Last week, we reported in this space that Hubert Minnis, the Prime Minister, forgot to tell his Ministry of Foreign Affairs and his Ministry of Tourism that he was about to lock down the country. That meant that the U S Government who leads our closest neighbour and our biggest trading partner was unaware that there was going to be a ban on U S commercial airlines coming to The Bahamas. U S diplomats reportedly went scrambling to the Foreign Ministry to point out the folly of the position of The Bahamas. There is an air services agreement between The Bahamas and the U S signed last year which guarantees open skies. It is reciprocal. That means their airlines can fly here and ours can fly there. If we ban theirs then they can ban ours. Uh oh, some forgot to tell that dolt who leads us. By week’s end the Government had climbed down and Attorney General Carl Bethel had to take the fall as usual. Here is the Government’s statement:
For Immediate Release
24 July 2020
The provisions governing the admission of foreign visitors to The Bahamas were changed in order to create a uniform standard of treatment for all visitors to The Bahamas during this pandemic emergency. The creation of a uniform framework means that there is no longer any need to create any list of countries from which The Bahamas would accept commercial flights; which list thereby excluded other countries. Further it eliminates the need to continuously add or delete countries, as their circumstances might change.
Importantly, it allows for the protection of the Bahamian people from the possible dangers or travel-related contagion in a manner which is consistent with our Treaty obligations, and also with the provisions of the Chicago Convention, which regulates international Air Transport.