BRIAN SEYMOUR WRITES WHEN LEADERS LACK VISION

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When leaders lack vision, poor people suffer. Today, as the government of The Bahamas celebrate the impending 1 July reopening of the Bahamas to the world, and as the government dismantles all the mechanisms and protocols that were put in place to protect its people from covid-19; the individual citizen of this country must now take personal steps to secure themselves and their loved ones from a pandemic who’s only just beginning. Lord, have mercy on your people.

47% of the Bahamian population have underlying health conditions that make our people vulnerable in fighting off covid-19. The Bahamas has limited access to accurate testing supplies. We, however, are blessed because of a small population spread over many islands which makes containment of covid-19 manageable. This is the country’s greatest asset that should be leveraged to our economic benefit.

The Minnis Administration has, however, chosen the path of folly to allow visitors enter into the Bahamas without first producing a negative covid-19 test . Instead, they need only fill out a form, wear a face mask, and have their temperature taken upon arrival. The Minister of Tourism, D’Aguilar, says it is too cumbersome for the visitor, while at the same time, requiring citizens (many of whom) are still stuck abroad, and cannot re-enter without, initially, obtaining a negative covid-19 negative test, and a fourteen-day quarantine. Only a government led by slaves behaves in this shameless fashion.

Dr. Duane Sands, the former Minister of Health, we now know, walked away from the chaotic Minnis cabinet in disgust. He was no longer prepared to be micromanaged by a lesser mortal whose management style made his position untenable, after the Prime Minister appointed the covid-19 team which fell under his direct responsibility. How humiliating for Dr. Sands. In the end, Dr. Sands’ resignation came at a convenient time for him to put distance between himself and Dr. Minnis.

If, after the 1st July opening of the economy without the rigid protocols in place that will keep the population safe from covid-19, we see by August a surge in numbers because we threw caution to the wind, there will be problems. The Minnis Administration is playing with fire, and, I fear will become the authors of their own destruction.