Conventional wisdom dictates that, in times of health pandemics, we should ignore the posturing of politicians and instead lean on the advice of medical professionals.
In this trying time, we happen to have the good fortune of a medical doctor, Hubert Minnis, calling the political shots.
The prime minister has wisely decided to be proactive in helping the 400,000 citizens/patients who could possibly be exposed to COVID-19.
His prescription was to triage the entire country in order to stop the virus from getting out of control. He imposed a curfew curtailing our right to move about and to assemble with whomever we want.
This was, undoubtedly, the sensible thing to do because, in perilous times, the rights of the individual must be restricted for the good of the collective society. “Us” is bigger than “I”.
Some of our fellow citizens still need the state to save them from themselves.
As word spread about the mortal danger the virus presented, some Bahamians ignored the science and continued to put themselves in harm’s way.
While they can do that, they have no right to unwittingly put the rest of us in harm’s way. And that is why the prime minister had to act in what some may consider a most draconian fashion.
He was not the first world leader to put his people on lockdown, and events daily around the world are proving that he was correct. Other governments have been slow to this medicine at their people’s peril.
What was most in danger was not our individual liberties, but, rather, any semblance of bipartisanship that should have broken out in the top ranks of the official opposition.
Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis missed the mark completely when he chastised the prime minister’s curfew decision.
Instead, the possible potential prime minister-in-waiting should have ensured that there was no daylight between him and the prime minister on this matter of utmost national importance and lethal urgency.
He should have asked, and probably would have been graciously accommodated on the podium with the prime minister, when he made the announcement of the curfew. That is what leaders are expected to do in times of crisis. Speak with one unambiguous voice.
It is in times like these that leaders have their mettle tested.
Brave is not in executive office, but he is in legislative government, so, he had an obligation to think of the national interest rather than what makes him look like a tough man standing up to the PM.
He should not have let petty sniveling from some of his senior advisors inform his decision on when to speak up for the health of Bahamians.
Brave’s bungled response to the COVID-19 curfew will tar him for some time.
He should admit his mistake and then do a symbolic public elbow bump with the prime minister to show the panicked and anxious citizens that our health and lives are not pawns in anybody’s political power struggle.
— The Graduate