As pandemic drags on, Bain Town residents say they are holding on

As New Providence continues to grapple with high COVID-19 cases and tight restrictions imposed by the prime minister, some residents in the Bain Town community said yesterday they are struggling to hold on. 

With five children, three grandchildren and no job, Dasalei Joseph said she has been unable to pay her rent for eight months.

“Sometimes my boyfriend would find a little something, but he is not working like that,” Joseph told The Nassau Guardian yesterday.

“I have been owing the landlord for eight months now and I can’t pay that. I owe light bill and cable bill.”

She said the lockdowns are painful because she is unable to do “small jobs” in order to make money.

Parliamentarians approved an extension of a state of emergency to November 30.

The extension will empower the prime minister, the competent authority, to continue imposing restrictive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Currently, there is a 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew on New Providence and Abaco and weekend lockdowns, among other measures. 

Many Bahamians also remain out of work.

Cleveland Knowles, 76, another Bain Town resident, said he has been without work for months and is living off of small change.

“Things are a little shabby, but you have to hold onto what you’ve got,” Knowles said.

“I hope they open soon so people could [return] back to work. The lockdown ain’t too sensible.”

Knowles, a construction worker, said he is waiting on the government’s signal to return to normal.

“I work all over Abaco, but not right now. I had to come back because of this pandemic,” he said.

“Looks like everyone is out of jobs. Slowly but surely, the jobs [are] coming back. I just hope they would hurry open up so I can go back to Abaco. [I’m] just waiting on them to say ‘go’.”

In early May, Director of Labour John Pinder and Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis both projected unemployment would hit 30 percent.

On Monday, Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes said the bulk of people who were furloughed, except tourism employees, returned to work. 

Daquille Missick, a mechanic, said families in Bain Town continue to struggle due to unemployment.

Daquille Missick.

“They have to do better because plenty people in Bain Town who aren’t working, who out here hustling every day, have to feed their family but they don’t have no income. It’s hard,” he said.

Missick said he’s willing to do what he has to, to take care of his son.

“I am going to make it regardless because I have a son. That means any and every way, I’m going to make my money,” he said.

Peter Tracy, a resident of Bain Town and a small business owner, said the pandemic is still affecting his business as it is still closed.

“The pandemic hurt my business but didn’t hurt me,” Tracy said.

“Once I’m alive, there’s hope.”

He said he has never seen this sort of economic fallout in his life.

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Italia Clarke

Italia Clarke joined the Nassau Guardian in August 2020. Clarke covers national, human interest and social issues. Education: University of The Bahamas, BA in Media Journalism

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