The Bahamas, today, is faced with an unprecedented situation with the near shutdown of its economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the permanent and temporary loss of tens of thousands of jobs throughout the archipelago, the Free National Movement administration is now charged with the daunting task of assisting tens of thousands of Bahamians, while coping with revenue shortfalls unheard of in the modern era.
Even if Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis opens The Bahamas for business next month, the tourism industry would still struggle, due to the rising unemployment numbers in the United States that are predicted to hit around 30 percent, something that will mirror unemployment figures during the Great Depression in the 1930s.
In short, the Bahamian economy is now flying on a wing and a prayer.
Over 80 percent of our visitors hail from the United States. Tourism is our biggest employer.
Many Bahamians who eke out a living in the tourism industry are now home hoping for this nightmare to come to an end.
I don’t know what the projected time of recovery is, but I suspect that it may take years.
As for now, many Bahamian tenants find themselves in a quandary of deciding whether to spend their NIB-issued $200 on grocery or on the rent.
If you pay the rent, there would be nothing left to purchase much-needed food, especially with the children being home from school.
The NIB unemployment assistance of $200 up to eight weeks works out to $1,600 – $400 more than the $1,200 the Trump administration is doling out to American households as a stimulus to jumpstart their economy.
I was told that a Grand Bahamian landlord recently evicted a single mother from his apartment, due to her inability to meet her rental payments.
Like thousands of other Bahamians, she has fallen on hard times due to COVID-19.
Lending institutions in Nassau and Freeport have offered mortgage holidays to their clientele who have been impacted by the current economic crisis.
Why can’t Bahamian (landlords) do the same to their tenants? Bahamian landlords are lacking human empathy by evicting their tenants.
— Kevin Evans