Expressing solidarity with those in the U.S. protesting racial inequality following the death of black American George Floyd – a black man who was killed while being detained by police officers in Minneapolis on May 25 – Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday claimed that The Bahamas is also facing inequality with the impact of COVID-19.
As he spoke during the party’s monthly press conference at the Sir Lynden Pindling Centre, Davis said the government must do more to address economic disparity in the country.
“Many Bahamian families have a son, or daughter, or nephew, or cousin, or grandchild, who study or work in the United States,” Davis said.
“We stand in solidarity with the peaceful protesters. We share their anger and despair. We understand how high the stakes are.
“[T]he protests come after months of seeing the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on Black communities. The virus has affected everyone, but it has not affected everyone equally. That has been true here at home as well.
“The wealthy and well-connected have been able to weather this storm with their lives mostly untouched. They are experiencing inconvenience, but not despair.
“That is not the case for a large majority of Bahamian families, however, for whom these lockdowns and the economic crisis are catastrophic.
“We need change in The Bahamas. We need to do the hard work of building a more equal and more just country.”
Since the country entered a state of emergency in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of Bahamians have become unemployed.
At that time, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced a number of strict measures including a 24-hour curfew, closure of the borders and weekend lockdowns, to curb the spread of the virus.
However, some people have suggested that more low-income and vulnerable Bahamians were arrested and charged for curfew and lockdown violations than others.
Davis said yesterday that he thinks curfew “should be done away with by now”, and that the government should consider economic options for the future, that he said would help to bring more jobs and more equality.