Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Parliamentarians to Debate May 23 Emergency Order Extension as Country Awaits Vaccine

Parliamentarians will debate the continuation of the Emergency Order when they return to the House of Assembly on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis sought to extend the COVID-19 Emergency Order to May 23, as he presented a resolution to parliamentarians when they returned to the House of Assembly for the new year on Monday.

The big picture

The emergency order was extended three times since the onset of the coronavirus. In November of 2020, parliamentarians voted and passed the resolution to again extend the public state of emergency to January 31, 2021.

Now that this order is near expiration, and the pandemic rages on around the world, Minnis is seeking the order’s extension once again.

Why it matters

The Bahamas has seen the number of COVID-19 cases lowered, over recent months, officials fear that cases could rise as people become relaxed.

The country still has not accessed the COVID-19 vaccines but it is expected to be available in the first quarter of the year, which will guarantee a safer return to normalcy and a full reopening of the country.

What PM Minnis, as the competent authority, says

In defense of the extension to May 23, Minnis said if the Bahamian people become too relaxed, the country may lose control in the handling of the infectious disease.

“… yes we are doing well, however, we are letting our guards down, which could have devastating effects on our country moving forward as we look around and see the number of funerals in violation of the order,” Dr. Minnis said.

“There are a number of memorials in violation of the order and even Junkanoo groups engaging in rush outs in violation of the order. I want to remind the public that we should all be vigilant because it only takes one individual to become infected and the virus can have catastrophic and devastating effects on our society placing us in a similar position as seen in the north.

“I recognize how individuals feel especially about their loved ones and want to participate in funeral activities and I recognize that in many instances this may sadden families and hurt families, but I want to remind individuals that I myself experienced this when my brother had passed away during Hurricane Dorian and though both myself and my family were grieving and hurt, we kept that internally because we felt that the country came first.”

Minnis acknowledged the pain that many would have experienced because of the lockdowns and curfews, but he said they were not intentional as his objective is to save lives and the country.

Parliamentarians attended the Annual Parliamentary Church Service, Monday morning, after meeting in the House of Assembly. Prime Minister Hubert Minnis is pictured centre, following his presentation of a resolution to extend the emergency order.  (BIS Photos/Ulric Woodside)

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