No state of emergency? Then no restrictions


Wayne Munroe


Tribune Senior Reporter


ATTORNEY Wayne Munroe said the Minnis administration cannot implement COVID-19 restrictions of any kind if the state of emergency is allowed to expire.

In the last week, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and Health Minister Renward Wells have indicated the government will let the Emergency Powers Order lapse on August 13 without renewal.

This has surprised many observers as hospitalisation numbers are rising and the country is experiencing a spike in cases, while questions about whether the Delta variant of the virus is in the country remains. According to data released by health officials on Monday, 81 people are hospitalised with COVID-19, 12 of whom are in the intensive care unit.

Although vaccine hesitancy remains high, Dr Minnis suggested last week that in removing emergency restrictions, the plan is to rely on getting more people vaccinated.

But Mr Munroe – a PLP election candidate – said without the state of emergency the government cannot restrict people’s fundamental rights.

“Their ability to talk about controlling the movement of citizens of The Bahamas is contingent on the state of emergency being in effect,” he said. “To create these curfews and other restrictions that require you to infringe on people’s rights you have to rely on that constitutional provision or create laws allowing it to be done. For instance, the Constitution allows you to infringe on people’s fundamental rights for health reasons but there are no statutes in place right now to do that. What they would have to do is to pass the statutes allowing it and they haven’t done so. Other countries did it, but they didn’t.”

Attorney General Carl Bethel has previously indicated the government is drafting ordinary legislation to deal with COVID-19. However, Parliament went on its summer recess before any such bill was tabled and passed.

Mr Munroe said: “Either they are just pretending they meant to let Parliament break without extending the state of emergency or this is part of a planned early election ploy. I don’t think any sensible person believes they are stupid enough to think you don’t need some order and since they haven’t put in place any statute and Parliament is on recess, there’s only one way of dealing with this and that’s making another proclamation.”

Mr Munroe said the administration could release a new Proclamation of Emergency when the current one lapses.

“That proclamation would be good for 14 days, after which the Governor General would summon them back to Parliament to extend the period,” he said.

“When the Emergency Powers Order lapses, there is nothing to force a Bahamian to produce a test to re-enter the country, nothing to cause me to quarantine if I’m in contact with someone who has COVID-19, nothing to implement a curfew. It would have to be the biggest fraud on the planet for this to be necessary up to the 13th of August but suddenly not be necessary after the 13th.

“I would be shocked and amazed if they let it expire.”

Asked about the way forward last week, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said the government has not yet decided how it will handle protocol for travellers should Emergency Powers Orders end next month.

Asked last week if ending the emergency orders meant the travel visas and COVID-19 testing would fall away for people entering the country, the minister said: “A decision has not been made yet. The way forward is still under consideration.”

He could not say when a decision would be made.


Alan1 1 year, 6 months ago

One thing which must be done immediately is to abolish the Health Visa. We are losing a lot of visitors every week because people cannot be bothered with all the requirements to obtain the visa when they can travel to most other countries with no hassles at all. Why go to The Bahamas? With Covid19 cases spiking again here there is yet another reason not to travel to our country. All so sad for the many unemployed people in the tourism sector and the ongoing fallout for local businesses. It does not appear that the Tourism Minister gave much consideration to the disastrous results of his harsh entry rules over the past year. Despite so many complaints from so many sources he refused to change any rules at all.


DreamerX 1 year, 6 months ago

You must be kidding. And what, let bedlam rule?


JokeyJack 1 year, 6 months ago

The shackles of the slaves will remain after the 13th. England is involved in a fake experiment right now to drum up a bunch of fake numbers to "prove" that opening up leads to more cases and deaths. Even before Monday when restrictions were lifted, they were being accused by countries around the world as becoming a "breeding ground" for virus variants.

The programming has now been completed in people's brains. The 15 Days to Slow the Spread has now gone way past 400 days. The Illuminati now knows that the people are sheep, and as such are fitting perpetual slaves. They have no need of removing any restrictions - just keep moving the goalposts (and they have lackeys to do that for them.)


John 1 year, 6 months ago

FIRSTLY, Is the Delta wave the last and final and GOODBYE wave of Covid-19? Let’s hope so. Plenty house cleaning to do. SECONDLY, IS the decision not to renew the Emergency Orders purely political, scientifically driven or a combination of both? And if it is political, it can be one of the most reckless decisions the Minnis Administration made during the pandemic. And yes, he did say vaccinated persons can go party amongst themselves. But to end emergency orders when hotels are overwhelmed and people lay dying??? THIRDLY, why have so many world leaders seem to want to abandon all other care and safety precautions in favor of vaccines? It was the masks and the sanitizer and social distancing and crowd restrictions etc that took the world through three waves of Covid-19. So why does health officials and politicians looking at vaccines as a ‘fix all-cure all’ solution, rather than as another tool in the arsenal to battle Covid-19? And the numbers of ‘breakthrough’ cases is definitely increasing and the patients will have, more than likely, exposed themselves to others, vaccinated and vaccinated, because they have been assured that once vaccinated, they become ‘crypto night.’ BUT maybe with all the reopening and abandoning of precautions and increasing cases, the world population will achieve natural herd immunity against the Covid-19 virus. And, of course, the price will be more hospitalizations and more deaths in the interim.


JokeyJack 1 year, 6 months ago



Sign in to comment