BORROWED VACCINES ARRIVE: The Bahamas has received 3,496 doses of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine as the result of a donation from the British Overseas Territories of Montserrat and Anguilla, with the assistance of United Kingdom High Commissioner Sarah Dickson. 21 July 2021. The Bahamas Government allowed the country to run short of vaccines even after announcing measures to punish people who do not choose to get a vaccine. Our phot of the week shows Dr. Merceline Dahl Regis as the vaccines arrived. Photo by Patrick Hanna BIS
Mama used to say that if you don’t know what to say, the best thing to do is to say nothing. That is a twist on the saying that it is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and it be confirmed that you are one.
That is our message to the Prime Minister Hubert Minnis after a most vacuous address to the nation on Wednesday 28th July 2021. The Friday before that 23 July 2021, the Minister of Health like a thief in the night announced a raft of new measures to quiet the political noise about the massive rise of covid cases, something like 132 new cases within a week.
Both hospitals both private and public have been closed to new patients unless there is an absolute life and death emergency. The wards are full of covid patients and the country is out of ventilators. Nurses are dying and for those of us on the political hustings, we cannot enter too many homes because they are in quarantine.
One of the most silly of the new regulations was that those campaigning must be fully vaccinated and they can only go out in groups of five. How the heck they are going to police that God only knows but we are assured that no one will follow it.
The PLP accused the Government in its response of trying to suppress freedom of speech.
That is the way we see it.
Dr. Minnis is widely unpopular in the country. But for some reason his pollsters keep telling him that he is the opposite. So he went and spread rumours that he will call the election and have it done before school opens in September. That stalled when the Leader of the Opposition Philip Davis called his bluff and told everyone they had one day to register. They went out in droves. They surely were not registering because they want to vote for the Prime Minister.
So the national address fell flat as a pancake. It ended up being a mawkish appeal by the Prime Minister for people to get vaccinated. With that we agree, but the public education of his government on the matter has been an abject failure.
The biggest laugh was all the religious quotations and the appeal to the gospel of Christ. For someone who is so visibly agnostic, that was a big joke. Even the devil can quote scripture as you know.
NASSAU, The Bahamas – On behalf of The Government of The Bahamas, the Hon. Renward Wells Minister of Health, accepted the sixth batch of medical supplies worth $78,000 — a gift of the Chinese Government.
What is described as the “biggest and highest value” batch of medical supplies delivered by the People’s Republic of China to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas was handed over by Chinese Ambassador to The Bahamas, Her Excellency Dai Qingli, during a brief ceremony today at the Ministry of Health (MOH), Meeting Street.
Senior executives including Acting Permanent Secretary Siobhan Deane of the MOH and officials of the Chinese Embassy witnessed the presentation.
The items comprise 10,000 Tuberculin syringes, 3,000 sets of coveralls of various sizes, 10,000 pairs of Nitrile gloves, 30,000 N95 facemasks, and 100,000 medical facemasks.
Minister Wells underscored that the donation is “most timely” and assured that the items will go a “very, very, very long way” especially during the “challenging” period that the nation is presently experiencing.
“Your country has been most gracious and generous to have given The Bahamas such a needed supply at our most vulnerable time and we are most appreciative and grateful for the kind and thoughtful gesture,” said Minister Wells.
He remarked that The Bahamas has benefitted greatly from the economic cooperation, trade, investment, cultural exchanges and bilateral support from The People’s Republic of China to The Bahamas.
“Your visit comes at a time when we are experiencing some new emerging challenges and threats brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On Sunday, 25 July, 2021, we experienced the most cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas, some 133 cases in a single day. Moreover, as a Small Island Developing State, such surges in cases are a real challenge to a country like The Bahamas.
“Currently, The Bahamas is experiencing its third wave of COVID-19 infections. What is noteworthy about this period is that hospitalizations have increased exponentially. Due to COVID-19 exposures on six wards of our public hospital, bed spaces were closed to new admissions. The bed capacity was reduced by 96 so that only 32 beds were being used for COVID-19 patients. As a result, Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) has had to establish strict measures to deal with the increasing COVID-19 cases.
“Our nurses, doctors, emergency medical services and other essential health care workers continue to work hard. Currently, many of our nurses, however, especially those who are trained to treat COVID-19 patients have migrated to countries that can provide them with higher compensation rates.
“With assistance from the Pan American Health Organization, we received the results of samples that were genetically sequenced from the Fiocruz Laboratory in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We were recently able to confirm the presence of the UK and Iota variants in the country. This causes further concern from the Government.”
Moreover, Minister Wells said during this period The Bahamas has also seen an increased number of deaths, which has resulted in space challenges at the morgue.
He informed of the continued challenge of vaccine hesitancy in the general populace and that health care workers are not inclined to take the vaccine. He urged citizens and residents to become vaccinated.
