Countries and non-governmental organizations are coming to the realization that while The Bahamas is labeled as a high-income country, its vulnerabilities put it in a category that makes it suitable for international aid and grants that were once denied, Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister Myles LaRoda told Guardian Business yesterday.
The Bahamas has argued this position for some time, with even Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) President Mauricio Claver-Carone contending at the start of his tenure that he would advocate for the changing of the metrics that determine whether or not The Bahamas gets aid from countries and agencies across the world.
LaRoda, who has responsibility for disaster preparedness and emergency response, said yesterday that bilateral meetings during last week’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda revealed to The Bahamas’ delegation that the understanding of this country’s vulnerabilities versus the perceived income bracket is beginning to sink in.
“It was basically said that The Bahamas was considered a high-income state, meaning that The Bahamas was not qualified for certain fund granting,” said LaRoda.
“What came out of one of the reports was that using ‘high income’ should not be the metric that determines whether The Bahamas gets funding.
“And I think The Bahamas was the one country that was mentioned… that even though our income may be high, that should not prohibit us from being able to collect grant funding.”
According to LaRoda, countries like The Bahamas and others that have natural environmental vulnerabilities like hurricanes, but are seen to be wealthy countries, will now be open to much more international assistance than before.
“One of the good things that came out of this is that we could now move towards putting these [vulnerable] countries in a position to provide relief for them, because even though they may be considered high-income, they have a lot of vulnerabilities,” he said.