Categorized | National News

Abaconians Want Curfew

Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister said Abaco residents, who were affected by Hurricane Dorian, want a curfew, which is a part of the proposed Disaster Preparedness and Response Amendment Bill 2019.

Bannister contributed to debate on the bill in the House of Assembly yesterday, where he pointed out that he heard comments criticizing the bill’s power to order a curfew.

However, he said with the new bill, the prime minister will be able to order a curfew before the storm hits and not witness looting after the storm is over.

“At the same time I have received many calls from Abaconians, the people who are impacted, asking when the government will implement curfews to protect them,” Bannister said.

“Quite frankly, sir, I feel more comfortable with the power in this act to order a curfew than the power in the law that the opposition supports that permits unlimited and indeterminable detentions.”

Following Hurricane Dorian, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said the government would have a discussion to determine whether a curfew would be implemented in Abaco because of the concerns of looting on the island.

Mandatory evacuation is also a part of the bill and according to Bannister, it would allow the prime minister to issue an order to protect Bahamians when there is a disaster or a threatened disaster alert, not merely when a state of emergency already exists under the Constitution.

“So once this bill passes, the prime minister will be able to order an evacuation before a storm hits, not wait until after the storm wrecks havoc on our communities, as the opposition would wish for us to do,” Bannister explained.

“The prime minister will be able to authorize steps to be taken to suppress anarchy, civil disorder assaults, looting, or home or shop breaking before a storm hits, rather than wait until the storm has passed as the opposition would wish for us to do. 

“The prime minister will now be able to save lives before a storm hits, not look back in regret after the storm and pray for the dearly departed, as the opposition would wish for us to do.”

According to Bannister, the bill is in the best interest of the Bahamian people and it will be passed by a caring government.

“Mr. Speaker, in bringing this bill to parliament at this time in our history, the most honourable prime minister can be likened to Lord Denning’s bold spirits, who have the creativity and courage to allow it if justice so allows, while by opposing this ‘progressive’ legislation, those opposite stand in the shoes of Denning’s timorous souls, sharing blind allegiance to the dead hand of the past and in doing so they serve a sterile, not constructive role in the law,” Bannister said. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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