Minister Wells said Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis will guide the nation further through the COVID-19 pandemic in a national address later today.
In response, Ambassador Dai said although both countries cannot be more different in size, population and national conditions, they have forged a “sincere” friendship over the years. She said the supplies are a “solid” demonstration of this friendship.
“The pandemic is a common enemy for all humanity. Faced with its ferocious assault, our two countries have shown each other solidarity and mutual assistance. The supplies have hopefully arrived at a timely moment.
“Affected by the global rise in cases due to the Delta variant, The Bahamas is also seeing an uptick in infections and the frontline medical workers are facing growing pressure. We know how this feels as we went through this difficult phase.
“Like their counterparts around the world, the heroism and sacrifice of frontline medical workers in The Bahamas are truly admirable and reflect the best of this nation.”
Ambassador Dai pledged her country’s continued support and wished The Bahamas all the best in the fight of the pandemic and resumption of economic growth. (BIS Photos/Kristaan Ingraham)
Here is how the promotions are supposed to work in the services both the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the Royal Bahamas Police Force. The Commodore and the Commissioner respectively make their nominations for the men and women in the force generally at the various ranks. They are supposed to advance those who are fit and proper with seniority and ability as the two watchwords. These lists are then forwarded to the political heads and in the case of the Police to the Police Service Commission in the cases which are required by law. The review by the Prime Minister and the Minister should be routine and they should not interfere with it. The problem the police have and the defence force have today is that under the FNM administration by the time the list gets to the Governor General, it has been tampered with by an unknown person or persons. Seems like the bodyguards are consulted by the Prime Minister and the Minister about who are fit and proper. Their role it is said is to wean the list of those who are suspected as PLP. So the Leader of the Opposition for example who deserves to have this men upgraded in the promotions are expected to be passed over again, even though they clearly deserve it. Others who are doing the work of ranks beyond them, have a similar issue but are reportedly stripped from the list because they are perceived to be PLP by the bodyguards. What a time?
The question came up at dinner with Senator Fred Mitchell: will you return home? It is a difficult question and the issue is not just sentimental but structural and practical. You have an offer of 28k to work in The Bahamas as a doctor but one million dollars to work as a Doctor in the U.S. No issues in the States about your family background and your political connections, you just do your job in the states and collect your pay. So the consensus when it started out, it was 80 per cent in favour of coming home and 20 per cent against. But over time, the balance has shifted and now its 20 per cent in favour of coming home and 80 per cent in staying put in the states. But it’s not as bad as it seems. The PLP opened consulates in various cities to engage the Bahamian diaspora abroad. Once you are a Bahamian no matter where you are, you are a benefit and asset to the country. It is up to the governments to develop those links. The FNM has been woefully inadequate in doing so during the last four years.
So the Carron’s, the owners of The Tribune, have a proposal before the Government to collect the revenues from the air overflights that traverse The Bahamas. They say it’s a slam dunk. The Prime Minister Hubert Minnis wants the deal they propose or so he has told them. Looks so but well it ain’t happening. So in a remarkable twist of events, The Tribune launched a full scale attack on Carl Bethel, the Attorney General, with a picture of a jackass on the front page and saying he is the reason why the deal won’t fly. Sounds a little fishy to us. Hubert Minnis makes all the decisions in his Government, to us it seems that Carl Bethel who holds no seat and we doubt holds any brief is being made the fall guy for Mr. Minnis who doesn’t obviously want the deal to go through. At least that is how we read we tea leaves. What do you think?
So Kai Jones ( shown with his parents Casprintina and Deyvon Jones) is another Bahamian to join the ranks of the multimillionaires in the American National Basketball Association. That’s him with his parents all out in pink. Bold fellow. Real men wear pink. But the serious point beside the congratulations is the profile of a new generation of Bahamians, Black Bahamians who have come and will come into fabulous wealth by dint not of family inheritance or Bahamian government connections but due to their talent and perseverance and that of their parents. His Mom and Dad have obviously done a good job. The question for us is what does this mean for The Bahamas. You have to thank people like Geron Sands and former Senator Greg Burrows for example and others who helped to found the Freedom Farm baseball and other baseball programmes that ultimately gave rise to Jazz Chisolm and at least three others who are now playing pro ball in the U. S. These kids came again not from known families. They will like Shaunae Miller and Stephen Gardener have an outsize influence we predict on the politics of The Bahamas if they use their wealth properly and they save their money. Like Sidney Poitier, the Bahamian actor, before all of them, they all have so far looked back to see what they could do to help The Bahamas. Mychael Thompson, Rick Fox, Buddy Hield, Deandrea Ayton, Jazz Chisolm. The list is getting longer. We think that this speaks well for our country. We also think that this will help to break the political log jam that we find ourselves in where the same people keep getting elected to Parliament from the same families and with the same connections in the economy going to the same people. In fact, we will do our utmost to urge these new wealthy and influential people not to waste that money, to save it, to use it for good to make The Bahamas a much better place to live in than the one in which they grew up and left. Congratulations young man and to all the others out there to come. As he said to the press: “ 242 to the world.”
