Extremely reckless and highly irresponsible comments by PLP leader

Dear Editor,

In a story reported in a local daily last week, Philip Davis, PLP leader, was quoted as saying, “I think it’s an act of punishment,” following Prime Minister Hubert Minnis’ address in the House of Assembly where he, among other things, announced new COVID-19 restrictions in order to attempt to arrest the increasing number of infections, particularly on New Providence and Abaco.

What an extremely reckless and highly irresponsible statement by the leader of the PLP, in the face of the increasing infections and by someone who seeks to lead our beloved country.

Every right-thinking Bahamian and, indeed, any casual observer as to where we are in this country, given the high daily new infections of COVID-19, particularly on New Providence and Abaco, would conclude that direct action needed to be taken and taken as soon as possible to curb the increasing infections.

Absolutely no one wants any new restrictions or lockdowns, including the prime minister, the Cabinet, members of Parliament, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Pearl McMillian, Deputy CMO Dr. Delon Brennen, Senior Consultant Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis, nor the Bahamian people. But in face of the daily new infections, the prime minister, as the competent authority, and the Cabinet could rightly be accused of a dereliction of duty if new restrictions and lockdowns were not employed, especially for just the past holiday weekend.

The fact is that many countries around the world are doing the very same thing: employing new restrictions and even lockdowns! We are not alone by far in these circumstances for employing these restrictions.

Many countries around the world are experiencing a second wave and clearly, so are we. Some of these countries include our friends to the north, the United States, several in Europe, among them the United Kingdom and Germany, which has one of the largest economies of the world, also Australia, India and South and Central America and the Caribbean.

In the circumstances, I suppose, the PLP leader would say that the countries that take similar steps, including the United Kingdom, are also punishing their citizens.

It is interesting to note that in the United Kingdom the leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer, yesterday called on the government to do at least a two-week “circuit breaker” lockdown in England. And, I suppose, Davis would say that many other countries around the world are also punishing their citizens.

It is stunning, unthinkable and unimaginable that the PLP leader would suggest or have such outrageous views!

What utter nonsense! And expressed by the person who desires to lead our beloved country. The comments by Davis suggest just how seriously, or not, the Bahamian people should take his expressed desire.

The reality is that the prime minister, as the competent authority, and the Cabinet of The Bahamas, are not employing any new restrictions that are not being used around the world to beat back and indeed, defeat, as we will, by the grace of God, this second wave.

Sadly and most unfortunately, the PLP leader is fully engaged in nothing but pure, unadulterated, 100 percent politics. He is playing pure politics with people’s lives, their health and their ability to earn a living.

Rather than talk utter nonsense about “punishment” and even coercion, he properly, in the circumstances, ought to have focused his attention on doing his best to encourage our brothers and sisters, as our prime minister did, to follow the health protocols – the life and job saving protocols:

1) Wear a mask;

2) Physically distance at least six feet;

3) Wash your hands or sanitize them regularly; and

4) Do not gather.

One might have thought that, being a responsible leader of the official opposition, one desirous of leading our county in less than two years and having regard to his recent experience and so many other Bahamians, he would have expressed a more cautionary message to the Bahamian people, especially headed into a three-day holiday weekend.

However, he chose not to do that. Instead, he chose to be purely and unashamedly political during these perilous times and, indeed, during a national health crisis, one being experienced around the world.

Right-thinking Bahamians who want better for our beloved country expect considerably more from the leader of the official opposition during these perilous times and a national health crisis, unifying us, not attempting to divide us.

Michael A. Foulkes, MP

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