March 31, 2021
While noting that the two major political parties are behaving recklessly, House Speaker Halson Moultrie said yesterday that political campaigning in large crowds should “absolutely not” be permitted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The behavior of the two major political parties is not only contradictory of the protocol orders but, in my estimation, the behavior is reckless,” Moultrie said.
“I say reckless because most certainly both leaders are indeed aware of the risks involved in breaching the COVID orders.
“But it appears as if, in respect of that risk, they are prepared to put their workers and the constituents in harm’s way…
“Both of those leaders, having been vaccinated, have a certain degree or measure of protection that their workers do not have and their constituents would not have because only a very small percentage of the Bahamian population has been vaccinated up to this point.”
He said a “grave injustice” is being done to Bahamians who may unsuspectingly be exposed to COVID-19 as a result.
Moultrie said social gatherings should also not be permitted at this time.
Given the pandemic, Bahamians should do everything in their power to ensure that “we minimize the large gatherings”, according to the Speaker.
“Persons should actually stay at home when they are not needed to be out, away from home,” he said.
“I believe they should socially distance and sanitize. They should wear the face mask and we need to just bring about a different level of discipline in our society.”
Over the last several weeks, large numbers of Free National Movement, Progressive Liberal Party and Democratic National Alliance supporters have descended upon various New Providence communities on Saturdays, spreading their party’s messages and introducing candidates and prospective candidates to constituents as they gear up for what appears to be an approaching early election.
Due to what the prime minister has described as the ongoing threat of COVID-19, the country remains under a state of emergency and social gatherings are prohibited on New Providence.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis reminded Bahamians that “it is important to avoid large gatherings”.
He noted that beach gatherings are limited to five people on New Providence and Grand Bahama.
Minnis was then asked to respond to people who may say that he is asking people not to gather in groups of more than five while political parties continue to campaign in groups exceeding that number.
He replied, “You would have seen them still spacing out somewhat and each and everyone — regardless of the political organization — each and everyone [was] wearing a mask.”
Moultrie said the government is sending conflicting messages.
“What I think is really bad is the message that is being sent that there is one law for the common man and another law for the elites or the elected persons in our society,” he said.
“I think that is the wrong message and it causes a number of conflicts with respect to persons abiding by and adhering to the various protocols.”
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