Grand Bahama Health Services executive management confirmed today that more than seventeen (17) nurses at the Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport, Grand Bahama called in sick today in an apparent sickout.
Hospital officials confirm that the first calls came in ahead of the 8am and 3pm shifts respectively. They add that there has been no communication from the Bahamas Nurses Union regarding the apparent industrial action.
The alleged sick-out of nurses comes at a time when the Rand Memorial Hospital is already experiencing a nursing shortage, and against efforts to mitigate services during a pandemic which has strained resources.
Hospital Administrator Mrs. Sharon Williams said, “This major setback has affected the Rand Memorial Hospital’s wards and Inpatient Services as these areas were most negatively affected as a result of the sick-out.”
However, she added “Measures were taken to redeploy nursing staff that reported to work in strategic areas to maintain our ability to provide health care to our patients.”
Management will continue to monitor this turn of events and assures the public that all will be done to ensure the clients receive continuous optimal health care.
The Dominican Republic just to the south of us had a problem. They could not from all their sources access the vaccines of the West. The timebomb of infections from covid was growing and what was the answer? They turned to China and got the Chinese vaccine Sinovac. Today some 5O per cent of the population of the DR is vaccinated compared to ten per cent in our own country. The vaccines are approved by the World Health Organization. The Chinese government has volunteered to give the vaccines to The Bahamas. They have distributed some 700 million worldwide but this Government refuses because of prejudice against the Chinese. In the meantime, people are dying.
Senator Fred Mitchell, then Managing Editor of The Herald, the PLP’s newspaper at the 25th anniversary celebration of the marriage of Prime Minister Lynden Pindling as he then was and the now Dame Marguerite at the Pindling Home in Skyline Drive in 1981. From left Hon George Smith, the then Lourey Smith, Dame Marguerite, Senator Mitchell and the late Arnold Cargill. Photo by Peter Ramsay.
Anyone who can’t see that it was the Bahamian people, rather than the PLP, who were the big losers of the 2017 election must either be a member of Minnis’ Cabinet or an enthusiast of its most ambitious project to date: legalized weed.
Four years of gimmicks and distractions from the big issues facing this country (which I have long said is the primary function of the FNM from the standpoint of its vested financiers) have left the population broke and the public domain defunded at the worst possible time.
The COVID-19 crisis came on the heels of the ejection from office of an administration that was for the first time in our history directing the wealth of this country into an advanced and transformative universal healthcare system. It was opposed by wealthy lobbies who benefit from our current parasitic insurance/healthcare industry and their polished puppets in the FNM.
Today, after the Public Hospitals Authority’s “cost-cutting” (FNM-ese for transferring the costs to the poor, via fees), the cessation of the National Health Insurance program to upgrade clinics and facilities nationwide and the degrading treatment of medical professionals, the wealthy Bahamas finds itself at the bottom of the regional league in an emergency pandemic, “borrowing” vaccine doses from tiny, poor Antigua.
Meanwhile, we just paid $66 million on a shuttered hotel and borrowed billions more with nothing to show for it.
So we can’t campaign with more than five people and they have all to be vaccinated, except that only 10 per cent of the population is vaccinated and he vaccine deniers are in abundance at 90 per cent . The Government has no effective campaign of public education on vaccines. Three people in one week in the passport office died from covid, The office has been closed several times within the last month. The Minister of Health announced that no indoor dining can take place, only outdoor unless people who are going indoors are vaccinated. They then chopped one hour from our freedom so we now have to be back home by 10 p m. Oh yes, no one can visit you your homes. This is the kind of nonsense that the FNM Government has imposed in the face of the crisis in covid cases in The Bahamas. The tourists are running around hog wild with no masks. Bahamians are being harassed by the covid police. Freedom of speech being truncated. This is all supposed to stop covid. Nothing that Hubert Minnis has done since March 2021 has worked to stop covid, yet he says give me another chance. What part of no don’t you understand Prime Minister?
There is a serious problem at the Passport Office. The summer is upon us and the lines are normally long during this period. But the situation is much worse this year because of the Covid outbreak. There have been three deaths within the past month at the office. Whole sections have been sent home by order of the Ministry of Health because of covid exposure. Approvals are therefore delayed beyond their normal times. This is yet another example of how overall government management of the covid crisis in The Bahamas has been a failure. We thank the people at the passport office for their services and extend condolences to the families of those who have passed.