Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday lambasted Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ national address, saying it is indicative of his government’s lack of a comprehensive plan to tackle a recent surge in cases and hospitalizations.
He said Minnis’ pleading with Bahamians to get vaccinated against COVID-19 makes no sense given that the country is facing a critical shortage of doses.
“Despite increasingly anguished pleas from our hospitals and medical professionals, the government has been slow to respond to the crisis,” Davis said in a statement.
“The Minnis government never seems to have a plan; instead of thoughtful and comprehensive preparation, they prefer to react and improvise.
“This is why we are facing a public health crisis without enough hospital beds, or nurses, or doctors, or vaccines, or public education.
“This is why last Friday, the health minister, apparently now speaking for the competent authority, announced a new series of restrictions, many of which are hard to reconcile with science and don’t pass a common-sense test.
“Then last night, the prime minister focused his national address on urging Bahamians to get vaccinated. The main problem? It’s impossible to get vaccinated without vaccines.”
Over 1,800 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in The Bahamas in July – the worst month so far for the country in 2021.
During his national address, Minnis said over 100,000 people have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine in The Bahamas.
He urged the public to be their brothers’ keepers by getting vaccinated.
However, there is currently a shortage of doses, with 33,600 AstraZeneca doses due from COVAX next week. The Bahamas is also expecting a shipment of Pfizer vaccines, which will be used to inoculate teenagers.
Davis said the government should have done more to secure doses, as he called for a greater effort to educate the public about the vaccine.
“Tens of thousands of Bahamians could have been inoculated by now, safer from the highly transmissible Delta variant,” he said.
“We hope that long-promised additional doses do arrive soon.
“The government should better prepare for that moment with a public education initiative.
“The prime minister seems to believe that telling people not to be afraid of needles is sufficient public education, an approach that is arrogant and condescending.
“A much better approach would be to make trusted medical professionals available to answer questions in a series of public education events. Bahamians deserve to have their questions and concerns responded to respectfully by experts.”
Davis said Minnis should have announced plans to make COVID-19 testing affordable and accessible.
Davis also called for “meaningful consultation and cooperation” with local medical professionals; the re-evaluation of allowing vaccinated individuals to enter the country without testing; partnership with the private sector to secure more vaccines; support for COVID-19 patients who need to isolate; and an explanation of the science behind the emergency orders.
“We remain deeply concerned that the government is not doing enough to support Bahamians through this crisis,” Davis said.