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Editorial: Don’T Close The Beaches, Police Them

THE scene pictured on our front page ought to annoy everyone who has been doing everything they can to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

It is a slap in the face for those who have been staying at home, wearing masks when they go out, and keeping their distance when they do meet others.

Rather than doing that, we see crowded beaches, people pressed together on the staircase to the beach – a breeding ground for the virus.

If the severity of our situation needs reinforced, we need only listen to the experts.

Infectious disease expert Dr Nikkiah Forbes warns in today’s Tribune that we are on the brink of a third wave of COVID-19, with a sustained rise in positive cases in recent weeks.

“There is a sustained uptick in the number of cases and that is very concerning,” she said, before warning, “and there could be an increase in cases after the holiday weekend if we are not following the health instructions.”

Looking farther afield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US used even starker language, saying that she was “scared” and warning of “impending doom”.

This isn’t over. And it could be about to get worse.

So do we close the beaches? It might seem an answer – but why not be a bit more imaginative?

The beaches don’t need to be closed – they just need to be policed.

When our photographer arrived at Cabbage Beach to take the picture of people crowding together there, it was no secret. The streets were packed with cars – no one was hiding here. So why not have the police there to warn people not to pack together? Where are those COVID ambassadors whose cars we sometimes see roaming around? How about hiring some of the many unemployed people right now to serve as beach wardens?

Still more – why not put down some beach poles to mark out the distance people should be staying apart so that everyone can see right away, and be reminded to take care.

The fresh air of the beach and the chance to swim in the sea is good for people – as long as we don’t put ourselves at risk when we get there. It’ll also be a nail in the tourism coffin again – announcing beach closures will stop the flow of money that is just starting to return.

There is talk of tightening restrictions in the air – but let’s not close the beaches, let’s be smarter than that.

Oil spill

The oil spill that hit Grand Bahama from the Equinor facility there was one of many horror stories during Hurricane Dorian.

So what is the situation now?

Equinor themselves put out their own statement about the clean-up – and now activist Joseph Darville has given his own assessment.

He talks of mounds of aggregate still saturated with oil, and says “it is far from being cleaned up”.

At a casual glance, it may look improved, he says, but deep in the forest he says there are still areas saturated with oil.

Of course, what should happen is that there is a thorough and independent investigation by government inspectors. Given how slow the government has been in investigating damage to the seabed from cruise ships, we should perhaps not be surprised that instead it comes down to the company saying one thing and an environmentalist saying another.

The damage caused by the oil spill is damage caused to our nation, and the damage should be clearly assessed and catalogued by officials. How else are we to truly know the state of the recovery?

It would seem far more work is needed to complete the clean-up – but for goodness’ sake, let’s have a full accounting.

Comments

DDK 1 week, 5 days ago

Should the beaches be 'policed' with or without menacing and dangerous weapons slung across the menacing and dangerous 'police' chests? Is this still The Bahamas????

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birdiestrachan 1 week, 5 days ago

It was always the right thing to do. The competent authority should not have closed the Beaches. When it is noted that it is better to be outdoors and not locked up in small homes that so many of the people over the hill reside in

He has no heart or soul for the poor and it shows in all of his actions...

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John 1 week, 5 days ago

MINNIS TOOK YOUR ADVICE. Persons going to the beaches over the holiday weekend will be limited to a part of FIVE. And once a bro reaches its caps Indy the sago protocols no additional pro will be allowed on that beach until some people leave. Hopefully this will work out. HO EARLY or GO LATER!

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tribanon 1 week, 5 days ago

Re: Equinor/Statoil Oil Spill

Just another major environmental failing of the Minnis-led FNM administration. Not too long after Hurricane Dorian, Minnis assured Grand Bahamians that he himself, as PM, would personally see to it that Equinor/Statoil not be allowed to walk away from their obligation to fully restore the entire area damaged by the oil spill caused by the structural inadequacies of their bunker storage facility.

Equinor/Statoil's own insurers have no doubt placed great pressure on Minnis, Bethel and Ferriera to certify that all clean-up and restoration obligations have been fulfilled to the satisfaction of The Bahamian Government. The big question of course is whether Minnis, Bethel and Ferriera foolishly succumbed to that pressure thereby letting Equinor/Statoil off the hook prematurely.

We all remember how quickly the grossly incompetent Ferriera wrongfully and untruthfully attempted to repudiate the horrific extent of the damage to the environment by claiming he was only able to find two dead birds and one dead goat.

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