the Governor General to please consider (revoking the state of emergency).”

He further assured Bahamians the government’s aim was the protection of their lives, while making a case for emergency orders to be extended to May 23. The Senate passed the extension yesterday.

A new variant of the coronavirus emerged yesterday in the United States, posing yet another public health challenge in a country already losing more than 3,000 people to COVID-19 every day, multiple news agencies said.

The mutated version of the virus, first identified in South Africa, was found in two cases in South Carolina. Public health officials said it’s almost certain that there are more infections that have not been identified yet. They are also concerned that this version spreads more easily and that vaccines could be less effective against it.

The two cases were discovered in adults in different regions of the state and do not appear to be connected. Neither of the people infected has travelled recently, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said Thursday.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said on Wednesday the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine will be “one of the greatest logistical challenges” the country has ever faced.

The National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee, led by Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis, is expected to hold a press conference next week to give details about the vaccine distribution plan and an update on the vaccines.

With help from the World Health Organisation and the Pan American Health Organisation, The Bahamas, he said, has secured enough doses to vaccinate 20 percent of the population once the vaccine becomes available.

“The Bahamas is also looking into accessing vaccines through the African Medical Supplies Platform (ASMP) via CARICOM,” Dr Minnis said. “The government has also made direct contact with providers of approved vaccines. I wish to assure Bahamians that the vaccines approved for use in The Bahamas have met the strict and rigorous standards of the World Health Organisation.”

He added: “To ensure all Bahamians and residents who choose to take the vaccine can be vaccinated safely and quickly, extensive plans are underway to ensure a safe and effective rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine throughout The Bahamas.

“The national rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine will be one of the greatest logistical challenges that the country has ever undertaken.”

The distribution plan, he said, will cover “distribution at the national, district and Family Island levels; training and capacity building; implementation of an electronic immunisation registry; administration of the COVID-19 vaccine; vaccine logistics and storage management; communications and social mobilisation; and monitoring and supervision.”

 Health Minister Renward Wells has previously said cold storage equipment needed to preserve the vaccines will be in the country shortly.

Comments

tribanon 3 years ago

Finally even Carl Bethel concedes that Minnis and D'Aguilar's most foolish decision to re-open our country's borders back in July of last year caused many unnecessary deaths and doomed our entire economy. These two incompetent idiots should have long ago done the only honourable thing left for them to do: Resign!

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ThisIsOurs 3 years ago

I don't think he admitted any fault. I think when he says "we" he means the Bahamian people, not the hasty and catastrophic border opening decision by cabinet

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tribanon 3 years ago

Oh pleeezz.... Flea-ridden AG Bethel never admits fault and can only speak to the public about such matters for and on behalf of those who appointed him to do so. LOL

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TalRussell 3 years ago

Here's lookin directly at you,' Twisty' the colony's Comrade Attorney General (AG).
By putting in place these tough measures now, we can look forward to a better time when we can all plan those vacations,” Prime Minister Trudeau, communicated in a joint and with a stern warning voice conference telephone call to the colony's 'Twisty' Carl Wilshire and Dioniso James.
'Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, and Air Transat are suspending all service to all sun destinations, including the Caribbean and Mexico beginning on Sunday and running until Apr. 30, 2021. Shakehead a quick once for Upyeahvote, twice for Not?

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ThisIsOurs 3 years ago

"Bethel admitted that last July the country let its guard down

I don't believe he owned up to anything. He trying to say it was us rude Bahamians out here who firget the virus was still around who cause the problems

We didn't "let our guards down", ** we very deliberately moved with speed to open the borders against advice from multiple quarters, weeks of chatter right here about the metrics beung used to open, Brave Davis asking agsin and again why the rush? The 160 deaths were a result of deliberate actions by Dr Minnis as Minister of Health. He couldn't get rid of the title fast enough after people started dying.

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bahamian242 3 years ago

It was fully Carl Bethel's fault. He made the final decision on the Covid tests for retuning Bahamians less than 72 hours there was no need. Me as a layman knew from that was going to be a big mistake, and it was. The Cabinet takes the advice from the AG.......

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