Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday dismissed Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ pledge that the unemployment rate will drop to six percent, noting that “it cannot happen”.
“Who listens to the prime minister?” Davis asked.
“Just think about what he has said. Look at where unemployment is at this time. Look at how the economies of Grand Bahama and Abaco have been sidelined and look at how the economy is today.
“Where in the world could you expect such a drastic reduction in unemployment to six percent within the next several months as he’s putting it? It cannot happen. Again, he’s starting to campaign.”
He added, “We don’t listen to him anymore. I don’t think people ever listen to what he’s saying and that’s why we take it for the grain of salt [that] it is.”
On Thursday, Minnis pledged that his administration would reduce unemployment to at least six percent by the end of next year.
“What we see on the ground in both Abaco and Grand Bahama and what is happening in terms of rebuilding, I think our unemployment rate would come down dramatically,” he said.
“No politicians like to make such statements, but I can make a bold statement and state that by the end of 2021, the unemployment rate, I’m certain, will be around six percent or less.”
A drop to six percent would be a significant decrease in unemployment.
Up to May 2019, the national unemployment rate was 9.5 percent.
Those figures, which were released in August of last year, represented the lowest unemployment rate in a decade.
In September, Hurricane Dorian devastated Abaco and Grand Bahama — the second and third largest economies in the country.
Officials at the Department of Statistics have said the upcoming labor force survey will only reflect employment on New Providence.
Last December, a report titled “Post-Hurricane Social Trends in Grand Bahama”, found that there was nearly 50 percent unemployment on the island as of November 5.
The report, published on reliefweb.int, cited data from a “door-to-door Social Services assessment”.
The Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Social Services later claimed there was no evidence to support the report.