The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is asking the competent authority to end the curfew for New Providence unless he provides a scientific justification for its continuation.
“Perhaps there is no health-related justification – after all, did he not recently brag about being out and about at 4:30 a.m.?” said the PLP in a statement released yesterday.
Last week, during the formal opening of MacFit gym in Cable Beach, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis boasted that he goes out at 4:30 a.m. every day to exercise.
The New Providence curfew is 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
It remains in place despite low daily new cases of COVID-19 on the island. On Saturday, the Ministry of Health reported six new cases on New Providence.
The case count has been relatively low for many weeks now, although a total of 6,154 cases have been confirmed on New Providence since the start of the pandemic last March.
The PLP is also urging the government to act now to avoid new COVID outbreaks and more lockdowns.
“Florida is leading the United States with the largest number of identified cases of the UK variant,” the party said in the statement.
“We urge the government to learn from earlier mistakes and move from a reactive to a proactive stance, adopting measures now to avoid new outbreaks and lockdowns…”
The PLP proposes free testing, better masks, the strengthening of isolation protocols in clinics and hospitals, ensuring that all restrictions reflect actual science to earn public cooperation for necessary public health measures, and a public education campaign to promote good ventilation and indoor air quality.
On the issue of testing, the PLP said the cost of testing is a real burden to the many thousands of Bahamians who are out of work.
“Indeed, for many, it is an impossibility,” the statement added. “Testing is one of the most important tools we have in a pandemic; we should be knocking down obstacles to access. Any Bahamian concerned they have been exposed to COVID-19 should have access to free testing. The current testing requirement for domestic travel between islands is keeping families apart and hurting the economy.”
The PLP said medical grade masks should be made available to all workers who interact with large numbers of people, including police and defense force officers, teachers, and other essential workers.
“Filtration and fit are key. A public education campaign should emphasize the benefits of double masking for many Bahamians,” the party stated.
On the issue of strengthening isolation protocols in clinics and hospitals, the party said it’s crucial that COVID-positive cases are isolated from other patients, and that Bahamians feel they can trust these protocols so that they don’t avoid necessary medical treatment.
It added, “The competent authority should bring forward what he believes is the scientific justification for the ongoing curfew in New Providence, and if he cannot, he should end it.
In its statement, the PLP said, “The government is making a mistake by relying so heavily on vaccines and lockdowns. We urge them to use a broader set of tools. We have seen and felt the costs of their previous failures to plan ahead. We should take action now to avoid a third wave and more restrictions and lockdowns.”
The party also hit out at the prime minister for his repeated statements that his leadership in the pandemic saved lives.
“We’ve lost count of how many times the competent authority has congratulated himself for his handling of COVID-19, but all of his self-satisfied boasting can’t obscure the truth, which is that many nations in our region have out-performed The Bahamas, in both cases and deaths per capita,” the PLP stated.
“It’s not only that health outcomes have been better in neighboring countries, the steps the competent authority took to achieve these inferior results did so much damage along the way to our economy.
“For months following the July reopening, lockdowns crushed many of our small businesses. While resorts were opening across the Caribbean, The Bahamas was essentially closed and visitors were warned to stay away. This government has mismanaged the crisis and the economy is in worse shape as a result.”
Since the start of the pandemic, The Bahamas has recorded 8,551 cases with 7,337 recoveries. It has recorded 180 deaths and 15 are under investigation.