McAlpine: Bahamas “flirted with dictatorship” during Covid-19
FNM MP Frederick McAlpine likened emergency orders imposed by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis during the coronavirus pandemic to a dictatorship.
“For the first time in the history of The Bahamas, through the Emergency Powers as depicted in the Constitution, we flirted with dictatorship which left a bitter taste in the mouth of many Bahamians,” according to McAlpine.
After the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in The Bahamas in March, the government declared a state of emergency and imposed a 24-hour curfew, weekend lockdowns, border closures and ordered all non-essential businesses to close.
Dozens of Bahamians, including the homeless, were arrested, shackled, dragged before the courts and fined hundreds of dollars for various curfew violations.
The arrest of a teenager selling coconut water on the side of the road to support himself and his family drew public ire.
“Never again should one man be given such power in a national crisis, regardless of the position he holds in the nation,” McAlpine said in the House of Assembly.
“The Competent Authority, moving forward, should consist of a minimum of three persons or a maximum of five. If you’re speaking about national unity, it should include the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition or his representative. It’s also called political maturity or neutralization,” he added.
McAlpine also took a swipe at excessive borrowing and accused the government of borrowing $3 billion - one billion for each year in office. He said the Minnis Administration will use Covid-19 and Hurricane Dorian as another excuse to borrow even more.
“Prior to Mr. Covid and Ms. Dorian we borrowed as a government 3 Billion Dollars and the people and myself are yet to see infrastructurally and constructurally something that we can see, touch and feel.”
“For Bahamians, you can create thousands of policies, but if it does not produce money in people’s pocket they will tell you what you can do with your policies, practices and your plans,” he warned.