Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Ingraham’s Endorsement Did Little to Save Sands

FNM Elizabeth MP Duane Sands did not survive at the voting polls. Instead, PLP Jobeth Coleby-Davis beat him to become the new parliamentarian for the Elizabeth constituency.

Sands expected a win at the polls. He seemed to have a good repertoire with his constituents and touted his list of accomplishments in the area.

Poll numbers showed that he and Coleby-Davis were running a close race but it was not enough for Sands to win.

Why it matters

Sands was endorsed by former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham in the weeks leading up to the election. Ingraham showed up in the Elizabeth constituency to publicly express support for Sands, whom he called “a great man,” even expressing hope that Sands would become prime minister.

Ingraham did not endorse Minnis during this election cycle, as he had done in 2017.

Sands’ loss a the polls means he would not have the opportunity to run against Minnis for party leader when the FNM holds convention.

The big picture

In 2017, Sands won the Elizabeth constituency, doubling the votes to beat the PLP candidate.

Sands was a former minister of health but resigned last year amid controversy over donated 2,500 COVID-19 test swabs, when the donors were allowed to disembark on New Providence and quarantine at home while the country’s borders were closed.

Ingraham was hoping that Sands would have been re-elected to the House and eventually become prime minister, which he likened to his experience.

Ingraham Endorses Sands in Elizabeth and as Prime Minister

Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham reemerged, this time to endorse Elizabeth MP Duane Sands.

Ingraham appeared in the Elizabeth constituency saying he hopes Sands wins his seat in the upcoming election and possibly becomes prime minister of the Bahamas.

Ingraham said Sands is “a good man.”

A delighted Sands said he was humbled by Ingraham’s endorsement.

Ingraham has not publicly endorsed Prime Minister Hubert Minnis but questioned Minnis’ decision to hold an early election amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In recent weeks, Ingraham and former Prime Minister Perry Christie spoke to the media about the elections after viewing the body of former Governor-General Arthur Hanna.

Both men who seemed to have become ‘best friends’, are not often seen in public, and are often hounded by the media for comments on public discourse when they do appear, differ with Minnis’s decision to hold elections now.

Today, Ingraham rehashed his disapproval.

“There is nothing that can I can say that can explain that better than reality. In the middle of this pandemic, we are having an election, that speaks for itself.”

The relationship between Ingraham and Minnis was believed to have soured after Minnis said in 2017 that “the Ingraham era is over.” The men are not known to have a relationship.

Sands Gets 3rd Vaccine Shot for Stronger Immune Response Against COVID-19

Former Minister of Health Duane Sands received a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine after he got two shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Sands revealed his decision to mix and match vaccines during his presentation in the House of Assembly as he made his case for COVID-19 vaccines as infections surge in the country.

It is not known the time frame in which Sands received the booster shot of Pfizer but he said it became necessary as a doctor working with COVID-19 patients.

“I like many other people are fully vaccinated. But because I happen to spend so much time in the belly of the beast…I have gone a little bit further. So I have received two AstraZeneca shots and one Pfizer shot.”

Sands said he does not suggest that individuals take three shots, but he is convinced that vaccination is an integral part of getting out of the pandemic.

“If we are going to get out of this mess, then vaccination is going to be a critical part of the way forward.”

Experts vary on whether or not people should mix and match vaccines.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization advised against mixing and matching doses due to a lack of evidence.

WHO’s chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan cautioned that taking additional doses beyond the two-dose regimen or mixing and matching vaccines is “a little bit of a dangerous trend.”

However, experts like Dr. Vin Gupta, a professor at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, said he is advising patients who got J&J to get a Pfizer or Moderna mRNA dose to combat delta.

Researchers from Oxford University recently published findings that combining the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine with a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine generates a “robust” immune response against the virus.

Sands Receives ‘the Jab’ After Vaccine Hesitancy

Former Minister of Health Duane Sands received his first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine today.

Sands enthusiastically posted ‘the jab’ to his social media page.

Why it matters

Sands resigned as Minister of Health amid the COVID-19 pandemic and has since opposed the emergency orders imposed by the competent authority.  When the topic of vaccination arose in January, Sands questioned the rapidity of the vaccine saying the Bahamas should be cautious and complete its own investigation into the vaccines.

Then earlier this month, Sands said he endorses the use of vaccines in the Bahamas after examining the data and asking “serious questions.”

After acknowledging his reservations about vaccines, Sands said in the House of Assembly, “… right now, you have to go with what you can get — not go with the best, go with what you can get.”

