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Concern from business community about PM’s comments

An increasing number of investors are not only weighing the dollars and cents of a deal before shelling out the capital in a country, but its political stability and respect–areas business leaders in The Bahamas are cautioning the government to be more mindful of.

On the heels of public comments made by Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham last week about a foreign investor not being good for the country, several members of the international and local business community are stressing not only the importance of involatile governments for business, but the appearance of that as well.

“As the leaderof the government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas it was very inappropriate of him to say that,”former Chamber of Commerce President Dionisio D’Aguilar toldGuardian Businessyesterday.”I don’t know what information is being brought to the attention of the prime minister, but he should not have gotten down into details like that.

“Now it sends a wrong message that if I get the wrath of the prime minister there could be trouble. The perception is wrong… it’s looking like a personal attack.”

It’s a subject that was buzzing throughout the town in the last week, following Ingraham’s comments on mega store Robin Hood’s American owner Sandy Schaefer.

“It is most regrettable that such a person has been allowed to have that type of business in the country,”said the prime minister last week.”He is not a good person for The Bahamas.”

He was responding to complaints by Prince Charles business owners in general that the ongoing road works was hampering business. However, those individual comments by the nation’s chief should never have been made, said D’Aguilar, and should have instead been more general.

Andy Ingraham, head of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers, said investors are looking for several factors when deciding where to put their money–and government responses were a part of that equation.

“Investors are looking for stable economies and a stable government that understands the importance of investors and what they are going to contribute to the economy,”he toldGuardian Businessyesterday.”At the same time investors should always be mindful that they are guests of the home country. Therefore both parties must be able to be respectful of each other and at the same time be able to accommodate and give and take.

“So when outside investors look at bringing in hard-earned cash, when they have money they can invest anyplace in the world, you want to make sure there is an appreciation on one side and on the investor side that they are able to contribute across the board.”

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