Monday, Feb 24, 2020
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In a recession, never stop spending

If the economy is ever going to improve, Bahamians need to keep spending and broaden their horizons so the country is ready for a rebound.

Michael Turnquest, the deputy chairman for the FNM, said his experience in politics and as a businessman has taught him valuable lessons.

Perhaps the most significant, he said, is to never stop moving.

“People say the economy doesn’t look good. They say economies are collapsing all around us,” he told Guardian Business. “But one of the things that creates a stagnant economy is when you stop spending. You can only keep going by spending.”

At the end of the day, while the debt might increase, Bahamians need to stimulate the economy. According to Turnquest, consumers often decide if they are in a recession.

As the owner of two businesses, keeping activity robust is a principle he puts into action each day. Turnquest recently launched a restaurant business in April – a move many of his peers thought was far too risky. He also runs Bahamas Water Storage, an established company that served as one of the sub-contractors for the new Blue Hills water tank. Capable of holding up to six million gallons, it is the largest of its kind in the Caribbean, Turnquest said.

Bahamas Water Storage also handles maintenance for sewerage facilities and other related industries.

The FNM deputy chairman said Water and Sewerage Corporation’s (WSC) recent decision to out-source waste water treatment plants is a perfect example of creating jobs and keeping the company dynamic.

WSC and the government have agreed to take on a $81 million loan from the

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to revamp the system in New Providence, as reported by Guardian Business, and a big part of the project is the construction of new plants.

Turnquest said his company, among others will be vying for maintenance of the facilities when the time comes. He felt the decision to out-source was a smart move not just from his perspective, but it will also allow WSC to focus on the water side of the operation.

“What WSC has done is sub-contract to build, own and maintain waste water treatment plants. They are passing on that cost. It is cost effective for them and lessens man power. Meanwhile, it enhances business.”

Turnquest told Guardian Business it’s a model that can be duplicated in The Bahamas. Maintenance of government buildings will be efficient in the hands of the private sector and stimulate the economy.

“They can better manage it when it is out-sourced, straight down to the mechanics of it all,” he added. “A lot of this stuff can be out-soured and other government entities can follow suit.”

Although his company will be bidding on WSC contracts, Turnquest pointed out the company already has a lot of work to handle. He said Bahamas Water Storage has recently signed on with Bahamas Food Services to help expand their plant. It will also be working with Baha Mar, he revealed, namely on the waste water plant the resort is building for SuperClubs Breezes as part of a land swap.

Turnquest said it’s tough out there, but if you keep your head up and stay moving, opportunities present themselves.

“From an economy standpoint, things could always do better,” he explained. “We almost had nothing to do some time ago. Now, once we leave a job, we get into another. There is a lot of work out there now.”

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