The Prime Minister delivered another drawn out speech that was focused heavily on vaccines, curfews and long overdue efforts to bolster a burdened healthcare system facing collapse. A comprehensive plan to address the recent surge in COVID-19 cases was again missing from the latest national address.
Bahamians will recall that the Attorney General advised the nation in October 2020 that a medical emergency bill was being drafted to replace the Emergency Orders. In February 2021, the AG stated that the final draft of the post-Emergency Orders Bill that will replace current COVID restrictions and create an advisory committee had been prepared. At that time, the AG said that the Bill which will create an advisory committee is set to be introduced.
The government has simply wasted 10 months to prepare for our nation’s transition from the Emergency Orders to public health legislation which allows us to coexist with the virus. It is shameful that the Competent Authority failed to acknowledge this in his address and it remains unclear when the Public Health Preparedness and Management Bill will become law.
The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) presented a comprehensive plan for coexisting with COVID last year. We implore the government to stop implementing the plan in installments but rather adopt the plan in its entirety in the interest of our nation. We note that the PM agrees with the DNA that individuals have a right to choose whether to take the vaccine or not. The government’s position that vaccines will not be mandatory cannot be undermined by rules which marginalize the unvaccinated nor endorse or allow employers' policies that makes it difficult for Bahamians to earn a living.
Democratic National Alliance