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Minnis blasts govt’s response to pandemic

Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday accused the Davis administration of leading “a disastrous, incompetent and chaotic” response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) was elected to office one month ago, after Minnis called an early election during The Bahamas’ worst surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

In a statement, Minnis said the government’s response is “uncaring and indifferent to the pain and suffering of those who are getting sick and their families”.

“As he did in opposition, Prime Minister Philip Davis clearly does not have an understanding of nor a plan as to how to respond to the deadly virus, as more Bahamians are dying daily from the virus,” he said.

“With mounting deaths, outbreaks on various islands and the Bahamian public frightened that the number of cases may increase in the near future, the government has failed to articulate and execute comprehensive public health measures.

“The PLP promised that it had a plan and a way forward on the pandemic. Tragically, there is no plan as promised. They do not have a way forward.”

Minnis pointed to the government’s decision to relax curfew the day after winning the election.

He also pointed to the PLP’s campaign promise of offering free COVID-19 testing, which Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Michael Darville said the government hopes to bring on stream by the end of the year.

“What are the plans for such testing?” Minnis asked.

“There are reports of rising case numbers and deaths on a number of Family Islands, which have limited capacity to deal with severe cases.

“Because of limited oxygen supplies, no ventilators and no intensive care units on our islands – except New Providence and Grand Bahama – it is critical to stop the spread of the virus as quickly as possible on the Family Islands.”

The Bahamas has confirmed 21,954 COVID-19 cases since March 2020.

Up to this summer, the previous administration implemented a series of restrictions, including lockdowns and tighter curfews, in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

In opposition, Davis opposed the introduction of some restrictions.

According to Minnis, his administration sought to bring balance by saving and protecting lives and livelihoods.

“The FNM quickly put in place comprehensive measures to limit outbreaks on the Family Islands,” he said.

“We also regularly reported to the country through national addresses, press conferences and press statements.

“What is the current government’s strategy to deal with outbreaks throughout the Family Islands? What is the capacity for airlift if the number of severe cases increases significantly throughout the Family Islands?”

Minnis questioned whether the government was considering any measures to address the increasing number of deaths in country.

The minister of health last week indicated that the government was not considering the implementation of additional measures.

In the last two weeks, the Ministry of Health and Wellness confirmed 689 new cases.

It also confirmed 129 additional deaths, bringing the official COVID-19 death count to 626 as of October 15.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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