Growing concern for the poor amid COVID-19 pandemic

Great Commission Ministries (GCM) President Bishop Walter Hanchell said yesterday that the organization is actively trying to find a facility to house the homeless during the emergency 24-hour curfew period ordered by the prime minister in an attempt to contain COVID-19.

Speaking with The Nassau Guardian as the country observed a National Day of Prayer and Fasting, as designated by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, Hanchell said GCM is continuing to help the needy.

“Great Commission Ministries is still in operation,” said Hanchell.

“We are still fighting for the rights of the persons that we serve, which is the downtrodden, the hurting, the poor, the homeless, and in spite of the coronavirus, we’ve been open.”

According to Hanchell, more people have been showing up at GCM in need of assistance.

Staff members have been serving individuals one at a time in an attempt to maintain social distancing.

“From what we’ve observed, there’s still many persons out there still on the streets,” Hanchell added.

“In particular, the ones who are walking around, the homeless persons, so, we’re trying to find some remedy for those because they do have to eat and we’re trying to find a way that we could locate a facility for those persons to move in, so we could get them off the streets during this curfew.”

On Monday night, the prime minister ordered a 24-hour curfew and ordered that all businesses, with limited exceptions, remain closed until March 31.

Any person, company or organization that contravenes the order is liable to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 18 months, or to both.

Hanchell said GCM is working with the government to ensure there is no challenge for staff to continue operating.

“What has happened is we are in the process of getting approval from the Office of the Prime Minister, so that our staff won’t have a problem moving to and fro,” he said.

“So, that’s a challenge for us right now, we’re working on that right now.”

But, he expressed strong support for the emergency measures enacted by the government, and urged Bahamians to use this time to pray.

“Get together with your family, do some reading, do some praying,” Hanchell said.

“Today is the National Day of Prayer and just about everybody in the country is locked down in prayer.

“It’s a good time to pray, spend time with the Lord, intercede and make some intercessions on behalf of the community.

“God is speaking to the entire world. He’s speaking to The Bahamas and only God can bring us out.”

As he noted that he is “proud” of the steps that leaders of both political parties are making in an effort to combat COVID-19, Hanchell also said: “We’re just proud to know that we have leaders who are working, who are thinking, who are trying to resolve this problem, and we are here to help them in whichever way that we could in serving the Bahamian people.”

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