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6 MORE MONTHS: Emergency laws extended due to low vaccine uptake and threat from variants

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Senior Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

GOVERNOR General Sir Cornelius A Smith has declared another state of emergency for the country, citing low vaccination numbers and the third wave of COVID-19 cases in New Providence and Grand Bahama.

The proclamation, released to the media yesterday, took effect on Friday and gives the competent authority another six months of emergency powers.

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GOVERNOR General CA Smith.

It suggests the Minnis administration wants to manage the COVID-19 pandemic the way it has since March of last year rather than implement a new statutory framework as critics and members of the opposition have called for.

The proclamation says: “Despite the fact that a national vaccination distribution programme is in progress, there remains a comparatively low percentage of fully vaccinated persons in The Bahamas. And whereas there is a third wave of infections on the islands of New Providence and Grand Bahama which continues to cause illness and death in The Bahamas. And whereas according to scientific and medical advice, COVID-19 is likely to persist as a pandemic in The Bahamas, for the foreseeable future.”

The Bahamas recorded 61 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, including 51 on New Providence – the kind of numbers that recall the early stages of the second wave in July. Fifty new cases were recorded on Saturday.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths has also spiked in recent weeks and now stands at 220. Forty-three people are currently hospitalised with the virus, six of them in the intensive care unit.

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Attorney General Carl Bethel. (File photo)

Attorney General Carl Bethel told reporters last month that officials were working on legislation that would allow the government to respond to the COVID-19 situation on a needs basis as opposed to declaring a state of emergency.

It is not clear why the government has not chosen that option.

Although the Governor General’s role is largely ceremonial, when asked about the matter yesterday, Mr Bethel said: “The emergency continues. The threat of mutant variants and pervasive vaccine hesitancy inhibit The Bahamas from dropping its guard at this stage. That is my view. Of course, the view that counts is that of the Governor General and I believe that he has cited the third wave of infections and low vaccination rates as being factors that he considered.”

In a statement yesterday, Progressive Liberal Party leader Philip “Brave” Davis said his party supports measures supported by science but cannot support the “continued suspension of civil liberties”.

“With the Prime Minister’s own Attorney General acknowledging that necessary health measures could be enacted via ordinary legislation, Bahamians understand that any move to extend the emergency powers has more to do with the state of Hubert Minnis’ political health than with the state of public health.

“This isn’t complicated. Minnis is scared. He does not want to debate COVID measures in Parliament, he wants to act without having to defend his decision-making. He is worried that he cannot point to science or common sense to justify the restrictions on the public. He certainly does not want scrutiny of how, and with whom, he has spent pandemic funds.”

Mr Davis said the country is facing a shortage of nurses and that the government has not sourced vaccines aggressively enough, pointing to numbers that lag others in the region.

He said: “One example: Barbados, with a much smaller population, has administered 75,000 vaccinations – the Bahamas, only 36,000.

“…This government does everything possible to make herd immunity unobtainable, then tells us until it’s achieved, they’ll keep their emergency powers and hide the details of their pandemic spending.”

The previous state of emergency was set to expire on May 23.

Comments

carltonr61 1 year, 3 months ago

An act of following the global script in order to shove the straw of vaccination and its passport down our throats. For the time being there is strong pushback from WHO and PAHO against our dictator.

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PleaseSir 1 year, 3 months ago

The incidence of COVID-19 remains high simply due to poor compliance with the distancing rules and non-vaccination. Many Bahamians prefer to trust fatalism rather than obeying commonsense rules.

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stislez 1 year, 3 months ago

I wonder if the Bahamas know the rest of the world going on about their business. Dese man dem gone cripple the Bahamas beyond repair. How in the world sane people doing the exact same thing an expecting different outcomes? Its sad! I feel for my people! You could say with total confidence that the government does not know what they are doing. And please @tribune242 STOP CALLING DESE MAN DEM COMPETENT AUTHORITY! Are yall just as stupid? In light of all the decisions this man and his party been making what part of that is competent? Everytime i see that desciption of authority in our country i does cringe to think 60-70sumtin yr old men who been educated in the 60's and 70's feel as though they could run a country COMPETENTLY in the 21st century without ever updating their education, without taking directions from the people who put them in power and without BALLS to tell foreigners NO! If i had my way, the dirt would keep them company.............6ft under...

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ForeverDreamer 1 year, 2 months ago

The rest of the world? One major place, such as Canada seems to disagree completely with the statement.

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JokeyJack 1 year, 3 months ago

"Although the Governor General’s role is largely ceremonial, when asked about the matter yesterday, Mr Bethel said: "

????? Has he ever read the Constitution? The GG is the rep of Her Majesty, the head of state. People keep saying these things like they are true. The Queen is head of state. That, by the way, is not our problem. When we can harvest and package and distribute salt from Inagua instead of send 500 pound bags to Florida for "processing" then we can talk about independence.

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DDK 1 year, 3 months ago

Extraordinary! Unbelievable! Down with the emergency powers and all those that allow and enforce them! They are the real sickos!!

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whogothere 1 year, 2 months ago

This is quite frankly BS...Minnis is just afraid he ll have to get his butt whipped In a general election...until he has vaccine compliance he’ll sit on his throne and try stave off the inevitable. Pandemic is over! Vaccines really don’t matter... variant or not...

Check out South Africa v Israel vaccinations rate

https://ourworldindata.org/explorers/...">https://ourworldindata.org/explorers/...

Then compare their case curves

https://ourworldindata.org/explorers/...">https://ourworldindata.org/explorers/...

Then explain to me why you worried about variants..?!

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ohdrap4 1 year, 2 months ago

ok so, if all eligible march and say, we comply, give the vaccine. 1. they do not have it to give 2. the computer will be "overwhelmed" and cannot print certificates.

