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The following statement was issued by Senator Fred Mitchell, Chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party in the face of a decision on 31 March 2021 to impose the requirement of a PCR covid test on travelers to and from Eleuthera to other parts of The Bahamas:

9th April 2021

After the long Easter holiday weekend, many Harbour Island and Eleuthera residents and loved ones remain stuck at or away from home because of a sudden, inconsiderate, inconvenient, and heartless decision made by Prime Minister Minnis and the FNM.

Without notice, Dr. Minnis and the FNM announced last week that starting 1st April, 2021, anyone over the age of 10 years travelling from Harbour Island and Eleuthera must undergo a RT-PCR COVID-19 test in order to obtain a travel health visa.

This serves as further evidence of how detached Dr. Minnis and the FNM are from the state of Bahamians. Such a decision has challenged already cash strapped Bahamians with an added unbudgeted expense and an unexpected travelling interruption.

Those in Eleuthera note that at the time of the announcement, testing facilities were not readily available and the software to accommodate proof of the proper testing was not updated.

While a significant number of persons were forced not to travel to or from Harbour Island and Eleuthera because of Dr. Minnis’ abrupt decision making, those who made it out of Harbour Island and Eleuthera this past weekend are still receiving messages and having their health visa compliance challenged by the authority.

The PLP has consistently argued that in this pandemic, there is a balance to be struck between life and livelihood. There should have been appropriate notice and testing should have been provided free of charge by the Government. It is clear that Dr. Minnis and the FNM do not care about the people of Harbour Island, Eleuthera, and the wider Bahamas. Domestic and international travel have been impacted and Dr. Minnis and the FNM could care less about the pain, suffering, and setbacks caused by their inept leadership. Bahamians and Eleutherans in particular are now questioning who is benefitting from the high price tag on the testing exercise.

What is worse, is that the Leader of the Opposition spoke directly to the Prime Minister about the dislocations this abrupt decision would cause but the Government went ahead any way.

The situation is exacerbated by long lines for COVID-19 testing and an inadequate government health clinic in Rock Sound that lacks the capacity to address these health concerns.

In these extraordinarily tough times, Bahamians need a caring and competent government acting in their best interest. Harbour Island and Eleuthera have two sitting FNM members of parliament and not one could find the care or courage to take on the dictatorship leadership of Dr. Minnis and ease the struggles of their constituents.

Dr. Minnis and the FNM have failed the Bahamian people miserably.

They must go.