Senator Dr. Michael Darville accused Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis of acting like a dictator as he expressed concern about the competent authority’s lack of transparency.
“It is critical that we start the process of weening this government off the use of these emergency powers because if we fail to do so, we stand the possibility of losing our civil liberties and endangering our democracy,” Darville said in the Senate on Thursday morning.
“… I am very concerned about these sweeping powers and the prime minister as the competent authority inability to provide proper accountability for what is happening in this country while those powers are in place.
“He is abusing these powers and because he is abusing these powers he does not deserve the right to use.”
Darville said the prime minister has still not produced a satisfactory accounting for his decision to close public parks and beaches on New Providence or the continued need for nightly curfews.
“As a matter of fact, the prime minister’s contribution in the House yesterday was more about patting himself on the back and fear mongering, rather than scientific facts surrounding his decision to close the beaches in New Providence and Grand Bahama.
“This type of behavior is unacceptable.
“With these powers there appears to be no accountability and our prime minister now acts as a dictator who knows it all and refuses to listen despite being challenged by members of his own administration to produce the scientific facts surrounding his decision making.”
Yesterday, St. Anne’s MP Brent Symonette said the prime minister’s decision to close beaches on New Providence and Grand Bahama “doesn’t add up” and questioned whether there is an underlying reason for the decision that the public has not been made aware of.
Former Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said yesterday that research indicates that there is a low to moderate risk of contracting COVID-19 on beaches.
On July 6, the prime minister said beaches and parks on Grand Bahama, Paradise Island, New Providence and its surrounding cays will be closed as of tonight at 10 p.m. They will reopen at 5 a.m. on Monday.
This was done to prevent mass gathering and contain the spread of COVID-19 in The Bahamas, according to Minnis.
But Darville said some of the emergency measures are based on the prime minister’s personal feelings and not on science.
“From the looks of it, our prime minister’s apparent addiction to these sweeping powers to use as he pleases, applying harsh measures on some areas of business activity and relaxing others as he sees fit without any epidemiological evidence leaves us on this side and the public at large to question his logic and intentions,” Darville said.