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bahamianson 1 year, 2 months ago

I have my surf board, lets roll because the waves will come.No vaccine equals waves.

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bcitizen 1 year, 2 months ago

Why is there zero interest in doing antibody tests on those who have had covid and have natural immunity which is probably better because, their immune system encountered the whole virus and all its bits not just the spike protein? There is ample evidence now that people who have had covid experience more of the vaccine side effects because their immune system is already primed to fight the virus similar to people that have more effects from the second dose(not the ones that kill you but, just a natural immune response). How many people are being (and I am not against vaccines) vaccinated unnecessarily with a med that is approved for emergency use only? None of this makes any damn sense. It is like deciding that because we have such a high incidence of high blood pressure in the Bahamas that BP meds should be put in the water supply.

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Bobsyeruncle 1 year, 2 months ago

Repost:

Antibody tests are not always the best indicator. It can take 1-3 weeks after COVID symptoms start for the antibodies to appear in the blood. There is also the question of how long after having COVID is there still sufficient concentration of antibodies to produce a meaningful test response.

Then of course there is the accuracy of the test.

Skip this next bit if Math is not your cup of tea.

I think the best test has 95% sensitivity & specificity. If you use this test on a sample of 1,000 people of which 50 actually have antibodies to the virus, the test will correctly identify 95 percent of the true positives, i.e. 47 individuals (50 x 0.95). When it comes to true negatives, the test will correctly identify 95 percent, or 902 out of 950 individuals (950 x 0.95). The other 48 will get a (false) positive result, even though they do not have antibodies. The total number of positive results will be 95 (47 + 48) out of 1,000. However, since only 47 of those positive results will actually be correct, the probability that you actually have COVID antibodies is only about 50 percent which means you may as well just toss a coin.

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bcitizen 1 year, 2 months ago

In any other circumstance where immunity to a disease is required for work etc. one can either show proof of vaccination or one can show show proof of a positive titer antibody test to the disease. The PCR test to allow us to move and travel only approaches 80% sensitivity and 98-99% specificity in real clinical settings. Proof of vaccination also does not mean it was effective for that individual and they have proper antibody production. So for people who had covid and can show positive titers even with your math there is no reason to not allow those people to operate the same as a vaccinated person

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carltonr61 1 year, 2 months ago

March 18/2020 to May 17/2021=422 days under dictatorship.

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John 1 year, 2 months ago

"British cancer doctor Prof Karol Sikora recently claimed that the current COVID-19 pandemic would “burn itself out”. His thinking is that if there are more infections than we realise, and that those milder, unrecorded infections result in robust immunity, then this would quickly lead to “herd immunity”, leaving the virus nowhere to go but extinct. Extend this to the world’s population and the virus eradicates itself.

But the idea that letting the virus run wild would protect us is unlikely to be valid. The antibody results coming in suggest that only a small proportion of people have been infected by SARS-CoV-2. In the UK, only an estimated 6.8% of people have had the virus; for France, the figure is just 4.4%.

This means that we are far away from achieving herd immunity. It also suggests that the virus does indeed have the relatively high fatality rate that we’ve estimated."

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DDK 1 year, 2 months ago

Too bloody bad we could not have followed the Mother Country on this!

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carltonr61 1 year, 2 months ago

217 persons died and government selective information at their fear committee refuses to say these persons had comorbidities and died with Covid not from Covid. 350,000.00 Bahamian lives destroyed over 422 days of madman rule. He would have been ruling us 2022 had Mrs Gates not gotten tired of his in unholy escapades. Persons with shares in private hospitals and giving them billion dollar contracts is criminal. Maybe declared to a silent cabal in his pocket.

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John 1 year, 2 months ago

MINNIS DECISION to implement the ‘TREATS and PRIVILEGES’ for persons who take the vaccine will only serve to add confusion, more counterfeit documents and additional work and stress for law enforcement. This action is premature and since the country does not have sufficient vaccines for everyone to be vaccinated, Minnis should have waited. No tests and no masks and indoor dining for persons who have been vaccinated is NOT based on SCIENCE. It is more an effort to push the vaccines.

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John 1 year, 2 months ago

CDC is following the same route. It claims that cruises can resume in July provided that ALL passengers and crew are vaccinated.

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carltonr61 1 year, 2 months ago

Hiena leader has a surgical scalpel tearing our thigh muscles away from bon saying be calm all will be well. He is killing us surgically while staying in step with global leaders not Bahamians and our proffessionals. They are leaving country. He answers to global elite France, Germany, Singapore, British, Australian, Taiwan, Canadian masters. Rub a dub dub, he is not in the Bahamian tub. Our lives are only a digital scheme to him, he has no soul as cold as a steel sharp surgery scalpel we are not God's living beings to him. A heartle$$ mon$ter. 666

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carltonr61 1 year, 2 months ago

This monster whom I voted for with zeal of after cusses, written and hefty verbal barrages high jubilation bans contact with Haiti because like us they refuse AZ. Mrs. Black studied the historical records then blasted across Guardian Talkshow that according to the international online scientific data AZ cannot prevent the highly infectuous Indian and South African strains now prevalent, yet maskless with AZ vaccination the vaccated could receive other strains. In my opinion the new strains are rubberband stretching Pinocchio science to ensure emotional maximum fear and profits. Someone who loves us too much has not donated his millions of medical shares that gains by each test and hour of medical treatment. We sit blindly while getting Majestic Royal rape to receive updated vaccine in January. Then hereafter. That the leader by then will make stock exchange new medical tax money on of us. Rupert Robert's need not worry. Medical tax not food tax, but owned by authority is on the way.

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