Sands Reunites With Man He Saved as a Child

Former Minister of Health Duane Sands was reunited with the man whose life he saved more than 25 years ago.
In a social media post, Dr. Sands recounts a chance meeting with the first patient he performed surgery on at the Princess Margaret Hospital.
The 32-year-old man referred to as “JJ” stopped Sands in a store and recalled the poison ingestion that landed him in the hospital as a child.
Sands said, “A few minutes ago, I walked into a store and a young man greeted me…then asked if I remembered him.
“Truthfully, I didn’t… until he told me his name. In an instant, many memories – some pleasant, others less so – flooded my consciousness.
“JJ, now 32 had swallowed lye as a baby.
“One afternoon, as a six-year-old, he was referred with a ruptured esophagus. He was to become the first patient that I ever operated at PMH that memorable day in ’94.
“After an uneventful recovery, his mother would bring him regularly for check-ups after his esophagectomy and gastric pull-up. He required minor revisions and dilations over the years.
The young man expressed gratitude to Sands for helping to save his life. Sands said he was encouraged and knew he was called to serve.
“He made my day. Today’s chance reunion served as a reminder of the great privilege I have had to serve as a surgeon in this country.”
This testimonial prompted many to say thanks to Sand’s years of service as a surgeon.
Featured image: Duane Sands’ FB

As Cabinet Quarantines, House Continues Emergency Order to November 30

The House of Assembly passed the resolution to extend the state of emergency to November 30. The resolution passed, with 14 ‘yes’ votes and zero ‘no’ votes.

Although Opposition Leader Brave Davis and Former Health Minister Duane Sands made presentations during the debate and opposed the extension, they were absent in the House during the voting process.

Also absent in the House of Assembly were Cabinet ministers with the exception of Minister Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield and Minister of State for Disaster and Reconstruction Iram Lewis who were not present when other members were exposed to Works Minister Desmond Bannister.

Bannister tested positive for COVID-19 last week. He remains asymptomatic.

In his presentation, Sands said Cabinet should have stopped meeting in Charlotte’s House building for meetings, even opposing the meeting of Parliament during these periods. He, like House Speaker Halson Moultrie, advocate for virtual meetings or a larger setting that accommodates social distancing.

Cabinet ministers are quarantined for 14-days, beginning from the point of exposure to November 4th.

Sands’ Plan To Beat COVID-19 Include Lockdowns Done Right

Former Minister of Health Duane Sands does not support the continuation of the Emergency Order. He reiterated that the Bahamas is underperforming in the fight against COVID-19 when compared to other countries, so the country should enact a few of his recommendations.

Sands said unlike sports which the Bahamas has championed, the Bahamas is behind and losing to COVID-19, because the strategy implemented by the government is ineffective.

“The process that we have engaged in over the 6 to 8 months have not worked. They have not worked, Mr. Speaker. We are underperforming as a nation. We are underperforming to all of our peers in the region–as it relates to cases, 80 percent of the rest of the world, and as it related to deaths, 89% of the rest of the world.”

Why it matters

Parliamentarians met in the House of Assembly on Monday to debate the extension of the state of emergency to November 30. The Bahamas has been under an emergency order since March 18 because of the rapid spread of the deadly virus.

Sands’ Recommendations

  1. Build a modular COVID-19 facility of approximately 100 beds for the concentration of COVID-19 patients
  2. Conduct 1000 antigen and RTPCR tests per day
  3. Publish a plan quickly and educate the public
  4. Implement effective lockdowns, not on-and-off lockdowns
  5. Bring back participatory government
  6. End the role of the competent authority, which opposes participatory government
  7. Promote exercise among the public as a large percentage of Bahamians has non-communicable diseases
  8. Support access to drugs like Remdesivir and herbal medicine
  9. Improve food security
  10. Lift the ban on masks importation

The Big Picture

Because of the rise in COVID-19 cases, the government extended the emergency order many other times. The country has seen a rise in cases since March. On Monday, officials presented nearly 3,000 active cases. Weekend lockdowns with the implementation of a 7 pm curfew Monday through Friday, with the closure of businesses, has become a public debate.

How COVID-19 Is Forcing Doctors to Compromise Their Oath to Heal

The sobering comment by Former Health Minister Duane Sands has set off a public debate mixed with fury and uncertainty.

Sands on a local radio station, Guardian Radio, “The Hitback,” with Nahaja Black, said the heightened case of coronavirus in the country has placed doctors in a position to decide who lives and who dies.

The earnest reality of the pandemic has caused doctors to place patients with other life-threatening diseases like heart disease and cancer on the back burner, causing some to die.

With a high degree of certainty, the former minister said, “I understand the implications of my comment…that is happening now.”

