Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said there have been at least 800 jobs added to the workforce since Hurricane Dorian leveled parts of Abaco and Grand Bahama, stalling their economies and rendering thousands unemployed.
“We’ve had Baker’s Bay for example that has just recently, to my understanding, hired an additional 600 individuals. The Abaco Cays are coming back to normal very quickly and therefore there will be a lot of hiring there. Then I understand even here (New Providence) the new phase of Baha Mar would have just last week hired I think an additional 200 individuals in their water theme park,” the prime minister told reporters at the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association’s annual general meeting at the Atlantis Imperial Ballroom.
“So, we’re aggressively moving forward and we think when the hotels come on stream we would have more hiring there. As the business sectors come on stream we will have more hiring. But you would have expected after businesses were destroyed, it meant that unemployment would have gone up and as business has returned, it means that unemployment would subsequently drop.”
Last week, The Nassau Guardian revealed a Department of Social Services report which that found nearly 50 percent of the people on Grand Bahama are unemployed.
“I don’t know exactly how they came about their assessment, how they did it, but I know that the internationally acceptable department that does all employment statistics is the Department of Statistics and we await their statistics,” Minnis said.
“But yes, we would have experienced a decrease in employment and an increase in unemployment. We expected that as jobs, facilities and everything were destroyed.”
Acting Director of Labour John Pinder has said he suspects 3,000 jobs were affected by Hurricane Dorian and that he expects the unemployment rate to increase from the 9.5 percent achieved in May 2019 to at least 12 percent as a result of Hurricane Dorian.