As he touted his administration’s response to COVID-19, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said Bahamians are fortunate that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) was not in office at the outset of the pandemic.
He said PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis would have been a “disaster” in the face of the crisis.
“We did the right thing in The Bahamas and in most of the Caribbean,” Minnis said during his contribution to the 2020/2021 budget debate.
“It is fortunate that the PLP and the leader of the opposition were not in office when the pandemic began in The Bahamas.
“He would have been a disaster during this time.”
Minnis added, “At the outset of the pandemic, with the need to act quickly, he failed a primary test of leadership and proper judgment informed by medical science and good public policy.
“He initially failed to understand the nature and the severity of the pandemic that was on the way and that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives globally. It is often good to have a doctor in the house.
“Health officials at home and global health officials have noted that because of the quick response of various governments around the world that lives were saved, and the health of scores of people were protected.”
As The Bahamas began to record its first cases of COVID-19, the government moved quickly to implement stringent curfew and lockdown measures, including the closure of the borders, in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.
While the country enters the fifth and final phase of the planned reopening, there are 104 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, with the most recent having been confirmed on June 14.
Sixteen cases are still active and 77 people have recovered. Eleven people in the country have died of COVID-19.
Minnis yesterday accused Davis of being inconsistent in his criticism of the government in its handling of the pandemic.
“The country cannot take seriously a leader of the opposition who, at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, said that the government was overreaching,” he said.
“He misunderstood the moment. His judgment was dead wrong.”
Minnis added, “Now that we are easing restrictions in a phased and gradual manner, the leader of the opposition is wondering whether we are moving too fast, though at the beginning of the outset he said we were overreaching.
“He keeps contradicting himself and tying himself up in knots.”
Minnis said the PLP’s decision to set up a separate COVID-19 task force was a gimmick that the party will be judged for.
“History and the voters will judge the words, the gimmicks, and the poor judgment of the PLP during the COVID-19 pandemic, including their setting up a separate PLP COVID-19 committee,” he said.
“For our part, we have the historic responsibility to respond creatively and broadly to the challenges exposed by Hurricane Dorian and COVID-19.
“This is what we have done. This is what we will continue to do.
“Seeing the large number of deaths in countries that waited too long, I am convinced my government made the right decisions.”
Minnis continued, “By his words and hesitation, we realize that the leader of the opposition would likely not have reacted as quickly and as decisively as this government and this prime minister.
“As the young people like to say, ‘He was not ready for prime time.’”