Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said had the government implemented a travel ban on Bahamians when the economy reopened, The Bahamas would be thriving right now.
Instead, he said the country continues to face one of the worst emergencies in modern times.
“Had we made the firm decision to… prevent Bahamians from traveling, we would have been in a better position,” he said as he led debate on the resolution to extend the state of emergency until the end of September.
“But to make such [a] decision would have been considered unconstitutional. I would have been accused, and the government would have been accused of being the most dictatorial government.
“…Though we thought about it, we refused to make that decision to place a travel embargo on Bahamians while allowing people to come in.”
Since the borders reopened on July 1, The Bahamas has seen an explosion of COVID-19 cases.
Between July 8 and July 22, the country reported 115 cases.
He said ahead of the most recent ban on commercial flights, several hotels were doing well and would still be doing well now.
However, Minnis said Bahamians would have lambasted the government if it implemented restricted travel measures on locals.
Nonetheless, he added, “we would have been a successful nation.
“…We were afraid to make that decision.”
He said this demonstrates is that governments will be placed in situations where it may have to make “discriminatory or unconstitutional decisions” against their people in the advancement of their nation.
When asked to clarify what he meant by that, Minnis added that the government has not made any decision that is unconstitutional, adding that in the future, governments may be faced with such decisions.