We have entered another month of 24 hour curfews and lockdowns.
Let me begin by saluting all essential workers in the healthcare, pharmaceutical, banking, security, uniformed branches, retail and other sectors for their selfless service. A grateful nation and people appreciate all you do and the sacrifice you make daily. Know that we continue to pray for you.
I was glad to hear that almost all of the 200 health professionals exposed to COVID-19 tested negative for the virus. Our thoughts and well wishes are with the one healthcare worker who recently tested positive, others who have contracted this virus and mourning the loss of loved ones.
The recent news report that two Non-Bahamians were allowed entry into The Bahamas recently while the Emergency Order remains in force is troubling. What is even more disturbing is that this seems to have been a quid quo pro; in this case a donation of medical supplies was the payment for violation of existing laws and regulations. All of this while Bahamians have been refused entry into their own country and our people are suffering away from their families and loved ones.
Before commenting on this issue, I waited to hear the Minister of Health’s response to the allegations and the questions from the media on behalf of the Bahamian people. Sadly, the Minister’s responses were more damning and further dug him into a deeper hole. The actions of the Minister and the Government are simply wrong and unacceptable. It is unacceptable to deny entry to Bahamians, require them to prove they are stuck in the US, require them to get tested before boarding a flight, require them to be confined to a quarantine facility guarded by Defence Force officers and threaten them with fines or imprisonment for violations. The government still does not know when Bahamians will be able to return home. On the other hand, Non-Bahamians only needed a private jet with donations onboard to enter The Bahamas and self isolate in their own homes. This is fundamentally wrong.
Bahamians should come first in The Bahamas; Period! This is not for debate and not for negotiation. We have seen successive administrations treat our people like second class citizens for years. That must stop immediately. We call on the government to bring our people home immediately and treat them with dignity and respect during this process.
As for the Minister involved in this scandal and the Government officials complicit in the same, I cry shame on them. I would have called on the Prime Minister to investigate this matter and address this injustice. However, his record and history in this regard speaks for itself and he is found wanting.
Our people have suffered much under an oppressive system designed to suppress the Bahamian people. A system under which what is good for the goose is not good for the gander; a system that keeps our people down and in bondage. Like the Lord said to Pharaoh through Moses, I say to the representation of Pharaoh in our Bahamaland today: It is time to let our people go.
My people, the Lord is our helper, keeper and deliverer. He will bring us out of this crisis and will restore us in due season. In the meantime, stay safe and well. God bless you and God bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
Arinthia S. Komolafe
Democratic National Alliance