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MPs looking forward to their islands getting green light to do business

North Eleuthera MP Rickey Mackey yesterday expressed concern over Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ decision to allow commercial activity to resume on several Family Islands while excluding Eleuthera.

“I’m sure you are aware that once the prime minister has spoken on an issue, we’re guided by that direction,” Mackey told The Nassau Guardian.

“I do have some personal concern, especially in Spanish Wells. They have kept to the orders. I’m concerned that while they have adhered to all of the regulations, being locked in so long has created a sense of frustration for them. In fact, I think they went above and beyond in terms of trying to adhere to the orders for COVID-19.”

Recently, some residents were being stopped by police as they moved around the settlement, according to Mackey.

“Husband and wife couldn’t ride in the same golf cart,” he said.

“It was done above and beyond. They were hoping now that Eleuthera would’ve been listed among those islands that are allowed to open up. As I said before, the competent authority has spoken.

“It is just my hope and prayer that they’re being guided in the right direction because I understand the frustration that a lot of my constituents are going through.”

Commercial activity resumed as normal on Cat Island, Long Island, Abaco and Andros yesterday.

On May 3, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis declared that such activity was also allowed to resume on Ragged Island, Rum Cay, Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins and Long Cay.

None of those islands have had confirmed cases of COVID-19; neither have Exuma, Eleuthera, San Salvador and the Berry Islands — all of which are prohibited from resuming normal commercial activity.

Minnis has not explained why some of the islands have not been granted permission to resume business.

Central and South Eleuthera MP Hank Johnson said yesterday he would “love to have Eleuthera opened up”.

“The Ministry of Health is the expert that we are listening to,” Johnson said.

“They provide all of the data. And so, we follow the protocol from the Ministry of Health. While I want to see it (Eleuthera) open, we have to be guided by the Ministry of Health because they are the ones that are there.

“What I’m understanding, there are some things they are looking at. For example, boating on the island of Eleuthera has been pretty active.”

He said the ministry has expressed concern about several ports on Eleuthera.

Johnson said his primary focus is on protecting the lives of Bahamian citizens and residents.

North Andros and Berry Islands MP Carlton Bowleg said the Berry Islands’ reopening may have been “overlooked”.

“From yesterday, [I] thought it was North Andros and the Berry Islands that was going to be opened because all of us are one,” Bowleg said.

He said he was surprised to find out the island was not permitted to resume regular business, adding that he would like a reason as to why commercial activity is not allowed to resume there.

“I don’t see a reason why it shouldn’t because of the way we are handling ourselves as far as the COVID-19 is concerned,” he said.

Bowleg said he will continue to be “very vocal in voicing” his opinion on behalf of his constituents.

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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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