Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Deputy Leader Chester Cooper called for Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis to immediately amend the new seven-day lockdown order, which have cut vulnerable people off from essential supplies.
Cooper, in a statement, called Minnis’ decision to lockdown New Providence on Monday night without allowing the island’s residents to prepare, “unconscionable” and “heartless”, and said the action proves that a disconnect exists between the competent authority and the most vulnerable people in society.
“We are calling on the competent authority to exercise more competence,” Cooper said.
“People need time to get organized to survive this lockdown. The government needs a structured plan that allows people to access food stores, water depots, and pharmacies. To announce immediate closure at night when people are unable to get the basic things they need to survive is heartless and completely unacceptable.
“As we said last night immediately after the prime minister spoke, the decision to lock down without notice was made without consideration of the plight of the poor, the sick, the vulnerable, and the elderly. This is precisely why the authority he has should not be vested in one person. There must be meaningful and broad-based consultation.”
Cooper chided the competent authority in his statement, using the same words Minnis used to scold businesses who laid-off employees during the beginning of the pandemic.
“To govern well you need a heart and a soul, and compassion, and an understanding of how people live,” Cooper said.
Cooper said he had conversations with people who were immediately negatively affected by the new lockdown orders, which called for food stores to remain closed for seven days.
“The Bahamian people are peaceful and patriotic, and by and large have cooperated with the orders despite the very serious hardships they have caused,” he said.
“People today are hungry and understandably angry. The prime minister has clearly lost the confidence of the Bahamian people.
“We are locked down because the government did not open our borders properly. It would have been less painful and less expensive to get the nation prepared to open up safely with more testing, tracing and shoring-up of our healthcare capacity.
“The prime minster has not shown that he can mange this crisis strategically or compassionately, with the long-term objectives in mind.”
Under the current lockdown, food stores, private pharmacies, gas stations and water depots are closed.