Prime Minister: YES OR NO? Minnis Must Say Whether He Supports PLP Proposal for Free Testing

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Hon. Philip Davis, Q.C., M.P.
Prime Minister
Commonwealth of The Bahamas

Case counts are low and stable in many Caribbean countries, but in The Bahamas, we’re nearing six thousand cases and still climbing. Our country has become a case study for how not to manage a public health crisis.

The Prime Minister seems to have run out of ideas or even interest. When reporters and the public have questions, he is nowhere to be found, sending out others to defend his failed policies.

It’s agonizing to see other countries put in place science-based policies to protect their citizens while here our doctors and nurses are under siege, Bahamians are locked up every weekend, and suffering from the economic fallout has become widespread.

We can’t keep failing – the costs are too high.

The PLP continues to call for a major shift in testing policy. We need widespread testing so we can find the virus, help people get treatment, trace their contacts, and break transmission chains.

The government must move quickly to knock down barriers to testing. We need more testing centres, we need to test frontline workers regularly, and we need to add antigen tests to our testing arsenal — these tests are not perfect, but they are inexpensive and quick and can help us identify cases when they’re most infectious.

Testing should be free, because your ability to protect yourself, your family and your co-workers from COVID shouldn’t depend on your income.

The Prime Minister must move quickly to adopt Free Testing – and if he won’t, he should explain why he believes that, as a deadly virus spreads, it is morally acceptable that a person’s wealth could determine their health.

We can predict with near certainty the same tired excuses the Prime Minister will likely utter in Parliament tomorrow. He’s going to point to other countries struggling with second or third waves of the virus. A strong leader would look to the successes, not the failures, and be determined to make sure our country was among them. It’s infuriating to see him signal defeat when so much is at stake. What kind of leader surrenders to a deadly threat?

The Bahamas can be a success story. The first step is to start testing enough to break transmission chains.

Bahamians want to do the right thing. Bahamians want to protect themselves and their families and their co-workers. Let’s make it easier to do so.