12th January 2021.
As our neighbours to the north continue to experience the final death throes of the Trump administration it is almost surreal to see the comparisons between it and the Minnis administration.
Both administrations engaged in lies, deception, deflections, mean spirited and insulting comments towards opponents, failed to admit mistakes, refused to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions and discarded advice which ran counter to their narratives. Remember the disastrous reopening of our borders last year against all considered advice? Both administrations also have a penchant for claiming successes which they had no hand in achieving.
But the most damming of all is their failure to protect their citizens from the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic. Both administrations failed miserably by any objective measurement and refuses to accept responsibility for these failures. In the Bahamas context the FNM refused to acknowledge the serious nature of the situation, gave false or misleading information to Bahamians and the wider world and when all else failed blamed us. The FNM locked down and destroyed the economies of islands which had no COVID-19 cases now they say there are COVID-19 free islands as if it was their doing. Now they are threatening even more lockdowns as they seek to curtail any political rallies and travel by the opposition while the PM travels incessantly to campaign on any family island destination he chooses.
But the international community is now recognizing the fact that the PM,s autocratic behaviour and abuses of his emergency powers are not only ill-advised and unwarranted but are slowly eroding the democratic rights of Bahamians. These are the actions of an autocrat who relies on force and police intimidation to suppress citizens just to stay in power. And as this incompetent, godless administration clings desperately to power every bad, ill-considered plan is thwarted and brought to nought by powers they cannot control. The government is now faced with another problem with the new CDC covid-19 test requirements for persons entering the United States.
So, in addition to the travel visa to travel to the Bahamas once here you need another test to get out whether Bahamian or visitor. The impact of these new rules will have a catastrophic effect on our country but, we should have seen this coming. In a letter to BP dated August 2020 referring to the Minnis administrations unilateral closure of our borders without consultation with travel partners or our American friends I wrote, “In future, will US Preclearance procedures at LPIA and Freeport include a mandatory rapid Covid-19 test before Bahamians are allowed entry to the United States?
These are all questions that the Minnis Administration should have considered. A rational competent government would have seen the possible consequences of unnecessarily embarrassing a world power. Now the Minister is pleading for an exemption to these rules; good luck with that. The Americans will most likely be disinclined to accede to such request; we need them more than they need us, and a lesson must be taught to high-handed, irrational, autocratic leaders.
We are also seeing the first signs of this governments’ lack of transparency and incompetence in the upcoming roll out of a national vaccination plan. In December 2020, the newly appointed Minister of Health said no final decision on a vaccine supplier had been made. Yet yesterday he said that refrigeration equipment was expected soon to store vaccines, which vaccine we do not know because they never tell us anything. But if the experiences of other countries is any guide the very success of any effective vaccination program will rely on the governments ability to counter the fake news and rumours on the safety of the vaccine currently infecting our social media through insane postings by media trolls.
More importantly, vaccines must be administered by nurses and other health professionals because doctors for some reason are incapable of administering injections. That is right, the continued survival of our country, its economic future and stability is now in the hands of our nurses. The same nurses that the FNM through its minions in the PHA has attacked, will not pay, excoriated, demeaned, and demotivated from their very first days in office. How the FNM squares this circle of distrust, reenergizes, and refocus our nurses and health professionals is a monumental job in itself.
Remedying the effects of all the insults and mistreatment is not in the skill set of autocratic leaders and their fawning sycophants and no amount of bullying, insulting and dismissive behaviour will change that; at long last, the rabbit has the gun.
Michael J. Brown