Other countries have done the same

Physicians in the United States of America, Canada, and Italy have already been forced to make such moral decisions.

These countries have larger populations and the unexpected wave of the virus has filled their hospitals beyond capacity. Back in early March, Italy’s health system said there were too many patients for each one to receive adequate care. So, the Italian College of Anesthesia, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care (SIAARTI)  published guidelines that doctors should follow as cases worsen.

These patients should be left to die as they place demands on scarce medical resources, according to the document written by a group of medical doctors.

  • Patients that are old
  • Patients with comorbidities
  • Patients who require intensive care

They are guided by the utilitarian approach which stresses the principle, “the greatest good for the largest number,” which would ensure that patients with the highest chance of survival will access intensive care.

Doctors in the Bahamas are reaching that point

When health facilities are full to capacity, physicians are placed in a position where they are unable to manage and provide care for a patient who may need respiratory assistance.

Dr. Nikkiah Forbes, director of the Infectious Disease Programme said she has not personally seen a patient die because of the ability to provide care, but the country is close.

“If we continue beyond capacity, those difficult decisions may have to be made,” she said.

Health workers confirmed that the Bahamas is in a surge and the system is being pushed beyond capacity, emphasizing that the ability to provide care in that environment is challenging.

Davis Says Country Is Worst in the Region. Johnson Tells Him Not to Celebrate on First Day Back

In his return to the House of Assembly since recovering from COVID-19, Opposition Leader Philip Davis condemned the recovery rate of the Bahamas, in its COVID-19 fight. He emphasized that the Bahamas is the “worst in the Caribbean region.”

“Don’t compare yourself to around the world. Because in so far, around the world, we are in last place as to how we are dealing with it (COVID-19). We are in last place. We are the worst off in the region in handling the COVID,” Davis said.

Davis was referring to the Global COVID-19 Index Dashboard, which ranks the Bahamas as 183 out of 184 countries. The dashboard indicates how well countries are coping with the virus.

The dashboard also list Antigua and Barbuda and St Kitts and Nevis as other Caribbean countries similar to the Bahamas in handling the virus.

Renward Wells and Elsworth Johnson beckon Davis to prove COVID claims

Wells stood up to refute Davis’ claims. He said if Davis looks at other statistics, the Bahamas is doing well. Wells said there is a 2.3% fatality rate for the virus.

This is the top tier of the 1% globally, indicating that the Bahamas is capable of dealing with Covid-19 patients.

Minister of State for Finance Elsworth Johnson added that Davis should come with solutions, insteading of “coming back the first day to say the country is the worst” which is “almost like a celebratory dance, when people are losing their lives,” Johnson said.

Why does it matter?

Health officials confirmed that the virus is rising in the country with 119 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the total confirmed cases to 4,022.

  • 103 in New Providence
  • 9 in Abaco
  • 4 in Grand Bahama
  • 2 in Exuma
  • 1 in Andros

Former Health Minister Duane Sands said the Bahamas is “not winning this battle” against the virus, as not enough testing is being done.

He said the country has a case incidence rate per million, which is twice the average of all countries in the world — 8,797 per million as compared to an average of 4,075 per million.

And, the 38th highest instance of deaths of COVID-19 in the world per capita.

Duane Sands Gives Emphatic ‘No’ to Joining the PLP

Former Minister of Health and MP for Elizabeth Estates Duane Sands said he is not crossing the floor to join the Progressive Liberal Party.

After a social media post suggested that Sands will follow in the steps of Golden Isles MP Vaughn Miller who announced his decision to become a member of the Progressive Liberal Party on Wednesday, Sands gave a definite response.

“The devil is a liar,” he said in a Facebook post.

In a social media post, Duane Sands rejects the notion that would become a member of the PLP

Sands resigned from his Cabinet post during the COVID-19 pandemic after controversy arose surrounding the entrance of a private plane through the closed border after a couple donated test swabs.

Since his resignation, Sands and Prime Minister Hubert Minnis seems not to see eye-to-eye, with Sands revealing discrepancies with Hurricane Dorian victim numbers. And on Wednesday, Sands said he will not support Minnis’ extension of the emergency order to October 31st.

Since then, many have anticipated that Sands may leave the party for the PLP. Now that Sands has ruled that out, Sands may contend for the FNM leadership.

While others laughed at Sands’ response, Debra Sands said, “He will start his own party. He is a leader, not a follower.”

Doreen Deleveaux played with the idea of Sands becoming a member, and possibly the leader of the Democratic National Alliance. Ronnie Sands agreed and implored Sands to “run with the DNA.”