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Davis says continued state of emergency gives PM more ‘authority with less accountability’

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday accused Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis of using the state of emergency resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic to grasp “more authority with less accountability”.

Davis claimed Minnis avoids the press because he does not want to answer difficult questions.

“He has stopped doing press conferences because he isn’t willing to answer your questions,” Davis said during a press conference at PLP headquarters.

Davis added, “These questions are literally a matter of life and death, and yet, we have a prime minister who will not answer them.

“The greater the crisis, the more essential it is to have a leader who can face the people.

“Here we are, on our ninth set of emergency measures, with a prime minister who wants ever greater authority with ever less accountability.”

Shortly after the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in The Bahamas, a state of emergency was declared and emergency orders were put in place to control the spread of the virus. Minnis was named the competent authority under the Emergency Orders (COVID-19) Regulations, 2020.

As such, he was empowered to impose a 24-hour curfew across the country, close businesses, beaches and parks and prevent large gatherings of people, all measures deemed necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Three months later, the government and health officials in The Bahamas have said that the spread of COVID-19 has been contained. The country reopened its borders yesterday to tourists.

As he cited Europe’s decision to ban travelers from the United States while cases of COVID-19 continue to spike in parts of the country, Davis said the government should have sought more scientific evidence before opening the borders to Americans.

“International visitors return via air to The Bahamas today, for the first time in months, even as the United States just yesterday set a new daily record, with 47,000 new COVID-19 cases announced,” he said.

“The Americans’ top infectious disease expert has said that the rate of new infections could soon double to 100,000 a day. Cases in the U.S. have surged by more than 80 percent in the last two weeks.

“Bahamians have – at truly great cost to themselves – done their part to contain the virus in our own country.

“What they are owed by this government now is a plan to make sure all that has been gained will not be lost.”

Davis added, “European countries are opening their borders to international travelers today, too. I note that travelers from the United States are banned, however.

“Even some states within the U.S. are requiring fellow citizens traveling from hotspots to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

“And, yet, our government has hardly changed its plans since cases in the United States began surging.”

There are currently 104 cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas, with 89 recovered cases, four active cases and 11 deaths. The last new case was reported on June 14.

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