My COVID-19 horror story

Dear Editor,

Please allow me a small space to tell of my horrifying COVID-19 experience.

My experience has nothing to do with the virus itself. Thank God I am healthy.

My problem has to do with the handling of the economic side of the virus.

Many countries gave their citizens a certain amount of money, but The Bahamas chose not to give every citizen a certain amount of money; and because of this decision many have suffered.

My story begins when I was denied, or declined, from the National Insurance Board (NIB); at that point I only had a small amount of savings. That went quickly as I tried to survive.

After being denied by NIB, I tried to seek help from the Department of Social Services, which was a horrific experience.

I tried to apply for rental assistance, and it has been nine weeks and no assistance has been granted and they don’t know when it will be.

I got three food vouchers from social services, but no rental assistance; my landlord gave me notice to vacate her apartment in the midst of a curfew.

I did not cause COVID-19. I am a taxpayer.

Every time I go to the shop, they take 12 percent, but in a pandemic (life and death situation), I cannot get any real assistance from the government and I take care of an 82-year-old mother without any assistance.

Thank God both of us are healthy.

I cannot work and have not worked for four months. With all the lockdowns and curfew that has been going on here, you have a person who has always worked and is put out of work, cannot work and cannot receive any real assistance.

This has been a real horror story, and according to my small research, many more people fall in this category.

The government made a grave mistake when it used NIB as the vehicle to issue funds to self-employed persons and others, because if you did not have all your ducks in a row for any reason, you will be denied, and with no income coming in and you will suffer for four months.

My concern was not with the virus but with starvation and dehydration and being evicted.

This problem could have easily been solved.

Every Bahamian should have been given a lump sum of money through their constituency office.

What they are creating is a silent group of people, who don’t have jobs, being evicted from apartments and struggling with a shortage of food, and the government can’t see what it is doing.

The emperor believes he has clothes on, but he has none on.

While thousands of people are suffering because of the economic fallout of COVID, if you lock a man down for four months and he has no money and no income coming in, how will he pay four months’ light bill, four months’ rent or any other bill?

The government did a good job locking down everything, but a poor job on the economic side.

Only half of the country is eating and the other half is struggling or starving, but we are all taxpayers. That can’t be right in the eyes of God.

— Anthony McPhee 

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