26th March 2020
It was reported in the media recently that the persons prosecuted by the state for violating the Emergency Powers Orders (EPO) in the wake of the novel Coronavirus COVID-19 were homeless.
It appears that the government has used this policy issue as an opportunity to target the poorest and most vulnerable of our society. So again, we ask, whose time is it? We have reached a new low in our judicial system under the current Minnis administration where we see homeless people arraigned before the courts for violating the curfew hours.
It is heartbreaking to know that these young men were hit with severe fines and jail time for circumstances beyond their control. The policy issue we raise is that the Government never established designated centres to house the homeless during this pandemic. Instead, the homeless have become victims of this heartless and insensitive government. The homeless are human beings that are now being reduced to media spectacles despite the fact that they lack the resources to afford disinfectant products, soaps and proper housing to protect themselves from this deadly virus.
The Progressive Young Liberals therefore call on the government to rethink its position on this matter and practice the message of compassion and brotherly love that the Prime Minister keeps preaching throughout this crisis.
The homeless have a right to be protected and not victimized in these uncertain times. We are asking the government to reconsider this course of action and to be more lenient with the less fortunate. We are also petitioning the government for temporary housing facilities to ensure in these drastic times that everyone has a clean place to lay their heads and practice good hygiene.
We encourage all Bahamians and residents to stand with us as we hold our government accountable during this dark time.