Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday claimed the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) would have been an “absolute and unmitigated disaster” had it been in government during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As he defended his decision to keep a daily 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in place and close beaches and parks during the Independence holiday weekend, Minnis accused PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis of inconsistently criticizing the government’s handling of the pandemic.
“The PLP would have been a disaster during COVID-19,” Minnis said in the House of Assembly.
“In fact, they are a disaster during this pandemic even in opposition.”
Minnis added, “[S]adly, tragically, the leader of the opposition continues to demonstrate an arbitrary, reckless, irresponsible and unscientific posture to the threat of COVID-19.
“He can’t seem to make up his mind whether the country is opening too quickly or not quickly enough. His pronouncements and postures seem to be based on putting his finger in the wind, and depending on how the wind blows it, that’s the decision.
“[As] for me and my government, our decisions are based on medical science and medical facts and the need to balance the health, social and economic needs of the Bahamian people. This is a time for responsible, strong and steady leadership, not pandering and posturing like the leader of the opposition.
“I say it again, he and his party would have been a disaster during this time, an absolute and unmitigated disaster.”
Minnis insisted that the decision to close beaches was guided by scientific evidence.
“[T]he leader of the opposition seemed to suggest that the decision to close certain beaches this holiday weekend appeared arbitrary and devoid of a scientific basis,” he said.
“He is wrong on both points.
“The decision was carefully and strategically taken based on medical science and based on what we have seen in other jurisdictions and the potential for the super spreading of COVID-19 during this upcoming holiday weekend.
“[T]his leads me to believe, Mr. Speaker, that were he in a position to do so, he would allow these beaches and parks to remain open, possibly endangering the health and lives of Bahamian people.”
Minnis announced that there were two new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, the first in The Bahamas since June 14. The cases came just one week after The Bahamas welcomed tourists for the first time in months. Prior to the reopening of the borders, the last confirmed case of COVID-19 in the country was on June 14.
Minnis said he believes that his administration has handled the pandemic well so far.
“The Bahamas has been a model nation so far in our handling of the pandemic because we locked down early and are now trying to gradually reopen,” he said.
“We have been widely praised internationally, news which has apparently not reached some quarters, including the opposition, which seems to be deaf and blind to any news that does not suit their agenda.”