Bahamas the

Report to the Nation by Minister Frankie Campbell on COVID-19 Initiatives

BIS Photo/Ulric Woodside


In these times of crisis, disaster and uncertainty, I have reflected on those who have gone before me, on whose shoulders, I - we stand, indeed, the world stands. Mother Theresa, the child of compassionate parents, advocate, founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic congregation of women dedicated to helping the poor, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and later considered one of the 20th Century's greatest humanitarians, canonized as Saint Teresa of Calcutta in 2016, said “At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by "I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in”.

Her words put into perspective the need to maintain our ‘Humanity’- be our brother’s keeper, that we must all have a ‘social conscience’. COVID-19 is a virus that does not discriminate between the rich and poor, between women or men, the elderly, the youth, the sick or those healthy- its effects are highly uneven. Healthcare and food security has become “a matter of life and death”. As the Minister for Social Services, my heart is toward the people of The Bahamas who have stepped outside of the normal way of life, in the face of unbending obstacles, stubborn challenges and have broken new paths to survive. I applaud you. I stand with you, as a husband responsible for his family, as a father, an older man with increased chances for transmission, as a Minister with a duty to meet and work on the ground with each social worker, each probation officer, as a Member of Parliament walking the lines and ensuring that food parcels are distributed (collected). I understand, I have not forgotten and I applaud you.

I commend all the hard-working, responsible staff within my Ministry. In the face of this global pandemic, I am concerned about the general public, and equally concerned about my staff.  We are just as vulnerable as anyone else to becoming infected with and affected by COVID-19. Therefore, we encourage clients to practice safety protocols, which we practice ourselves. Notwithstanding our measures, some of our sub-offices had to be closed for deep sanitization. Despite this, we made every attempt to accommodate as many persons as possible and continue our efforts to ensure that all of premises are fully functional.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, The Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development has been dedicated to enhancing risk communication and community preparedness, provide critical supplies, improved water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services throughout our facilities for our employees and clients. The COVID-19 pandemic is of great concern to everyone. As a Ministry, facing the unprecedented threat of COVID19, we realized, that in order to come to the aid of the ultra-vulnerable, we would need to engage the minds of those most innovative, those creative and competent. The Ministry embarked upon an aggressive dual change strategy that is both transformational and incremental to make provisions for those most vulnerable. We knew there were thousands of people who were least able to protect themselves during this pandemic.  Older persons, persons with chronic illness and persons with disabilities, face particular disproportionate risks, and require an all-out effort to save their lives and protect their future. This WAS and IS a matter of basic human solidarity (shown on screen)

Our strategy included:

  1.     Analyzing our infrastructure to ensure that our clients had access to our full spectrum of products, and range of social assistance to stem the impact of COVID-19 in an already vulnerable humanitarian contexts, and simultaneously;
  2.     Continue and maintain support for existing humanitarian services which more than 20% of our population depend on.

COVID-19 is nowhere near removed from our immediate future, the Prime Minister has referred to our joint commitment to survive this threat as “a marathon”, and we are committed to providing services to the people of The Bahamas, to the best of our competencies.

I shall begin with The Department of Social Services:

Department of Social Services

While the various Divisions within the Department of Social Services continue to offer a full complement of services, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced workers to change case management processes and to find innovative ways to assist clients. It has also compelled us to identify new initiatives that would address the economic fallout which occurred as a result continue see attached

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