Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis with supporters after voting.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
AFTER voting in the Killarney constituency, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis responded to criticism that the early election was ill-timed as the country continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Critics, including some of the nation's foremost physicians, have expressed grave concerns that the nation’s public healthcare system will continue to teeter on the verge of collapse as they predict increased virus cases. The situation has led to stressed resources for months.
“I would only say when is the best time?” Dr Minnis said after both he and his wife Patricia voted at New Providence Community Center on Blake Road.
“Canada called an election. (The) United States had an election. Jamaica had an election. Bermuda had an election, and a host of other countries had an election. The question that one should ask, let’s assume that we had waited until May, and we were still in the pandemic. Do you think the opposition would have allowed us to delay it until we came out of the pandemic?
“We say we need an extra six months to come out of the pandemic, you think they would?
“So, when is the right time?”
Regarding the election process, Dr Minnis said officials learned from the mistakes of last week’s advanced poll.
The Tribune canvassed many polling stations where most voters said the process was smooth and went by quickly. Some, however, said they were not pleased with insufficient signage at stations leading to some confusion in locating polling divisions.
“It was very simple and straightforward. In terms of protocol, the protocols were excellent so there was no possibility of any form of viral exposure,” Dr Minnis said.
He also said: “I think everything is a learning process and you learn from history. That’s how you advance your country, and the advanced poll may have had one or two glitches however they worked it out and everything went smoothly. From what I have seen here everything is going very smoothly.”
Asked whether he had concerns about low voter turnout, Dr Minnis said he was of the view that Bahamians were very anxious to vote as it was their constitutional right.
He said he anticipated that at least more than 90 percent of the electorate would turn out to vote.