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In speech to business leaders, PM swipes former govt on economy

Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said yesterday the previous administration made The Bahamas’ economic situation “much, much worse”.

“We remain in the midst of a health crisis, spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Davis during the 2022 Bahamas Business Outlook, which was held virtually.

“And we remain in the midst of an economic crisis — the genesis of which lies in some very poor economic decision-making during the past four and a half years — made worse by Hurricane Dorian and COVID.

“Poor governance not only made a bad situation much, much worse but shattered trust and confidence throughout many sectors of our community and among the Bahamian people.”

Davis pointed to several initiatives, including the rollout of COVID-19 testing and the reduction of value-added tax from 12 percent to 10 percent, that his government accomplished in its first 100 days in office.

“These accomplishments alone would make any administration proud, especially when held up against the record of the previous administration, who borrowed $10 billion without a single major item to show for it: not one new school, not one new major road, not one new hospital,” he said.

According to the prime minister, many Bahamians now doubt whether the government is fit and able to set the country on the path to health and prosperity.

He said the government is determined to do all it can to restore trust and rebuild confidence in The Bahamas’ future.

As it does this, it also plans to address the ongoing economic crisis, which is the worst in Bahamian history, Davis said.

He said the orange, green and blue economies will play a major role in economic growth.

“Apart from the existential threat to our country, insofar as these issues underpin the green and blue economies, they represent areas of enormous potential growth,” Davis said.

“The efficiencies and trillion-dollar potential of these industries are areas in which I would love to see Bahamian businesses become world leaders.

“I have recently appointed an environmental and climate change tsar — based in the Office of The Prime Minister — whose remit is to work across government to deliver the government’s agenda not just in respect of environmental adaptation and resilience but to support our economic priorities as well.

“Carbon credits, blue and green financing, insurance against natural disasters, sovereign wealth — all of these issues and more can benefit from this kind of expert, joined-up thinking and action.”

Davis said one of his policy advisors is tasked with developing the orange economy, also known as the creative economy.

He said it is one of “the greatest fiscal opportunities” for our country.

“By weaving robust cultural policy into our national development plan, we aim to develop supportive frameworks which nurture Bahamian cultural workers and allow them to excel,” Davis said.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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