Monday, June 5, 2023


Parliament Passes Extension of Emergency Order to November 13

The House of Assembly passed the resolution to extend the State of Emergency to November 13.

At 10 pm, House wrapped up debate on the extension of the Order, with all government members agreeing to the extension.

Opposition members including Leader Philip Davis, Deputy Leader Chester Cooper, and Golden Isles MP Vaughn Miller stood to oppose the extension.

What it means

The continuation of the Emergency Order means the competent authority has the jurisdiction to impose mask-wearing and social distancing measures with more restrictive measures like lockdowns and curfews.

The big picture

COVID-19 deaths and hospitalization cases continue to explode. Health officials reported 96 new cases for the country with a strong concentration of new infections in New Providence.

Health officials are also investigating two more deaths that are believed to be COVID-19 related.

On Friday past, a record high of 228 new confirmed cases were reported.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 16,011 cases were reported. 2584 cases remain active.

What’s next

The resolution will be moved to the Senate where it will be debated and passed.

Government Seeks to Extend Emergency Order One Final Time to Nov 13

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis tabled the new proposed extension of the Emergency Order for one final time to November 13.

The House of Assembly met for approximately half-hour to give notice of the new proposal.

Paliamentarians will meet again tomorrow to debate the resolution.

Speaking in a national address lastnight, Minnis promised it would be the last extension of the orders.

The Prime Minister said it was the intention of the government, that depending on the state of the pandemic, a move would be made toward ending the use of the Emergency Orders this month and to transition to a new legislative framework as more Bahamians were vaccinated.

Minnis said the surge in new cases, hospitalizations and deaths have caused the government to temporarily adjust plans to immediately save Bahamian lives and to protect the economy.

“My government has set a plan to further combat this wave and to transition the country to a new post-Emergency Orders regime after this deadly surge subsides,” said the Prime Minister.

“As a result of the arrival soon of new vaccine supplies, we will be able to begin the transition process away from the Emergency Orders.”

Minnis said this is only a draft of the bill and will be tabled for widespread public consultation.

“We seek the advice of the Official Opposition. We would like the input of the religious community, businesses, NGOs, labor unions, other organizations and individuals so we can make the legislation more representative before final passage and enactment.”

To help control and slow the spread of COVID-19, Minnis also announced new curfew hours for New Providence and Grand Bahama, from 9pm to 5am; and on mainland Exuma and mainland Abaco, from 10pm to 5am.

The big story

The Bahamas has been under the State of Emergency since March 2020. Since then, the government has extended the order as COVID-19 cases rose in the country.

Photo credit: The Nassau Guardian

Minnis Announces Curfew Changes As Country Reopens in ‘Several Months’

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced immediate changes to the Emergency Order during his long-anticipated speech in the House of Assembly today, as he expects the country to fully reopen in the coming months.

“Our aim, here in the Bahamas is to fully reopen our country in several months if various conditions are met and advised by health officials,” he said.

The curfew in New Providence has been adjusted–11 pm to 5 am. Dr Minnis said he anticipates that in the coming months, the curfew for New Providence will eventually move to midnight, “depending on the outcome.”

In addition, Dr Minnis announced new curfew changes for Grand Bahama, which will see its curfew adjustment from 11 pm to midnight until 5 am.

Dr Minnis then joked with one of his Cabinet  Ministers from Grand Bahama, “Michael Pintard, Minister of Agriculture, I know that you would like to go out partying. And if GrandBahama stays as is, once you’re out partying, by one o’clock you will be home, so we will move Grand Bahama to one o’clock.”

In Abaco, the adjusted curfew is 11 pm to 5 am. The curfew for Cat Island and North and Central Andros is now 10 pm to 5 am.

Dr Minnis also announced the removal of curfews for the Berry Islands, South Andros and Mangrove Cay.

“…enjoy yourself, but still adhere to the protocols,” he said to the residents on islands, where curfews were lifted.

Dr Minnis also announced the immediate removal of PCR testing to travel from Grand Bahama, Cat Island and Andros.

