Letters

Inept response to COVID-19

Dear Editor,

The response by the Minnis administration to the ongoing pandemic has been anaemic at best. The initial response with closing the borders appeared to have been successful at containing the rapid spread of the disease within The Bahamas. The curve went up dramatically, however, once the borders were prematurely reopened without proper or any tangible health and quarantine protocols. The rest is history.

One hundred and thirty-two people have now died in The Bahamas as a result of the sweeping surge. Minnis and his advisors failed the expectant Bahamian people even while they said that their recommendations were based on scientific data and worldwide trends. We are now in the midst of an escalating death phenomenon with no end in sight.

Individual savings have been wiped out. Businesses, especially the small to medium-sized ones, have been shuttered and many are not likely to be reopened. The nation continues to be under mandatory curfews and lockdowns on weekends. We are told to be home by 7 p.m. from Friday until 5 a.m. Monday.

Long lines and panic buying on Fridays are now the norm. Customers are seen “creased up” at major food stores with no social distancing or law enforcement personnel in sight. The new COVID vehicles are seen all over New Providence with the occupants enjoying air condition comforts. Are they being utilized properly?

In the wake of massive unemployment, the National Insurance Board (NIB) dispensed $200 per week to many applicants for several weeks. How many of the applicants were actually entitled to payments and is it possible that massive abuses and even fraud may have taken place? We deserve a non-partisan report from Minister Brensil Rolle and the director of NIB.

The administration is now considering dropping the stipend from the $150 per week now being dispensed to $75 per week! This is a slap in the face and a kick in the behind! No Bahamian, especially one who may have a family, can survive on this ridiculous figure. Businesses are still not reopened fully and entrepreneurs have little or no access to bank loans.

Leading members of the health task force set up by the competent authority have expressed concerns that the curfews and lockdowns may not be working and that at some point decisions may have to be made as to who receives medical treatment and who does not. A death commission? 

One leading member of the task force, Dr. Delon Brennen, has moved to the USA to be with his family and to continue to work and draw a government salary. How lucky can one get?

Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) is almost at capacity. We have to be thankful to the Samaritan’s Purse organization for donating and setting up a 20-odd bed tent on the grounds of PMH. What is happening over at the Rand in Freeport? Where is the putative minister of health in all of this? Cabinet ministers are contracting the disease and many of them are in self quarantine.

The administration has yet to set up any free testing and contact tracing for ALL Bahamians. By the way, are members of the task force receiving full salaries along with perks and privileges? What about employees at Bahamasair? Are they and the board members still being paid full salaries seven months after the arrival of the disease? If they are, how come?

Why is it that each week day there are literally thousands of motorists lined up at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre waiting to have their vehicles inspected and licensed?

Renward Wells, the now-minister of health, used to be minister of transport and local government. The PM lauded him a few months ago as a go-getter and a person who could get things done. What did he do at the Road Traffic Department and what has he done with local government? Not a damned thing in my considered opinion.

These are things that the main stream media NEVER address. Is it possible that they may be pro-Minnis and the FNM? Where are the investigative journalists who are fair and balanced?

I submit that The Bahamas is in a dire strait and that this has been caused by the inept and clueless response of the competent authority and crew. Promises were made by them during the campaign but few have been kept and you hardly hear anymore about them.

Minnis begged Bahamians to bear with him until the end of October.

Now, we hear about yet another extension of the state of emergency and even more curfews and lockdown in a debilitating and failed economy.

It cannot get any worse than this (I hope).

Is it time for a regime change. Should Bahamians give Philip Brave Davis an opportunity to get it right once and for all? 

 Ortland H. Bodie, Jr.

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