Thank you for allowing me space for my letter.
As a concerned citizen of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, I am disturbed by recent events concerning the issue of vaccination.
I understand that the prime minister made a statement where he declared that effective May 1, fully vaccinated individuals will be exempted from PCR testing when traveling domestically. He also said that indoor dining can resume for those who have been fully vaccinated, and that fully vaccinated individuals can interact in closed environments once all individuals in that group have been fully vaccinated.
I find this to be troubling because not only have the health experts said that the COVID-19 vaccines do not prevent one from contracting the virus or spreading it to others, but this same prime minister, along with the minister of health, declared that the vaccines will not be mandatory. This is sending conflicting messages.
In addition to this, the prime minister and his Cabinet seem to be creating a caste system where one group (the fully vaccinated) will be given privileges and benefits that will be denied to another group (the unvaccinated). The Constitution of the Bahamas states clearly that this is unlawful, as per Article 26.
But, however, I am not really surprised. About a year ago, the prime minister stood in the House of Assembly and made this chilling statement:
“What that demonstrates, Mr. Speaker, that governments will be placed in situations where at some point in time they will have to make what they call discriminatory or unconstitutional decisions against their people in the interest of the advancement of their nation.”
We, the Bahamian public, seem to have paid little attention to what the prime minister was saying at that time, as it appeared that he was implying that the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the constitution are mere “conveniences” to be tossed aside and trampled on, depending on certain situations.
I guess this is why that not even a whisper has been uttered by our government leaders in response to some employers who are trying to demand that their employees get vaccinated or face termination.
What I want to know is this:
i) Exactly where is the prime minister and his government taking this country?
ii) When do they plan to bring an end to this state of emergency?
iii) Does the prime minister have any intention of giving up the emergency powers?
iv) Do they plan to continue using this pandemic to promote fear and as an excuse to trample on the constitution?
These are questions that I am sure that every concerned citizen and resident of the Bahamas want answered.
— Stewart Courtney