As of July 1st, vaccinated individuals will no longer need to pay the $10 fee to acquire a health visa.

Funerals and memorial services in New Providence are now permitted to be held in a church facility in accordance with the guidelines of the Bahamas Christian Council. However, repass remain prohibited.

As for weddings, Dr Minnis said the host has to ensure that everyone in attendance is vaccinated. Private gatherings and social events are allowed as long as all attendees are vaccinated, he said.

A group of fifteen people can now attend beaches in New Providence, Paradise Island, Grand Bahama, mainland Abaco, Eleuthera, Harbour Island and Great and Little Exuma.

The number of people permitted to gather on beaches once stood at 5 people.

The big picture

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of last year, Dr Minnis as the competent authority, implemented a national curfew of 9 pm and 5 am, advising the public that it would prevent the further spread of the virus. It was eventually changed to 10 pm for various islands.

Curfews on some islands like Andros, Acklins, Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Crooked Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Grand Bahama, Inagua, and Mayaguana were discontinued and commercial and most social activities were permitted in September.

However, the rise and fall of COVID-19 cases again forced the shutdown and adjustments of curfews on some specified islands.


Govt Seeks Extension of Emergency Order for Another Three Months

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis tabled a resolution of the Emergency Order in the House of Assembly today, seeking an extension to August 13.

But he expressed hope that the extra three months may not be all necessary.

Why it matters

The Emergency Order was due to end May 23, but on Friday, Governor General C.A. Smith issued another proclamation for a state of emergency.

This means the competent authority has another six months to execute his emergency powers.

What Minnis says

“It is our hope that we would not need the three months.

“It is our hope that with vaccinations aggressively and progressively moving throughout the world and continuing in the Bahamas, and with the cooperation with our populace following the mitigation protocols for the pandemic, that we would see a turn.

“Once that commences, we would love to remove all emergency power orders so that individuals can turn back to their normal life following the new protocols and world standards as quickly as possible.

“Once we see the turn, we would be more than happy to remove the emergency order,” Minnis said.


Abaco to See Tightening of Curfew as COVID-19 Infections Climb

The restrictions in Abaco will be tightened to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 on that island.

According to Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, health officials recommend that the curfew for that island be readjusted from 8 pm to 5 am.

Minnis said there is “no outbreak” on the island but the restrictions are to curtail infections.

State of play

It was discovered that –

  • a few cases of COVID-19 were found at the Murphy Town Primary School in Central Abaco;
  • four (4) positive cases originated from a construction site; and
  • six (6) cases were confirmed to have originated from the Marsh Harbour Clinic.

Currently, no cases were reported in Sandy Point, and eleven tests are pending.

Contact tracing activities are ongoing, and the relevant staff will be placed in quarantine or isolation as required.

Consequently, the Marsh Harbour Clinic has undergone deep cleaning and sanitization and the Marsh Harbour Clinic remains open for service.

A team from the Surveillance Unit in New Providence has been dispatched to initiate contact tracing and to determine the level of exposure to the employees of the clinic and visiting clients.

Three nurses have been sent as support staff to the Marsh Harbour Clinic and two more nurses are expected to arrive soon. As it stands, there is a sufficient number of physicians on the island to manage the COVID-19 cases.

Most House Members Vote for Emergency Order Extension to May 23

The majority of the members in the House of Assembly voted in favor of the continuation of the Emergency Order to May 23.

Members wrapped up the debate at 10:45 on Wednesday night to debate the extension.

Seventeen members voted ‘yes,’ to the extension, seven voted ‘no’ and fourteen members were absent for the vote.

Why it matters

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis on Monday presented a resolution to extend the state of emergency in the country as the pandemic is still ongoing and continues to challenge the country’s health facilities.

He acknowledges, however, that the COVID-19 numbers are now low compared to recent times when double digits were recorded.

The big picture

Countries around the world are fighting variants of the disease and health officials are trying to secure vaccines to combat the virus. The Bahamas has not accessed the vaccine but has secured them for 20 percent of the population for when they become available.

