Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said yesterday that to date, more than 500 people attempted to travel throughout The Bahamas without the proper COVID-19 travel documents, and over 50 people have been convicted in relation to fraudulent COVID-19 test results.
“While most of our citizens have and continue to follow health and safety protocols, there are select members who fail to adhere to the stipulations,” he said during his contribution to the 2021/2022 budget debate.
“Since the COVID-19 center was established, there were approximately 1,940 emergency order violations committed resulting in $1,020,550 in fines.
“As it relates to statistics from this area, there were a total of 62 persons, 27 adult males, 33 adult females, one juvenile female [and] one juvenile male, arrested with reference to fraudulent COVID-19 test results.
“Fifty-two of these persons were convicted and fined, totaling $117,500.
“The airport ambassadors remained focused and vigilant in enforcing the emergency orders as it relates to inter-island travels.
“Five hundred and twenty-three persons attempted to travel without proper documents and were denied by COVID ambassadors at their various checkpoints.”
A state of emergency has existed in The Bahamas since March 2020, days after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the country.
All COVID mitigation measures including curfews, mandatory mask-wearing, social distancing and other restrictions, are enforced through the emergency powers, which are granted to the competent authority, the prime minister, through the proclamation of emergency.
Testing requirements have played an important role in The Bahamas’ travel protocols, with RT-PCR testing still required for all unvaccinated people entering the country, as well as unvaccinated people traveling domestically, depending on which island they are departing from.
While measures have changed over the months, at several points, beaches and parks were closed, as well as certain businesses.
Social gatherings are still prohibited on New Providence.
Dames said in an effort to ensure adherence to the emergency order, police have visited businesses nearly 40,000 times, and beaches more than 1,300 times, to date.
“COVID ambassadors were also posted at beaches during holidays and special operations to ensure that beachgoers were following COVID beach protocols,” he said.
“Periodic checks were made at all parks and a total of 1,346 beach visits were conducted during the period in review.
“Officers and ambassadors conducted 39,363 business establishment visits, of which 331 businesses were found in breach of the emergency orders for operating a prohibited business.
“For the most part, the majority of businesses are adhering to the COVID protocols and the [COVID Enforcement Unit] CEU continues to encourage business owners and managers, alike, to keep their customers and employees safe.”
‘Over 500 attempted to travel throughout country without the proper COVID-19 travel docs’