Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said he will not be moved by threats from foreign nationals.
He was responding to comments from Compass Point resort owner Leigh Rodney who threatened to shut his property down.
Rodney, who is an American, took out a full-page ad in The Tribune and gave the Minnis administration an ultimatum, threatening that if the government does not fulfill its promise to make the ease of doing business better in The Bahamas before the next election, he will close the property, putting 60 people out of work.
When called for comment on Tuesday, Minnis said, “This government and this prime minister will not be moved by threats by any foreign national or anyone; threats by anyone.”
He added, “I do not take threats lightly.”
Minnis did not respond to Rodney’s concerns about the ease of doing business in The Bahamas though.
Rodney said in the advertisement that he has been trying to get the government to address his concerns for two years without success.
He said that “the top leaders of this country” – Minnis, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar and former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, among others – had already been made aware of his request.
“If the FNM (Free National Movement) wins the next election, without acting upon the promise they made when they were elected two years ago, the Compass Point owner does not want to continue to do business in this country and will, therefore, close his business,” the advertisement reads.
It added, “For the two years the FNM had been in power, the Compass Point owner has made what he thinks is a simple request. Set up a small group that would be tasked to make a list of recommended changes to existing laws and regulations, include the Compass Point owner as one participant in this group, have as chairman of the group a government person chosen, who if he/she recommended changes, the lawmakers would listen.”
On Tuesday, while noting that he disagrees with Rodney’s position, D’Aguilar said he was not “in any way intimidated by the request”.
“He’s not going to threaten the prime minister and the minister of tourism and the Bahamian people, ‘bout if we don’t do what he wants us to do he ga’ shut down his hotel,” D’Aguilar said.
“He has every right to do that but certainly don’t come with that tone to a minister of the government of The Bahamas.”
Minnis appointed an Ease of Doing Business Committee in his first year in office after a 2017 World Bank Annual Report listed The Bahamas as 119 out of 190 countries for ease of doing business.
In June of this year, Committee Chair Lynn Holowesko said the committee was disappointed that the government has not enacted more of its recommendations on how to improve the country’s ease of doing business, adding that her committee has also continued dialogue with the World Bank to get The Bahamas’ ease of doing business ranking markedly improved this year.