PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis sidestepped a question Friday about whether he is preparing to lead the country to an early general election, telling reporters he always prepares for events a year in advance.
Asked in Eleuthera if he plans to dissolve Parliament within the next week or two and call an early election, he did not give a definite answer.
He said: "You would note I've said repeatedly and it's been demonstrated, I always prepare at least one year in advance. I'm one of those who believe in preparation and we're going through our preparation and in the event things should change we're ready."
Some Free National Movement insiders expect Dr Minnis to soon call an early election. This newspaper understands the party is preparing a short, but vigorous campaign that pits the leadership battle between Dr Minnis and Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip “Brave” Davis front and centre. The party has secured its paraphernalia inside the country and rally dates have been drawn up through to at least mid-August.
However, officials acknowledge Dr Minnis' plans can change for whatever reason .
On Thursday, Health Minister Renward Wells expressed confidence that the country could hold an election despite the COVID-19 pandemic, even as cases climb.
Dr Minnis suggested on Friday that he has no plans to extend the COVID-19 emergency orders beyond August 13 when they expire, saying he expects people to get vaccinated when additional vaccines soon arrive in the country.
Asked about extending the emergency order, he said: “I think once we receive the vaccines, you can be assured that Bahamians will be reporting in droves to receive that jab and once we reach a decent level I don’t see a need in addition to the vaccines once individuals are disciplined and follow the protocols. I think seeing what’s happening around the world we will be extremely disciplined.”
“We are aggressively pursuing and obtaining vaccines so that we can vaccinate our nation. What we’re finding worldwide (is that) those individuals who are becoming ill are the unvaccinated individuals. Those who are being hospitalised are unvaccinated. Those who are dying are unvaccinated. We know that the solution moving forward is to vaccinate our population and that’s why we’re presenting pursuing four fronts to obtain as many vaccines as possible. I am certain that the Bahamian populace recognises the challenges and they will present themselves for vaccines.”