Bean asks PLP to clarify mask-wearing policy
The leader of the Free Democratic Movement asked yesterday for clarification on the Progressive Labour Party’s mask-wearing policy after he was criticised for his opinion on the subject despite video footage that showed two former Cabinet ministers at an event in breach of Covid-19 regulations during the summer.
Marc Bean added that fresh air and exercise were among the best steps residents could take to keep themselves healthy.
He questioned the wearing of masks in an interview on the TNN Facebook page last Friday.
Mr Bean clarified later that he had been thinking particularly about breathing fresh air during outdoor activities.
But Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier, had by then claimed that the FDM’s “anti-mask position is dangerous”.
Mr Bean said yesterday: “What is actually the PLP’s policy on masks?”
He said: “They want to criticise me for providing my opinion on mask-wearing, especially outdoors, but yet they cover up or protect their own ministers of government.”
Mr Bean confirmed he was referring to Wayne Caines, a former Minister of National Security, and Zane DeSilva, who was tourism and transport minister.
The pair resigned from their Cabinet posts after they were caught on camera among revellers at an event at Blu Bar&Grill Restaurant in July in breach of Covid-19 health restrictions that required social-distancing and masks.
Mr Bean added: “If I was to follow their example, they should have no issue with what I had to say.”
He said: “When applying laws we have to be an exemplification of the law itself. When you’re passing these laws, you can’t be a hypocrite.
“Nevertheless, I still reiterate our position and my position personally, that exercise, fresh air and eating healthy food are three of the best preventive measures that the people of this country can undertake going forward in terms of responding to this Covid risk.”
The FDM leader added: “I’m not sure why they would go ahead and make a big issue over it, outside of just base politics, but then they’ve forgotten to look in the mirror.”
A PLP spokeswoman said last night: “The PLP believes in the global scientific consensus that coronavirus is spread via aerial particles and aerosols and that wearing face masks prevents the spread of the virus. Full stop.”
She added: “Our able management of Covid-19 has saved lives, as has the consensus that masks work.
“We are the envy of the western hemisphere when it comes to management of the virus.
“Bermudians need to ask themselves, do we really want the anti-mask position legitimised by giving it a voice in the House of Assembly? “
Mr Bean said in the interview last week that one thing he felt was lacking in the Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic was an “educational process to encourage people to be more conscious of their own selves on a pathway towards health and wellness ... strengthening the immune system, breathing fresh air”.
He added then: “What is the purpose, from my perspective, of putting a mask when you’re recirculating C0˛?
“You’re not getting oxygen. What is the purpose of telling people, ‘wear this mask’?
“It doesn’t make sense.
“I want people to get as much fresh air as possible because that’s what will keep your immune system as strong as possible.”
Mr Roban emphasised later that the public should follow medical advice.
He warned in a press statement that if people stopped wearing masks and the testing regime was relaxed, the country could move to community spread of the coronavirus.
Mr Roban said: “That will mean more cases leading to more hospitalisations and, sadly, death.”
He told the public: “Wear your masks. Wash your hands. Remain physically distant.”
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