PM Address was a near drowning incident than an address on the Covid-19 pandemic….

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Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis and PM Hubert Minnis

The Editor
Bahamas Press 24th May 2021.

Dear BP,

What was heralded as a national address by the Prime Minister (PM) on Sunday looked more like a near drowning incident than an address on the Covid-19 pandemic.

Like a drowning man, the PM lashed out in all directions seeking to grab ahold of any misrepresentation, half-truth and PLP smear that he could use to save himself and his incompetent government.

What we witnessed once again is a man flailing around for a reason, any reason for Bahamians to believe that he is saving lives after almost 14 months of lockdowns, economic disruption and the near destruction of our economy. According to him, if his policy is failing, it is because we Bahamians lack discipline and will not get vaccinated.

Since no speech by the PM is complete without him spewing odious misrepresentations about the PLP especially its position on the management of the coronavirus pandemic, we were not disappointed. The PM did not offer any solutions for our ever-increasing Covid-19 infections and deaths other than more lockdowns.

Rather he continued with the untruths about successes against the pandemic while at the same time increasing the pain and economic despair of Androsians, Berry Islanders, Cat Islanders and the wider Bahamas all of whom are currently experiencing dramatic increases in covid-19 infections despite the lockdowns.

By now, even an uncaring, authoritarian FNM administration must realize that their plan for mitigating the adverse effects of the pandemic has failed. Yet the PM continues blissfully on his way trying to place the blame for his administrations utter failure on persons who have no heart and who do not have the interest of Bahamians at the forefront.

In his universe, any person who does not accept his narrative are enemies. But despite what the PM misrepresented the PLP are not heart less nor do they lack empathy. What the leader of the Opposition said when explaining the refusal to vote for further extensions of the Covid-19 Emergency Powers and further lockdowns was. “I don’t know if we can support any more of
these lockdowns,” Davis said. He added, “It and of itself is not the answer.

That must be accompanied by many other things and we do not seem to have those other things to make a lockdown effective”. “I think the Bahamian people are responsible enough that once they understand it, they will do it. So, you don’t have to force them.” Asked if he was calling for the end of the restrictions, Davis replied, “Yes.”

And there you have it; a reasoned response by the Opposition Leader to what now appears to be unlimited, misguided and misdirected lockdowns which made a third wave inevitable rather than saved lives as the PM endlessly asserts.

In all this misdirection and deflection by the FNM one will be forgiven for forgetting that our current economic and social upheaval and a near collapse of health care services was caused by the FNMs unwise opening of the economy last year against all advice; their refusal to make free Covid-19 testing available to all Bahamians; its demeaning and dismissive attitude towards our medical professionals; its refusal to re-engage junior doctors and nurses even in the midst of a pandemic; the FNM stop, review and cancel policy which has had a disastrous effect on the construction or completion of Family Island clinics at a time when Bahamians desperately need them; an uneven vaccination rollout adversely effected by poor FNM messaging and spurious, misleading anti-vaccination nonsense emanating from the myriad radio stations licensed by the FNM; and a general distrust of a government which locks down the masses yet lets its friends and supporters congregate in vast numbers in
defiance of the covid-19 protocols.

Bahamians are asking “can this current situation be mitigated allowing us to return to normal lives? “The answer of course is yes but, this will require a major policy correction which the FNM has so far refused to make. Despite opposing political views, we are all in this together and if the fight against this virus fails, we will all bear the consequences for failure.

Despite their policy of excluding from our national life anyone they believe does not support them, the talented pool of professionals in the Bahamas especially Epidemiologists and Infectious Disease experts, Psychologists,
Psychiatrists, building specialists and other specialities is not deep. Sadly, because of ageism and partisanship which has substituted party operatives for experienced professionals these newbies have little experience in dealing with complex problems.

By excluding these experienced professionals, the available talent pool is even shallower. In a time of national emergency, we need all the help we can get.

By continuing their discriminatory and illegal policy of excluding persons of differing opinions, or, of a certain age, the FNM is virtually ensuring the failure of any policy to save our Bahamas from the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic because their boys and girls do not have the skill sets to do so. It also places in grave doubt any plans to rebuild the ravaged infrastructure of Abaco and Grand Bahama and, the restoration of these vital economies.

The knock-on effect is no economic development or growth for the foreseeable future despite the governments penchant for borrowing vast sums of money. The time has come for common sense to prevail; the government is responsible for whether our country survives the pandemic, and it is high time that they show a willingness to seek assistance from the wider community if we are to win this existential battle.

Indeed, history has shown that in many cases a fresh set of eyes and a willingness to consider differing approaches to solving a problem is usually all that is required to correct even the direst situations. This means that many of the opinions of “yes men and women “and persons not qualified in Epidemiology and Infectious diseases, and disaster reconstruction should be ignored. We need all hands-on deck; we must engage all resources available to fight this pandemic. Any other course of action will be grossly negligent and fatal to our Bahamas.

Sincerely,
The Observer