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Fernander says if govt doesn’t have medical evidence to support curfew, it should be lifted

Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) President Bishop Delton Fernander said yesterday that if the current curfew being used as a preventative measure against the spread against COVID-19 in The Bahamas doesn’t have any medical evidence to prove it is necessary then it should be lifted.

When asked whether he is concerned lifting the curfew would lead to an uptick in crime, Fernander said, “During the curfew people are still finding means to kill or abuse each other and so if it doesn’t have a medical purpose, keeping us locked in over the night does not achieve any social purpose.”

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames last Thursday assured that police will be ready for whenever the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew is lifted and said Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis will announce several added measures in the fight against COVID-19.

Last Wednesday, police responded to two murders in a span of 12 hours after a man’s body was found in a graveyard along Boyd Road and another was shot and killed as he worked on a car off Hamster Road.

Fernander said, speaking for himself, after being on the ground within various communities, the country’s crime problem is not “abating”; rather, criminals are “waiting for a window”.

“So, even if the curfew is removed, it shows you that persons were just waiting for the opportunity to continue,” he said.

“This has not changed behavior. We need some intervention that changes behavior, not put pause on behavior.

“The challenge is let’s do things that are interventions rather than just holding things at bay.”

While he did make the push for the curfew to be lifted if there is no medical evidence to support it, Fernander did applaud the government’s handling of the emergency powers.

“I think we all will have to sit back and say it was very much controlled in The Bahamas and so we appreciate that,” he said.

“But we just want to ensure that it doesn’t go into abuse. If it serves for keeping the virus abated, then all of us would be 100 percent for that. But if it’s now going into just keeping us locked up for locked up sake, I don’t think anyone will be for that.”

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