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Opposition calls for PM’s resignation for flouting COVID protocols

Published:Tuesday | January 25, 2022 | 12:11 AM
Prime Minister Phillip Davis
Prime Minister Phillip Davis

NASSAU (CMC):

The main opposition Free National Movement (FNM) has called for the resignation of Prime Minister Phillip Davis, claiming that he had broken quarantine rules set by his administration last month, in order to collect Christmas gifts.

FNM leader Michael Pintard said, with the country still battling a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Davis broke quarantine, describing the decision as a “very serious one” and a “betrayal of his oath to uphold the law”.

Former health minister, Dr Duane Sands, called for Davis to step down even as a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) said Davis did not breach the 2021 Health Services Rules by leaving quarantine last month.

It said that Davis had not been ordered to sequester by a medical professional.

Davis had disclosed last week that he left quarantine to purchase Christmas gifts at former Taxicab Union President Leon Griffin’s store, moments before receiving news of his death.

Griffin was found shot in the head outside his home by his wife, former Cabinet minister, Melanie Griffin, on the night of December 23, 2021.

“To all of my parliamentary colleagues and persons present, I think I was the last person that Griffin spoke to before he was killed. After that conversation, I got a telephone conversation from Melanie.

“I was supposed to be in quarantine and Christmas was nearing, as we know, and I ordered all of my Christmas gifts and I needed to pay for them. So, I called the store and I said, ‘Look, I’m in quarantine and I need to pay for the things, but I can’t be seen out’.

“They said ‘Well, when we close the store, we’ll let you know when the store is empty and you can come by.’ So, they called the aide about 10 minutes after six to say, ‘All clear, come now’,” Davis added.

The OPM statement said that Davis was informed that he had been exposed to persons who had tested positive for COVID.

But, between December 22 and 24, Davis took three COVID tests — two PCR and one antigen — all of which were negative.

“Because the prime minister has had two vaccine shots and a booster shot, in addition to a prior infection, and because he had multiple negative test results, he was informed he posed little transmission risk,” the OPM statement added.

“At no time did the prime minister breach the regulations in the Health Services (COVID-19) (Prevention and Management of Community Spread) Rules, 2021. The prime minister was not ordered into quarantine by a medical officer, as described in Article 19 (of the Health Services Rules).”

But, in his statement, Pintard said Davis’ behaviour speaks to him and his government’s “less than serious” attitude as it relates to enforcing current health rules.

“Prime Minister Davis’ admission to breaking the COVID-19 quarantine law enacted by his own government is a betrayal of his oath to uphold the law. It is a very serious offence for the head of a government to breach laws that he has a legal obligation to uphold.”

According to the 2021 health services rules, anyone who breaks quarantine after being kept in isolation by a medical professional may be subjected to a fine of up to US$1,000 or up to two years in prison.