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20 May 2021

The sudden imposition of restricted movement and the elimination of social gatherings amount to house arrest. Dr. Hubert Minnis, the Competent Authority, is seeking to be clever by half by avoiding the word ‘lockdown’ while imposing a lockdown without notice.

Seventeen months into this pandemic and the self appointed sole Competent Authority has learned nothing. All indications from his public comments were that he was loosening restrictions and gradually opening up the country and its economy. This sudden shift in policy resulting in this imposition has left the domestic economy reeling. The investment in inventory and additional manpower was avoidable as the third wave of COVID-19 infections was gradual and telegraphed its way into the current crisis level in The Bahamas.

The Competent Authority had sufficient time to formulate a strategic plan to effectively deal with the impending third wave. 

He did nothing.

The PLP warned him and his government of a third wave literally months ago, but he was dismissive of this fair warning.

If one did not know any better, he or she could have easily assumed that this crisis was new and sudden. Not so. The Competent Authority was dealing with this pandemic for seventeen months. There was no capacity building of the healthcare infrastructure over the past seventeen months. The Health Minister told the media he is still considering the re-engagement of retired health care workers due to a severe shortage.

Construction on three clinics in Cat Island and San Salvador were suspended indefinitely. Much of the funds the government disbursed to SME’s as part of the government’s economic recovery plan may not realize the intended stimulus.

A more aggressive free COVID-19 testing regime with early detection and isolation could have mitigated a third wave. 

Greater emphasis on public education, greater transparency, accountability and ventilation could have also assisted in mitigating a third wave and moved the country closer to herd immunity. The government’s mishandling of this pandemic has made herd immunity unobtainable by design.

Perhaps, spending the people’s money without accountability and transparency was a more important priority than protecting the health, welfare and safety of Bahamians.