In response to FNM Chairman on privacy issues

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Statement by Senator Dr. Michael Darville and Dr. Melissa Evans
Co-Chairs of the PLP COVID-19 Task Force


13 April 2020

The PLP’s COVID-19 Task Force recently suggested that the government intensifies its surveillance and monitoring of confirmed COVID-19 cases recovering at home as an additional measure to contain the spread of the virus.

Notwithstanding the repeated message from the Prime Minister that these drastic measures and restrictions on personal freedoms are intended to save lives, the FNM Chairman is saying that this additional surveillance and tracking measure amounts to an invasion of personal privacy.

The Prime Minister and his party do not appear to be on the same page.

Further, the Spy Bill, passed into law by this same administration, allows for the invasion of privacy in the national security and public safety interests of The Bahamas. It then stands to reason that when the lives of Bahamians are at stake, the additional measure is justified. This is the fundamental basis of the entire argument of the government that has the entire country under 24-hour curfew and lockdown. According to the Prime Minister, the primary objective is to save lives.

The FNM cannot approbate and reprobate all at the same time. This duplicity demonstrates mixed priorities and unfocused leadership.

The Prime Minister must unequivocally say what measures are being taken by the government to ensure the compliance of those COVID-19 confirmed persons who are being self-quarantined to ensure the protection of their health and the health of other persons living at the same premises.

I further note that similar surveillance and tracking measures as proposed by the PLP COVID-19 Task Force are being effectively executed in other affected countries including South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, China, and United Kingdom, with positive results. Both Canada and the United States are preparing significant technology roll out to play a critical role in contact tracing. Additionally, Google and Apple are announcing a joint effort to enable the use of Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of the virus, with user privacy and security central to the design.

The PLP remains steadfast in its commitment to protecting the health and safety of our people during this pandemic and to that end, we will continue to provide evidence-based proactive and constructive engagement on this issue.