Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, Free National Movement (FNM) St. Anne’s candidate Adrian White and other party members campaigned in the Johnson Road area on Saturday, following the opening of the constituency office.
Moving from door to door, the group was smaller than those that have been observed in recent weeks, although it still totaled more than 20 people.
Minnis, however, said that health protocols were being followed.
“You would note that we were spaced out quite a distance and rather than bungle up, we had a line of at least 300 to 400 feet,” he said when asked to respond to recent criticisms over campaigning in the midst of a pandemic.
“So, individuals were way ahead and some were way behind. And you would note that when we visited any homes, there would not have been more than two or three maximum and we have been spaced out again, wearing our masks, etc.
“The most important thing is keeping adequate social distancing, wearing masks…and you would note that if there were any handshakes, etc., sanitizers were used and if any of the constituents did not have any masks, it was provided for them to ensure safety for everybody.”
There is no provision in the current emergency order that allows social gatherings on New Providence, Abaco, Exuma and Eleuthera.
However, members of both the Free National Movement and the PLP took to the streets last month with large crowds in attendance, canvassing communities on New Providence.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pearl McMillan suggested last week that political campaigning with crowds should not take place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following her comments, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) said it was reviewing its campaign practices.
Last week, the PLP opened its Elizabeth Estates constituency office with dozens of supports crammed near the entrance.
Last Tuesday, Minister of Health Renward Wells defended campaign events, stating that he believes that “you are not supposed to have more than 20 persons gathering together in any one particular place”.
He was incorrect on that point.
The concern surrounding campaign events is in part due to the restrictions placed on other events, including funerals on New Providence, Abaco, Exuma, and Eleuthera, which are limited to graveside services with a maximum of 40 people, and rising cases in recent weeks.