PM says hurricane loans should not be reflected on the books
Following discussions with leaders from other small island nations at the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis suggested yesterday that loans made because of hurricane damage should not be reflected on the government’s books.
Minnis held a press conference after returning from London, England, where he attended CHOGM.
“What was significant at CHOGM, all of the CARICOM small island nations were speaking about climate change and the impact it has on small island states,” he said.
“As you know, we in the Caribbean [were] hit by hurricanes recently, and you know the impact and the problems that we have experienced.
“But, The Bahamas and other small island nations contribute very little to climate change through carbon emissions… but we feel the brunt of the effect of climate change.
“This was pointed out. Our infrastructures are destroyed and need to be replaced and the time has come for loans to be treated separately, not to be placed on our books so as to disturb our debt to GDP, subsequently interfering with our borrowing capacity to help expand and modernize our health system, our educational systems, social services, etc.
“Therefore, if that is treated separately, but we would still pay it back, at least our debt-to-GDP would be protected and we could continue to advance our educational system.”
The Bahamas has been hit by several major hurricanes in the last three years.
In 2015, Hurricane Joaquin devastated islands in the central and southern Bahamas.
The following year, Hurricane Matthew devastated portions of Andros and Grand Bahama.
Last year, Hurricane Irma left Ragged Island “uninhabitable”.
Education: College of The Bahamas, English