Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis said yesterday that the government’s admission that some tourists were allowed into the country without the correct COVID-19 test is “frightening”.
“That speaks to the kind of attention that’s being paid to the particular details that is necessary…to avoid the spread of the virus in our community,” he said.
“…If it’s being imported, what do you do? You shore up your borders. That’s not been the case.”
Davis added, “I have been screaming from the rooftops about them reopening our borders and doing so wisely, ensuring that they have the proper plans in place to avoid that which he is not speaking. The fact that he admits that tourists are entering our borders without the [proper] test, it’s frightening.
“Who are they listening to and what are they doing? What is happening to our border control? Is it that porous? I’m concerned.”
On Monday, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar said that “one or two” visitors “slipped in” without proper COVID-19 testing, prompting adjustments in the travel protocol.
Tourists and locals are required to present negative results for a COVID-19 PCR molecular swab test no older than 10 days for entry into the country. Locals who leave The Bahamas for less than 72 hours are not required to show proof of testing.
Over the Independence holiday weekend, three tourists were recorded on camera suggesting that they gained entry into The Bahamas without having the required COVID-19 PCR molecular swab test. They indicated that they had an antigen test.
The video was widely shared on social media, raising questions about the integrity of the travel visa system.
D’Aguilar, however, noted that nearly 100 visitors were stopped and deported upon landing at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) because of wrong or outdated COVID-19 tests.
Davis said yesterday that the government should consider implementing a pre-clearance system so that visitors don’t have to be sent back.
“Having sent out the message that you’re reopened, all you have to do is ensure that you are wise in the manner that you do it,” he said.
“For example, it may call for us to have pre-clearance at ports in the states as opposed to waiting until persons come here to send them back.
“That doesn’t go well for your [brand]. So, perhaps they should consider making some arrangements for pre-clearance form external ports.”