By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
ATTORNEY General Carl Bethel said the Minnis administration wants to remove the COVID-19 emergency restrictions by August but that doing so will depend on infection rates and the behaviour of residents.
The latest emergency proclamation expires in August.
The House of Assembly, however, will be on summer break until September.
Asked before a Cabinet meeting yesterday if parliamentarians will break their summer recess to extend the proclamation, Mr Bethel said: “If the Governor General should form the view that the emergency persists, the Governor General is always free at any time to issue a new proclamation even during the course of the expired term of the existing proclamation. Once he does so, then both Houses (of Parliament) will be summoned to meet within five days of the issuance of such a proclamation.
“The mere fact that the House (of Assembly) has adjourned beyond the expiration date (of the emergency proclamation) does not prevent the Governor General in his discretion should he feel that the emergency persists, to issue a new proclamation, summon the houses and allow them to debate whether or not to extend the proclamation. Such a proclamation would last for 14 days absent a decision by the houses to extend the proclamation.
“As it is right now, the government has indicated a view that we could look toward the August period for the removal of emergency powers and that is certainly the aim. Everything depends on how we behave ourselves as a people. If we don’t behave ourselves and the infections go out of control, then the Governor General may have a view as to what is needed to protect the people but it is always best for people to err on the side of caution and to protect themselves and so I call on Bahamians first of all to embrace the vaccination programme where possible and secondly where it isn’t possible to take every step necessary to protect yourself from contagion because the coronavirus is still here and is still moving throughout society. We hope that through the self-discipline of the Bahamian people we will continue to be able to manage and as you see bring down rates of infection which is currently going on.”
The Governor General’s role in the Bahamas is generally seen as ceremonial and he would not issue a new emergency proclamation unless directed to by the Minnis administration.
According to the latest statistics, at least 25,047 people in The Bahamas are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 while about 80,000 people have received at least one dose. The figures do not include the more than 2,000 people who received their vaccination outside the Bahamas.
Health Minister Renward Wells said yesterday that COVID-19 infection rates are on the decline, a fact he attributed to increased vaccinations.
“You would remember that I did say that as the Bahamian people become more vaccinated that we anticipate and expected that the COVID numbers would start to go down because that is what has been seen globally in other countries,” he said.
Meanwhile, officials are still waiting to find out if COVID-19 variants of concern are in the Bahamas.
“As I always said to Bahamians,” Mr Wells said, “the beautiful thing about vaccines is we know right now there are about five variants of concern. There are two from India, one from the UK, one from South Africa, one from Brazil, but in all those circumstances the vaccines that we do have have been proven extremely effective against all variants, but we are still awaiting those results and we’re also looking to send results perhaps even to the CDC to speed up that process.”
tribanon 1 year, 11 months ago
This flea-ridden arse-hole of an AG we have should have long ago been summarily fired. Bethel and Minnis both know full well that most of these ridiculous orders are a flagrant violation of some of the most sacredly valued civil rights and liberties guaranteed to all Bahamians under the Constitution of The Bahamas.
And the fact that our court system (judiciary) failed to avail itself of existing mechanisms to intervene on behalf of the Bahamian people to defend and protect their constitutionally guaranteed civil rights and liberties speaks volumes about the political leanings of some of the most senior justices sitting on our courts today. We can only surmise by the silence of our courts that this is what happens when a PM decides to 'buy' a Chief Justice by nominating him for the title of 'Sir'.
birdiestrachan 1 year, 11 months ago
Mr: Bethel is speaking to the people's time voters.
Because the rest of us know that the Governor-General does not decide to lock down the Country It is the Competent Authority that makes the decision.
Why lie about even this. Those FNM fellows seem not to have the ability to speak Truth at any time. Believe nothing they say.
carltonr61 1 year, 11 months ago
FNM too, but we voters on another planet. Government is not with FNM voters. It will show. PLP voters gave the FNM party the overwhelming win because Christie sold them, FNM and the Christian Council out on gambling. FNM won, then betrayal was felt in the soul and backbone of the Bahamian people, by abject silence by an issue our Democracy thout had POWER. Dorian came and met the Bahamian people, their souls bleeding and crying realizing that a mistake of fatalistic trust was was made and breached. Better the PLP devil you know set in. Hope to reign in the sickening weekness of Bahamians to gamble away 3billion dollars, loose homes, life, prostitute, in awe as this was not the government they voted for. Then the ultimate diplomatic insult followed. Forts and all Bahamian history and age old being that made us - us is givin away to political bootlickers, lackys, honey suckers and jivers. This government will sell the ocean if someone offers a price. There is nothing for Bahamuans except to oat 10billion dollars in loans while the privilaged chosen few with Marijuana rites manage how to control us plantation slaves.
carltonr61 1 year, 11 months ago
Each Bahamian must pay out 25,000 dollars. The dead, yet to be born, yet to work, retired, who could fish, pay taxes in order for this nation to pay off Bahamas' 10billion bank loans. Gov Covid response cost us two billion dollars in the past month alone another three billion by August this year.
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