I. Chester Cooper
M.P., The Exumas & Ragged Island
PLP Deputy Leader, Shadow Minister of Finance
While we have long held the view that the Minnis administration is inept and unfit for governance, we did not think it would have overseen what appears to be the unraveling of the legislative branch of our democracy.
Today, the speaker of our House of Assembly abruptly ended the business of the people in the House, reportedly because the prime minister and the member for Bamboo Town saw fit to conduct the business of the House in violation of the agreed protocols after a staff member of the House was infected with COVID-19.
The House should not have met in that manner today.
And it was yet another embarrassing episode of a lost Minnis administration having no grasp as to how to do things in an orderly manner.
It is disgraceful that any speaker in an independent Bahamas in the middle of a pandemic has to bow and scrape to the executive in order to facilitate testing for staff and sanitization of the House.
We have long called for free and widespread testing and better contact tracing.
The government has so bungled the pandemic response that it can now hardly provide free testing for exposed staff at the House of Assembly.
The prime minister and the Minnis administration continue to flout the emergency order with large-scale campaigning even though COVID cases continue to rise dramatically.
The prime minister and the leader of government business’ clear violation of social distancing protocols and calling an exposed staff member who should be in isolation into work was reckless, thoughtless and yet another example of one set of rules for the people and another set of rules for themselves.
We cannot effectively conduct legislative business amid this unhealthy discourse of “war” between the prime minister and the speaker of the House because of what appear to be political differences after the speaker left the FNM.
At the end of the day, the prime minister has to accept responsibility for this situation.
It is of his own making.
And he is to be condemned for it.