ALLYSON GIBSON WRITES: TOGETHER WE CAN

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BE BOLD BAHAMAS

Heartfelt thank you to the frontline team.

“… I am not a scientist, but it is the right and duty of every citizen to look and see what the scientists have said and to analyse it for themselves and to draw common sense conclusions. We are all perfectly capable of doing that and there’s no particular reason why the scientific nature of the problem should mean we have to resign our liberty into the hands of scientists. We all have critical faculties and it’s rather important, in a moment of national panic, that we should maintain them.” Lord Sumption, former U.K. Supreme Court Judge

Let’s continue big thank yous and constant prayers for those on the front lines including, health care professionals, those who are protecting us and enforcing the laws, performing essential services,  and assuring that we have food, water, gas and other  necessities. 

On Monday 30th March, 2020 the House of Assembly and the Senate, both Houses of Parliament, waived Notice provisions in the Rules to urgently debate and pass a Resolution to extend to 8th April, 2020 the 24h curfew, imposed by the Emergency Powers (COVID19) (NO.2) Order 2020.

I support the need for emergency measures to slow, if not halt, the spread of the COVID19 virus. I am proud of the world class Bahamian experts who regularly brief the public. I join others who watch the regular briefings given to the public from the US and note that Congress and the Senate are regularly briefed by the scientists, including Dr. Fauci. These countries realize that an informed citizenry will be more likely to repose confidence in its decision makers. Reliable information minimizes speculation and fear. As Lord Sumption said, “…it is the right and duty of every citizen to look and see what the scientists have said and to analyse it for themselves and to draw common sense conclusions.”  

I agree with comments of persons who have expressed dismay that the Opposition was not given a briefing on the “scientific evidence” that led to our Government’s decision to move for the extension of the 24h curfew. I can only imagine the tremendous stress under which our scientists are working.  As most of us agree that all must be united in the war against COVID19, which must be nonpartisan and non-political, why not have the scientists brief Government and Opposition at the same time?  Our system anticipates both Government and Opposition participating in governing. When emergency powers are invoked by Parliament, surely every member of Parliament has a duty to be in a position to clearly explain to every Bahamian why, in their view, a 24h curfew and the emergency powers are necessary, based upon scientific evidence. This can only be done if each member is given the scientific evidence in a timely manner. Also, as happens in other countries, the scientific evidence should be given to the public, who can “…analyse it for themselves and to draw common sense conclusions”.

Finally, as the experts have said, and as we see, the number of persons in quarantine is rapidly increasing. This number includes those who are in self quarantine. If it is true that persons in self quarantine are going to the food store, bank and elsewhere, I hope that the government moves with speed to stop this. As was posted in social media by the Minister of Health, “the virus doesn’t move. People move it. We stop moving, the virus stops moving. The virus dies. It’s that simple.”   It was reported that Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and Wuhan were so serious about slowing the spread of COVID19 that persons in self quarantine were monitored, using their cell phone location feature, and penalized for violating the quarantine provisions. Is that step also necessary for those in self quarantine in The Bahamas?

Together we can!

31st March, 2020

Allyson Maynard-Gibson

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