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Responding To The Announcement Extending The State Of Emergency

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Hon. Philip Brave Davis, Q.C, M.P.
Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador
Leader of The Opposition & Progressive Liberal Party

The PLP will not support another extension of the Emergency Proclamation to extend the sole competent authority’s power to control the lives of the Bahamian people until 30 November 2020. The PLP will not do it.

The country has proclamation fatigue.

The Prime Minister is trying the same old methods, the numbers keep going up in deaths and infections, yet the Prime Minister does the same old things.

The Bahamas has recorded more COVID-19 positive cases in the past few days than Barbados has recorded since the pandemic began in March of this year. 

We must change course.

What will it take for this Prime Minister to understand that a lockdown is not a plan? Yet again, he has revealed no plan.

He employs the same failed strategy.

I repeat my party’s ten point plan.

Free testing for all. This is critical because a significant amount of the community spread cases are from persons who are asymptomatic so there must be an incentive for persons to get tested. Testing those who show symptoms is too late.

Contact trace and test all those who have come into contact with a COVID-19 positive case. It is important that our capacity in contact tracing allows for contact within twenty-four hours of COVID-19 exposure.

Isolate those who test positive for COVID-19.

Protect

Educate

Ventilate

Build trust

Track and support recoveries

Provide economic support.

I released a statement last evening where I reiterated and renewed our call for free testing.

It is important to note that 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.