Statement by Senator Dr. Michael Darville, Opposition spokesman on health

For Immediate Release
8 June 2021
Within the past few days it has become difficult for Bahamians to determine which FNM to believe on COVID vaccinations. FNM Health Minister, Renward Wells, says we need 120 thousand residents vaccinated to establish herd immunity while former FNM Health Minister and sitting MP, Dr. Duane Sands, notes we need double that amount. Prime Minister Minnis continues to side with his trusted political partner, Renward Wells.

This pattern of confusing communications and poor management by this government has been evident since the start of the pandemic. The lack of transparency and the apparent inability or willingness to level with the Bahamian people on important matters regarding their health is causing a growing level of apathy and disconnect throughout the country. Minister Wells’ communications regarding the failure of more than half of visitors complying with the government mandated rapid antigen tests after 5 days in country and his hesitancy to confirm the fact that we are in a third wave of COVID 19 are but a few examples of this.
With a poor track record on decision making when it comes to managing this pandemic, Dr. Minnis and the FNM have only themselves to blame for the decline in the numbers of persons coming forward to be vaccinated.

The PLP stands firmly in support of the vaccination of our population against COVID 19 and we recognize the vital importance of reaching herd immunity as a pathway for us to return to some sense of normalcy and begin the hard work of rebuilding our economy.
We note with some concern however that there has been a decline in residents taking the vaccine and this high level of hesitancy throughout the country reflects in part, a trust issue.   
In the face of constant efforts by the PLP to join forces with the government to help tackle the coronavirus challenges, Dr. Minnis, in typical dictator-like fashion, says he "don't listen to Brave" (PLP Leader, Hon. Philip Brave Davis). Dr. Minnis must now tell us which FNM the country and the world should listen to on vaccinations.
While uncertainty looms, related to the possibility of future waves of the virus and stronger variants  threaten the opening of our boarders, we call on this FNM government not to confuse the Bahamian people and our international partners with multiple and conflicting messages.  
We in the Progressive Liberal Party believe the way forward is to provide free PCR and antigen testing for all Bahamians along with an aggressive public education program that would encourage Bahamians to get vaccinated.
In these most challenging times, we need a more caring, consistent, and competent government willing to put the lives of Bahamians over the desperation to stay in power.  
Dr. Minnis and the FNM have lost their way and the trust of the Bahamian people.  
They must go.