Bahamas News

Grand Bahama Minister urges residents to “comply” on eve of two-week lockdown

#FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – July 23, 2020 — As the island of Grand Bahama prepares for a two-week lockdown, Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator the Hon. J. Kwasi Thompson urged everyone to protect themselves, their families and have faith in God as Grand Bahama is in a “serious situation.”

Senator Kwasi Thompson, Minister for Grand Bahama

During a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister on Thursday, July 23, Senator Thompson provided pertinent information for residents, while also encouraging everyone to stay safe.

Describing the lockdown as “one of the most difficult periods in Grand Bahama” Minister Thompson said Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis’s decision to do so was “correct and balanced.”

He said, “I urge Grand Bahamians to take these measures seriously and to fully comply. We are facing a very serious situation in Grand Bahama and we need to do all we can to get the situation under control.

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“Many are infected and sick and unfortunately, lives have already been lost. I want to send out the strongest possible message. Protect yourself and protect your families.”

For this to happen, he continued, residents must comply with regulations.

Addressing the long lines of people rushing to the food stores, Minister Thompson said they will remain open and so there is no need for people to rush out as there is enough food.

During the lockdown, the Minister urged residents not to leave their homes unless it is an emergency, even if it is to go to the food store, gas station or pharmacy.

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Those exempt are construction workers for hurricane repair and preparation purposes, essential Government services, and industrial companies for maintenance of their equipment and for essential and emergency services.

The government quarantine facility will be manned by NEMA officials and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force.

Addressing the food assistance programme, Minister Thompson said the joint effort between the Government of The Bahamas, the Grand Bahama Port Authority, the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce, and the Grand Bahama Christian Council, has issued some 4,535 vouchers which he believed would assist 18,000 Grand Bahamians.

BIS photo of streets in Freeport during previous lock down order

To receive assistance, he explained, people are asked to register online at www.feedgrandbahama.com and fill out the necessary form. There is one voucher per household and after the applicant has been verified and approved, they will be assigned a distribution center and notified of when the voucher will be ready for collection. The participating food stores are: Solomon’s, Sawyer’s Fresh Market and Express Food Mart.

Said Minister Thompson, “Residents should remain in their homes for their safety and the safety of their families. We managed this before, and we are confident that if we comply with the regulations, we will be able to manage this and to control this again.”

BIS Photo of Freeport streets during previous lock down order

For those needing information during the lockdown, they may reach the Office of the Prime Minister’s Information Centre via Whatsapp at 727-2473; email opminfocentre@bahamas.gov.bs; help desk available from 9am to 5pm 727-8119, 727-0993, and 727-0826.  The Information Centre may also be reached through the Office of the Prime Minister’s Facebook page facebook@opmgbi which is being manned.

Minister Thompson closed by sending an encouraging message out to residents, “We’re facing a very difficult time. We are going to be facing a difficult time in the next two weeks. I want to encourage Grand Bahamians. They are strong. They are a resilient people. They have fought through hurricanes, they have fought through a difficult economy, they have fought through COVID-19. We’ve done it before, and we can do it again.”

He encouraged residents to be patient, take care of themselves, their families and they ought to be their brother’s keeper during this difficult time.

BIS News by Robyn Adderley

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