Sands’ resignation was appropriate in light of facts

Dear Editor,

There are those who believe the health services response will be greatly impacted by the resignation of Dr. Duane Sands as minister of health.

I do not believe this is the case.

The machinery for decision making and implementation is firmly established within the Ministry of Health.

In fact, any suit (or dress) can fill that position and we will probably get more of what we have been getting in terms of medical decisions! The only thing that may change is how clearly information is delivered.

There are also those who believe Dr. Sands was fired while performing a selfless act in the best interest of the country or that his resignation was political. I believe the evidence now available says otherwise. In fact, his resignation was the appropriate thing to do in light of the facts.

On January 21, 2020, the first case of the novel coronavirus was diagnosed in America.

Sometime in February, PAHO donated the first set of test kits that were used to set up the national reference lab for this virus.

To date, The Bahamas has performed about 1,500 tests for a population of approximately 400,000 persons.

This means that only approximately 0.3 percent of this population has been tested for coronavirus while Dr. Sands was minister of health and making policy decisions!

Fast forward to his resignation over swabs for test kits just days ago and one wonders what happened to the window of opportunity to procure test kits with appropriate swabs between January and now because, remember, they did procure kits WITHOUT swabs!

Surely there was not the scarcity of swabs, or major disruptions in the global supply chain for swabs in February or March when pockets of the virus in the U.S. and Canada were at a minimum.

It makes it difficult to believe the minister saw testing as a matter of utmost importance. One also wonders how private citizens could get access to such a rare commodity as these swabs, but the government of The Bahamas, with all its global friends and “partners” could not!

If the swabs at the center of the controversy were so important to the national interest, then why didn’t those well-meaning residents send them by courier such as FedEx?

One possible answer may be that the efficacy of the swabs might be adversely affected by the residents not having them in their personal possession at the time of delivery to the appropriate agency.

No, it appears this debacle is about abuse of power and privilege. It seems the residents see this country as a banana republic.

That makes the residents right and every Bahamian’s blood should boil at this thought!



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