As he signaled that the opposition did not support an extension of the state of emergency that was put in place in mid-March to combat the spread of COVID-19, Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday questioned why restaurants at Arawak Cay are not permitted to reopen for takeout.
A resolution extending the state of emergency until June 29 was passed in the House of Assembly and later in the Senate.
“From the start, our people have been worried that there is one set of rules for FNM (Free National Movement) insiders and another set of rules for everyone else,” Davis said in the House of Assembly.
“Some businesses were allowed to open; other similar ones were not. For example, I didn’t hear anything about Arawak Cay.
“…Before this, I use to order and send for my food from restaurants I wished to eat from at Arawak Cay. They may wish to do that but they can’t.
“Other restaurants are doing that.”
Later addressing the issue, Minister of Agriculture Michael Pintard said Potter’s Cay and Arawak Cay will be “up and running” within 14 days.
“We don’t anticipate any obstacles to that,” he said.
Davis also questioned whether the government had a national strategy to combat COVID-19 in The Bahamas.
Referring to restrictions that were imposed in late-March, Davis said, “In the first place, these lockdowns and curfews were drastic measures, depriving people of their liberty and their ability to earn a living.
“Now, they were justified only because the government needed time to create a coherent national strategy to manage the threat of COVID-19. Here we are, months later, and where is that national strategy? In fact, we are 70 days later, 72 days to be exact.
“For 72 days, Mr. Speaker, we have, Bahamians across the archipelago, have complied with emergency orders at enormous cost. The government should have used that time — time given to them by the people — to put in place all the elements we need in order to reopen safely at the earliest possible moment.”
He also called on the government to introduce widespread testing, to implement a “robust” contact tracing system and to increase the capacity to isolate new cases that emerge across The Bahamas.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert said yesterday the government does not plan on introducing widespread testing during the pandemic.
There have been 101 cases of the virus in The Bahamas.