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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Christmas Carnival Preparing to Open Nonetheless

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The Christmas Carnival will open regardless of the Ministry of Health’s decision for it to operate or not as health officials worry that COVID-19 cases could rise amidst threatening levels of the Omicron virus around the world.

Attorney Bjorn Ferguson, a lawyer for the company that operates the rides, spoke to the Nassau Guardian standing firm in the company’s decision to operate nonetheless.

Ferguson said the carnival was ready to open on Wednesday night.

As of late Wednesday night, the group was reported to be in a meeting with health officials and a conclusion had not yet been made on whether or not the company, McCafferty’s Enterprises Bahamas Limited, will be permitted to operate’ and its application approved.

“That body does not have the authority in law to shut a business down. That is our position. They exist to provide guidelines and issue protocols and approve protocols from various businesses and industries,” Ferguson said.

He said his clients were only in the meeting to await the ministry’s approval of its COVID 19 protocols and to add more guidelines to ensure a safe environment.

“We’re not going to open without protocols.”

“If they don’t respond to us, then the protocols that we have submitted we’re going to presume that they are sufficient to operate in this environment. We want their input. They’re the scientists.

“They have a statutory function and, so, we want their input and we want to remain compliant with the law. So, we resubmitted the protocol document as required and requested by law.

“We’re waiting for that document to be approved. If it’s not approved, then we’re waiting on guidelines to be issued or some protocols to be issued by the ministry,” Ferguson said.

The big story

The pandemic has threatened the opening of the Carnival which became an annual event for families. This year, it became controversial since government sought to open it while infections spread.

The Ministry of Health initially denied the application for its operation in the country, even though the owners were setting up for operation.

When faced with accusations by former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, Health and Wellness Minister Michael Darville denied granting the approval, while the Prime Minister Philip Davis has remained mum. The operators said they were given permission by Davis.

A letter tabled by Senator Maxine Seymour on Tuesday, purportedly showed that the Carnival company was granted access by the Ministry of Finance who granted the Progressive Liberal Party temporary approval to bring in “equipment, apparatus, trailers and supplies” for the event.

It remains to be seen whether or not the ministry will approve the operation of the event; and if not, how the Carnival company will respond.

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