For Immediate Release
27 September 2020
I take issue with the Attorney General's printed remarks from the Senate meeting which took place on Thursday, 24 September 2020. The Attorney General was castigating the MPs who voted against the extension of the proclamation of emergency to 31 October 2020.
Let me make it clear: all PLP MPs and Senators voted against the extension. The Government failed to make a case for the extension. They argued they were driven by the science but the science does not support their case.
Additionally, the PLP maintains that the powers of the Competent Authority should never have been vested in one man and we all know that lockdowns are unsustainable. This resulted in the Competent Authority's apparent abuse of power for political gain. This abuse includes his refusal to be transparent and accountable to parlariment and the Bahamain people concerning key aspects of this COVID-19 pandemic. He also restricted the movement of the Opposition while he traveled the country freely to campaign.
The Competent Authority's failure to act swifty in preparing the healthcare system for the surge in COVID-19 cases resulted in the highest death count of COVID19 in the region and the unnecessary exposure of healthcare workers in the clinics and hospitals.
In addition, international partners could have provided support for nursing and medical care and provided a 1,000 bed field hospital. The FNM has not done anything to improve the health care system that is currently under severe strain with our people frightened to go to the hospitals, seeing them as places of death as opposed to life.
The Competent Authority's failure to act on medical advice and allowed Bahamains to travel into hot spots without proof of a negative COVID-19 test or quarintine on rentry into the country is principally responsible for the health and economic dilemma we find ourselves in today.
We feel that these abuses of the Emergency Order by the Competent Authority coupled with poor decision making must stop immediately and if existing laws in the Quarintine and Public Health Acts are not appropiate or sufficient to manage the current public health crises, then appropriate legislation should be drafted in consultation with the Opposition to address these specific issues without these sweeping powers that impose on our civil liberties and challenge the democratic process.
We also note that the Prime Minister patted himself on the back and claimed success and progress in the House on Wednesday, 23 September, but amid these claims of success and despite the proclamations of curfews and lockdowns, the situation is growing worse. Both deaths and infections are rising, not falling and the positivity rate remains at twenty percent so clearly the proclamations and lockdowns are not working. His claims of success are at odds with the facts on the ground and the statistics contained in the government's published dashboard.
Add to that the extraordinary statement by the Prime Minister in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 23 September 2020. While making a case for the debate, he said the curfew in Abaco would be until
10pm but if we want to stay out until midnight, we must enjoy ourselves because "nobody cares".
The PLP says again that the public education on protective measures to save ourselves could be dramatically increased. That is why the PLP has its own campaign called "save yourself, protect yourself".
In summary, the PLP voted no because the Government failed to establish a compelling case for suspending our civil liberties while also failing us on the economic plans.
The Attorney General can only be entertaining us with his phony outrage over the PLP's position. "No" is a two letter English word which is easy to understand. After failing to make the Government's case, I ask the Attorney General what part of "no" don't you understand?