Prime Minister Who Campaigned on Accountability Denies Responsibility for Second Wave
Minnis’ Failed Policies Led to Thousands of New COVID Cases, Hurt the Economy
Man Who Admitted He’s “No Good at Figures” is Nation’s New Minister of Finance
No Hope Offered to Hurting Businesses or Bahamians Afraid of Losing Their Homes
Once again, Hubert Minnis has sought to rewrite recent history, taking a victory lap for his COVID policies which in reality led to thousands of COVID cases in The Bahamas and a series of lockdowns which greatly damaged the local economy.
When The Bahamas reopened our borders on 1st July, the “Competent” Authority had not prepared the country for the importation of new cases. Because he did not have sufficient testing and tracing resources in place, a few cases quickly turned into thousands of cases, leading to pain, suffering, and tragedy for many Bahamians.
With cases climbing, our borders had to be shut down again. Foreign nations warned their citizens not to travel here. The “Competent” Authority was forced to implement a series of lockdowns and curfews which greatly damaged small businesses in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Exuma, Abaco, and Eleuthera.
This was not inevitable. Many nations in the region have fared much better. Sandals chose to open their properties in every other Caribbean country before The Bahamas, because other countries were handling the pandemic so much better. Minnis’ policies have made a bad situation much worse than it had to be. For much of this pandemic, this country’s response has been ranked worst in the world, 184 out of 184 countries.
Adding insult to injury, Bahamians gasped when the Prime Minister announced that he intended to remain in post as Minister of Finance. His attempt to misrepresent the country’s finances was scandalous. The IMF has projected that the economy will contract by almost a fifth, some 16.2% in real GDP in 2020. This is a direct result of the lockdowns and curfews imposed by the Prime Minister, wearing his hat of the Competent Authority. This is not a badge of success.
Now, the Prime Minister says he seeks to assure the country that they will continue “prudent management of the nation’s finances”. He should know that this is the opposite of reassuring. This government entered office campaigning against VAT, then raised it (that tax increase preceded Dorian and before COVID). This government failed, repeatedly, to meet their own budget and revenue targets. This government’s previous Minister of Finance, responsible for the public books, was forced to resign because he was implicated in a $28 million fraud case.
No one in The Bahamas believes that Hubert Minnis is qualified to act as Minister of Finance. He has admitted in private that he is no good at figures. The fact that he is choosing to remain as Minister of Finance is an admission that no FNM MP is qualified to occupy that vital position even as the nation faces an extremely serious economic and fiscal crisis.
Finally, Bahamians watching the Prime Minister in the hopes that he would offer a plan to alleviate the pain caused by the FNM lockdowns were sorely disappointed. No help or hope was offered. For months, the PLP Action Plan has called for emergency cash support for families, support for small business payrolls, and a programme that works with banks and landlords to help Bahamians keep their homes. That is the only competent, compassionate way to address the fallout from the nation’s terrible unemployment crisis.