After casting his ballot yesterday afternoon, the outgoing Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis defended his decision to call an early election in the middle of a deadly surge of COVID, saying there is no right time.
Minnis contended that many countries held elections during the pandemic, and suggested The Bahamas’ situation is no different.
“When is the best time?” he asked.
“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 elections.
“The question that one should ask is 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 after we came out of the pandemic?
“If we [were to say] we need another six months to come out of the pandemic, you think they would? So, when is the right time?”
The election was not due until May 2022, but the House was dissolved on August 19, and Minnis set an election date of September 16.
His decision was made despite a significant spike in COVID cases and hospitalizations.
August ended up being the deadliest month The Bahamas had since the start of the pandemic.
Adding to concerns about the voting process in the surge, the government allowed quarantined voters to cast their ballots as normal, standing in the same lines as those without COVID.
Asked yesterday about the fear that the decision could increase cases, Minnis assured the process was safe.
“As a physician, once you are confronted with a particular disease or entity you are dealing with, you must automatically assume that everyone has it, that every patient you see has that,” he said.
“And, therefore, you must take the necessary precaution. We have protocols in place, so if individuals follow the protocols, that’s not an issue.
“In addition to that, the vaccine is the most effective tool that we have today. Next to the vaccine is the mask. If you wear the mask and follow the sanitization processes and social distancing, then you’re very safe.”