Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Govt Targets January 31, 2021 for Emergency Order Extension

The Senate is set to debate a resolution for the extension of the Emergency Order until January 31st.
On Wednesday, Attorney General Carl Bethel tabled the bill in the Senate, stating that the bill will be debated on Friday, which is one day after Prime Minister Hubert Minnis is set to address the House of Assembly regarding the extension of the emergency order.

Why it matters

  • Last night, Governor-General C.A Smith declared a third state of emergency, giving the competent authority the ability to extend the order for the next six months.
  • Last week, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced the intention of the government to extend the order to December 28th, which he was expected to be debated on Wednesday morning in the House of Assembly, but was postponed to Thursday morning.

What Attorney General Carl Bethel said

  • “I beg leave to give notice that at the next sitting of the honorable Senate, that we will adjoin to a fixed date, which is anticipated to be Friday, I will move the following resolution which I will read at this point, the first and second paragraphs and on the adjoin date, I will read the entire resolution.”
  • He continued:

Whereas, pursuant to article 29-1 of the Constitution, the government of the Bahamas will move a proclamation of emergency declaring that a state of public emergency declaring that a state of public emergency for the priveledges of that article, exist in the Bahamas.

  1. Now, therefore, be it resolve that this House approves the continuance of the Proclamation of Emergency made on the 24th day of November 2020 until the 31st day of January 2021.
  2. Affirms the continuance in effect of the emergency powers COVID pandemic, Risk Management Regulations 2020, made on the 24th day of November 2020 until the 31st day of January 2021.
  3. Affirms the continuance in effect of the emergency powers COVID pandemic, Risk Management Special Provisions order 2020, made on the 24th day of November 2020 until the 31st day of January 2021.

What the Proclamation signed by Governor-General C.A Smith says:

  • “…scientific and medical experts have advised that COVID-19 is likely to persist as a pandemic in many parts of the world, including the Bahamas, for the foreseeable future until a vaccine is available for wide public distribution.
  • “…I am satisfied that due to the presence of COVID-19 in The Bahamas and the expected continuance of the presence of COVID-19 in the Bahamas for the foreseeable future, a state of public emergency continues to exist in The Bahamas.”

What the Opposition said

Opposition Leader Philip Davis said, “The Progressive Liberal Party does not and will not support the new proclamation of emergency issued this evening by the governor-general.
“We will refuse to allow the matter to be debated tomorrow in the House and will not waive the notice requirement.
“The issue of the proclamation is an abuse of power. Civil liberties have been suspended long enough and we say the suspension must end and go no farther.”
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