COVID Impacts Heavily on Government Business Says Bahamas

The Bahamas government has announced the temporary resignation of the Minister of State, Kwasi Thompson, so as to facilitate the business of the Senate during the absence of ministers in the Senate who are in quarantine.

A brief government statement said that Thompson will be replaced by Senator Dwight Sawyer, who will step down from his temporary appointment this week, after which Thompson will be sworn in and resume his duties as minister of state.

The announcement comes as the government moves to the Parliament on Monday to seek an extension on the state of emergency to November 30 as part of the efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) that has so far infected 6,466 and killed 132 others here.

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Parliament is expected to debate a resolution to extend the state of emergency which expires on October 31.

However, the majority of the Cabinet, including Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, will be absent from the House after Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

A number of other government ministers are also reported to be in quarantine.

The Ministry of Health recommends 14-day isolation from the point of possible contact or contact with a COVID-19-positive individual.

House Speaker Halson Moultrie, is quoted in the Nassau Guardian as saying that he has been advocating for a hybrid model for House proceedings since some of his staffers tested positive for COVID-19 last month.

But nearly two months later, a resolution allowing the new model has yet to be tabled in Parliament.

Moultrie said that he is optimistic that the matter would be placed on the agenda for the sitting “but it cannot be debated because no sufficient notice would’ve been given.

“I believe if we had proceeded with the resolution to establish a situation where we could meet face-to-face and virtually with members, who attend virtually, having all the rights and privileges of those in chamber, we would not have had an issue at all as a matter of fact because all of the Cabinet members who are unable to attend tomorrow would have been able to attend virtually.”


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