As President of the Young Democrats Alliance of the DNA, I am baffled and disappointed with the treatment of the youth and less privileged in our society. It is sad that the government has perpetuated an oppressive system and have used the law against the less fortunate and hopeless during this global pandemic – COVID-19
The YDA submits that this government has failed to create an adequate safety net for the most vulnerable citizens in our society. Additionally, the government has also failed to put an adequatek economic stimulus in place for Bahamian residents and families who have become financially disabled since the pandemic began. The law should not be used to tarnish and destroy the future of our young people or our citizens.
Recently, a budding entrepreneur, 18 year old Mr. Jason Williams was hauled before the courts and fined 700 dollars for operating a non-essential service without a business license. This is evidence of the government’s lack of preparedness, planning and failure to educate and inform the citizens on the particulars of the Emergency Orders. Mr. Williams stated in an interview that he was unaware of the consequences and was trying to make a honest living to support his family.
Former US President Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying, 'when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty'. Whether Mr. Williams was aware of his wrongdoing or not, it is easy to see how one’s desperation to meet the basic needs of life can lead to a resistance, whether innocent or outright to fulfill their obligations.
During these difficult times, our leaders need to be more sensitive to the different needs of all persons within the society. It is not unusual in these times that individuals will become growingly desperate and seek to make ends meet in order to survive, provide and protect their families.
Therefore, I am appealing to the Competent Authority – the Prime Minister to ease the restrictions that have been placed on our citizens and more specifically, the poor and working class of our society. We must stop making criminals of our people who are just trying to survive. We must protect and empathize with the individuals who are experiencing distress, severe financial hardship and difficulties caused by unfortunate circumstances which has been worsened by the pandemic.
The YDA believes in the upholding of the rule of law and order within our society. This must however be balanced with common sense, empathy, heart, soul and compassion. We urge the Government to be fair, compassionate and justifiable when executing the law. The administration of the law should not be determined by one’s social standing in society as seems to be the case during this pandemic.
The Bahamas is a great country and we want to see a society created for all individuals to benefit and prosper.
Shakera T. Lightbourne
Young Democrats Alliance