By Hon. Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, Q.C. M.P./ Statement by the Leader of the Opposition
Leader, The Progressive Liberal Party
The Competent Authority Congratulates Himself, Warns Bahamians Restrictions Will Return When Cases Rise, Leaves Business Community Facing Uncertainty
For Immediate Release
8 November 2020
On Sunday evening, the “Competent” Authority took credit for a decline in COVID cases, while failing to disclose that the number of tests conducted daily has also fallen.
Yesterday, The Bahamas conducted 345 tests. Experts at the Harvard Global Health Institute recommend a daily minimum of 600 or more tests for a population our size.
Everyone is relieved that some of the restrictions are lifted – for this week, at least. But it is only because the “Competent” Authority’s July reopening plan was weak and full of holes that lockdowns and curfews were required in the first place.
He wants praise for lifting restrictions, but no scrutiny about why they were needed.
The “Competent” Authority did not have a strong testing, tracing and isolation policy in place, and a few cases predictably turned into a few thousand. Many of our Caribbean neighbors have fared much better.
He is much more comfortable admonishing Bahamians about their behavior, and much less inclined to examine his own.
Dr Minnis congratulated himself for his willingness to take “tough” measures against the business community. He should not be so pleased with himself. His lockdowns and curfews, which have indeed crushed many small Bahamian-owned businesses, were a sign of a failed COVID policy, not a sign of strength. Lockdowns are a blunt instrument, necessary when you don’t have enough testing in place to keep up with the COVID spread.
We are deeply worried he is making some of the same mistakes again. We urge him to surge resources now and increase testing for Bahamians.
A strong COVID plan now would end the threat of lockdowns and curfews.
The Competent Authority keeps warning Bahamians to get used to loosening and tightening restrictions – but he should spend time talking to our tourism partners and to local businesses, all of whom are suffering from the uncertainty created by his weak, zig-zagging COVID policy.
The PLP has a 10-point Action Plan for COVID that features free testing, because we want to lower barriers to testing, and because we don’t believe a citizen’s income should determine their ability to keep their families safe.
The Bahamas needs a comprehensive plan in order to contain and defeat COVID, to keep Bahamians healthy, to attract the most visitors, and to give Bahamian-owned businesses the certainty they need to survive.
Going in and out of lockdowns is not the same thing as a plan.
Learn more at covidactionplan.org.