PM Minnis’ Case for Emergency Order Extension

“Let me be very clear with this point: The pandemic is not over. Though there is light on the horizon, because vaccines are slowly starting to reach more countries, we still have a long way to go before we get back to normal. The Bahamas has had many months of low COVID-19 numbers. Our health guidelines are working; the emergency measures are working, and the Bahamian people are complying with the rules.

“With new strains circulating, it is quite possible for us to have additional waves before our population is vaccinated. We cannot, under any circumstances, let our guard down. The more we abide by the measures, the more we prevent a greater resurgence of the virus. We cannot become complacent and think the pandemic is over just because we have had a few good months.

Parliamentarians voting against the resolution

  • Opposition members–Philip Davis, Chester Cooper, Glennys Hanna-Martin, Picewell Forbes, and Vaughn Miller
  • Former Minister of Health Duane Sands
  • Independent MP for Centerville Reece Chipman

Worth noting

The Senate will now vote on the extension.

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)

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.”

Partiers Ignore COVID-19 Measures. They are Slapped with Fines

The proprietor, manager and patrons of a restaurant and bar were cited for violating COVID-19 Emergency Order.

A video circulated on social media, showing scores of patrons hurriedly exiting the establishment as police officers inspected and issued tickets.

What is known

  • Shortly after 6:00 pm, officers from the Northeastern Division and COVID-19 Enforcement Unit were alerted to a social gathering at a lounge located on Madeira Street, Palmdale.
  • It was discovered that the patrons and proprietor were in violation of the COVID19 Emergency Order.
  • The proprietor and the manager of the establishment were cited for hosting a social gathering and failing to practice social distancing.
  • A number of the patrons were also cited for attending the party and failing to practice social distancing and wear a mask.
Police citing attendees and managers at the social gathering.

What’s Going on in the Bahamas and Why People Oppose Intended Continuation of Order

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis proposes an extension of the emergency order to November 30th.

He announced the possible extension in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, which will be debated at the next sitting of the House.

Why is it still necessary?

The order has been extended numerous times since its implementation in March. And since then, COVID-19 cases have risen exponentially in the country.

Grand Bahama and Bimini have seen cases lowered as a result of the order, but New Providence and Abaco have seen a surge.

Presently, there are nearly 6000 cases in the country, of which, over 2,000 are active, the majority in New Providence.

There are 124 total COVID-19 deaths.

Health Minister Renward Wells said for the past 30 days, the country has averaged 1.5 COVID-19 deaths each day.

The emergency order has allowed government to place stricter measures on New Providence and Abaco since October 9, with the resumption of a daily curfew of 7pm to 5am and a two-week 24-hour weekend curfew beginning Fridays at 7pm and ending Mondays at 5am.

The PLP and some people oppose the continuation of the Order

PLP Leader Philip Davis said his party will not throw its support behind the government as it “control[s] the lives of Bahamians.”

He calls it “proclamation fatigue.”

Davis believes Dr Minnis “is trying the same old methods, as “the numbers keep going up in deaths and infections.”

“The Prime Minister does the same old things.

“The Bahamas has recorded more COVID-19 positive cases in the past few days than Barbados has recorded since the pandemic began in March of this year.

“We must change course,” Davis said.

Some people have taken to social media to voice frustration with the intended Order extension.

One frustrated social media user said, “Every time I look, this man want an extension. We will soon have to run away from this country and seek asylum somewhere else.”

Finnel Williams addressed Minnis, “You had 7 months. Why are you still repaating the same speech you did in March.”

Princess Bethel said the country should simply adjust and “live with” the virus.”

She said, “If the Bahamas leaders don’t learn to live with COVID, we gonna be in trouble, cause we’ll be lockdown forever.”

However, some people like Ozzie Poitier supports the move saying other counties have had to implement strict measures as the virus surges. He tells fellow users, “It’s clear yall ain’t see what’s going on in other countries and what their leaders are doing.”