EDITOR, The Tribune.
According to the Bahamas COVID-19 Dashboard, as of January 22, there have been 8,088 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 6,720 recoveries. The Ministry of Health has conducted a staggering 57,484 tests. Only 13 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized. Unfortunately, The Bahamas has recorded 175 deaths. The number of recoveries suggests that The Bahamas is winning the COVID-19 war. Yet despite our nation’s underreported progress, The Bahamas is currently tagged with the Level 4 CDC Travel Notice – which is misleading, based on the foregoing data.
Conversely, the United States has recorded over 25 million confirmed cases, with over 400,000 deaths, which is equal to the size of the Bahamian population. This CDC Level 4 categorization of The Bahamas has been made worse by the executive order signed by President Joe Biden, which requires travellers to quarantine on arrival to the United States. With the recent reopening of Baha Mar and Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, and the highly anticipated tourism industry rebound, Biden’s executive order, to use the words of Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar, could be a devastating blow to the Bahamian economy. American vacationers will put up with having to take a rapid antigen or PCG COVID-19 test. It is unlikely, however, that they would be willing to undergo the arduous requirement of a self-imposed seven or 14-day quarantine.
Biden’s executive order was signed on the day following his inauguration. Not even a week into his four-year tenure as president and Biden has already drafted a policy that has the potential to cripple the Bahamian economy. Wait until he opens up Cuba.
As if that weren’t enough, Biden signed another executive order which has the potential of delivering another devastating blow to The Bahamas, but this one to Bahamian female athletes who aspire to compete collegially and professionally in the United States and in the Olympic Games. According to the New York Post, Biden, who is a Roman Catholic, signed an executive order that will let transgender women compete in women’s sports. Biden seems to be on a mad dash to claw back the conservative policies of his predecessor in the Oval Office, Donald Trump.
American colleges and professional sports leagues for women will no longer be able to discriminate against biologically born boys who now identify as women. With men having a greater muscle mass due to the testosterone-induced muscular hypertrophy, according to Dr Neel Burton in Psychology Today, men are generally physically stronger than women, which gives transgender women an unfair advantage over cis women in athletic competition.
For example, Bahamian sporting enthusiasts would recall American transgender woman MMA wrestler Fallon Fox fracturing the orbital bone in the skull of cis female wrestler Tamika Brents in 2014, concussing her in the process. This incident sparked an outrage in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) organisation with UFC wrestler Paul Costa issuing a challenge to fight Fox. With the 2020 Summer Olympics scheduled to begin on July 23, the eyes of Bahamians will be glued to their TV screens as Shaunae Miller attempts to duplicate her Rio 2016 performance, in which she won the gold medal in the women’s 400 meters. But with Biden’s executive order, under a hypothetical scenario, transgender women as talented as Michael Johnson, Butch Reynolds, Jeremy Wariner, Steven Gardiner, Michael Norman and Wayde Van Niekerk would easily defeat Miller or any other cis female athlete competing in the 400 meters for that matter. The fastest time in the 400 meters is held by Wayde Van Niekerk at 43.03. The fastest female time is held by Marita Koch at 47.60 -- 4.57 seconds behind Van Niekerk’s record. Miller’s gold medal Olympic Game time was 49.44 seconds - 6.41 seconds less than the fastest male time in the same event.
With the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and its attendant economic crisis, the upcoming Olympics with Miller provides an escape from the reality of The Bahamas’ dire situation for many secular Bahamians. Miller represents this country’s best hope of medaling in Tokyo, Japan. If, God forbid, an American transgender woman competes in the 400 meters, thanks to Biden, the likelihood of Miller winning the gold would be reduced. For what it’s worth, Biden’s two controversial decisions only serves to confirm my fears of his presidency in the lead up to the United States presidential election.
Freeport, Grand Bahama,
January 24, 2021.