On Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations, 2020

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Statement by Hon. Philip Brave Davis, Q.C., M.P.,
Leader of The Opposition

18 March 2920

The Opposition cautions the government to exercise with caution, due care and attention, the powers which it has arrogated into itself during this special health emergency.

Our party intends to watch and monitor carefully the exercise of these extraordinary powers to be sure that these powers are used for the benefit of the Bahamian people.

I however note that to date, there has been no reported case of non-compliance by Bahamians to any guideline and public service announcement issued by the government on COVID-19. We commend them for their continued cooperation.

In light of this, the Opposition cautions the government not to overreach on our civil liberties. Further, I call on them to seriously consider the three key components of testing, effective medication and containment as they work to identify patient zero through this proclamation.   

An aggressive random testing regime coupled with a strategy of targeted containment has proven to be an effective preventative measure as evidenced by a relatively low viral transmission rate in countries like Singapore and South Korea.   

To facilitate the eradication COVID-19, the government should strongly consider accessing the retroviral drug Interferon A-B2 through the government of the Republic of Cuba. I advise that The Bahamas government access Interferon A-B2 through the regional bloc of CARICOM as part of our successful program of functional cooperation on health, national emergencies and disaster management. There are also economies of scale that can be exploited or realized through this procurement process.
I raise these critical issues to underscore the need for all of us to be prepared and to leave no stone unturned in this national fight.

Bahamians are encouraged to continue their cooperation with official directives and guidelines so that together we can put this existential threat behind us in the shortest possible time and return to a life of normalcy.