Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Eleutherans Cancelled March Against Restrictive Measures. Here’s Why

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Eleuthera’s march against the COVID-19 restrictive measures was scheduled for today at 5 pm, but it is no more. However, coordinators Demetrius Johnson and Dwight Pinder have in no way thrown in the towel as they fight what they believe is “unfair and unrealistic” measures.

CSJ Report spoke to Johnson today who said he understands health officials concern that cases are rising on the island, but he said the government must balance health and economy, as many people in Eleuthera are “hurting.” He believes that the country should learn to coexist with the virus without locking down.

Why it matters

  • Eleuthera has a total of 127 COVID-19 cases, which is the fourth-highest for the country. Prime Minister Hubert Minnis has since imposed a 24-hour weekend lockdown and weekday 6 pm to 5 am curfew for the island to curb the spread of the infectious disease.
  • Ports of entry have also been closed for that island due to the emergency order.
  • Ten people are restricted at funerals and weddings, while indoor church services are prohibited.
  • The new measures do not include Spanish Wells and Harbour Island.

Why ‘I March for Eleuthera’ Cancelled

  • Demetrius Johnson said demonstrators of the march scheduled for 5 pm today did not have a permit to assemble. Johnson said he and Pinder met with two superintendents of Royal Bahamas Police Force, who told them that they needed a permit from the Commissioner of Police to assemble and told that the march would contravene the emergency order.
  • Johnson said the intended objective was to meet for “only a 30 to 45-minute presentation.”
  • He promises the march will resume once the permit is granted.

What’s the solution?

  • Johnson disagrees with the government’s 6 pm curfew as islanders have little time to grocery shop and get home after leaving work at 5 pm. He recommends and 8 pm or 9 pm curfew instead.
  • He further calls for the government to remove the 24 hour-weekend lockdowns so that residents can still work. The 24-hour weekend lockdown will come into effect on Friday.
  • Impose the same restrictions in Spanish Wells and Harbour land, where cases are present.
  • Give a more logical approach to dealing with the virus and qualify how people are getting sick. He said “people are not hanging out at night.”
  • He wants South Eleuthera MP Hank Johnson to support his community and hopes he will present the concerns to the prime minister.

North Eleuthera MP Ricky Mackey agrees with new measures

North Eleuthera’s MP Ricky Mackey agrees that the measures are a difficult but necessary decision for the well being of every resident on the island. He added that the restrictions will reduce the number of cases so that tourists can continually visit the island.

“We too often do not do the things that are required to mitigate the further spread. I know it is uncomfortable, but we have to continue to wear masks. We have to continue to social distance. We take it too lightly.

“If we think the decisions are too harsh, callous, and not in the best interest of us individually, let’s think about the entire island, the constituency as a whole, and our community as a whole.”

The big picture

While cases are trending upward in Eleuthera, health officials are relieved that cases in New Providence, Abaco, and Grand Bahama are decreasing. Since March, there have been 5,308 cases in New Providence,  817 on Grand Bahama, and 180 on Abaco.

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