By Chester Cooper MP / Deputy Leader of the PLP
STATEMENT| Today, the Opposition is calling on the Prime Minister to immediately amend his most recent
lockdown order. In other words, we are calling on the Competent Authority to exercise some competence. People need time to get organized to survive his Lockdown. The government needs a structured plan that allows people access to food stores and pharmacies.
To announce immediate closures at night – when people are unable to get the basic things they need to survive – is completely unacceptable. As we said last night, immediately after the Prime
Minister spoke, the decision to lock down without notice was made without consideration of the plight of the poor, the sick, the vulnerable, the elderly.
This is precisely why the authority he has shouldn’t be vested in one person. The Prime Minister who talks about being from over-the- hill is clearly out of touch with the realities on the ground.
To govern well you need a heart and an understanding of how people live – never more so than
during a crisis. I spoke this morning with a single mother who does her shopping day-to-day, whenever she gets money to feed her children. What is she to do now?
I spoke with an elderly gentleman who has no income, lives hand to mouth, and today has no food or water. The Bahamian people are peaceful and patriotic and by and large have cooperated with the orders, despite the very serious hardship they have caused. People today are hungry and understandably angry. The prime minister has lost the confidence of the Bahamian people.
He is always behind, struggling to play catch-up. We are locked down because the government
did not open our borders properly. It would have been less painful and less expensive to get the nation prepared to open up safely, with more testing, tracing and shoring up of our health care capacity. The Prime Minister has not shown that he can manage this crisis strategically or compassionately.
This level of shut down without warning was unconscionable.The feeding network is already struggling to capture those who need the support. The rapidbahamas.com link has been inaccessible and many do not have internet or data. The 311 number concept is constantly busy, leaving people cut off from the help they were promised. The essential workers are unable to shop for themselves or put gas in their cars.
The elderly don’t have access to medicine or enough food or water.The prime minister appears to be completely deaf and blind as to how the vulnerable in this country live. He has provided no plan to get our country to the other side of this and the Bahamian people are forced to wait on his whims. He has announced no targets to determine the threshold for leaving lockdown or the emergency orders.
I end as I begin with our call for the immediate amendment of the lockdown order to allow people to properly prepare. We must protect the lives and dignity of the most vulnerable
amongst us, the poor, the indigent, the unemployed, single mother, the elderly the hungry and the suffering.
May God bless us all.
May God bless the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.