American businessman and billionaire Doug Manchester has stepped back from his bid to become the United States ambassador for The Bahamas.
When reached for comment, Manchester Financial Group wrote in a statement, “He has withdrawn due to the threats on his and his family’s lives including three infant children under four years old.”
It also noted that Manchester had received “severe” threats on his life.
In May 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate Manchester, who is affectionately known as “Papa Doug”, as ambassador to The Bahamas.
In September 2017, Manchester’s nomination was approved 11 to 10 with all democratic senators voting against him.
However, his appointment failed to receive consideration before it was returned to Trump in January 2018.
Manchester said “politics” was the hold up for his confirmation.
He encouraged the Bahamian government to ask the U.S. for “immediate approval” of an ambassador to assist with the coordination of the rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, the strongest storm on record to hit The Bahamas.
It struck Abaco and Grand Bahama in early September, decimating chunks of the islands.
The storm left thousands displaced, hundreds missing and at least 67 dead.
According to the statement, Manchester has been to The Bahamas twice since Dorian.
“He has been to the Abacos by seaplane and has delivered over 2,000 pounds of food, medical supplies and goods to the people,” it read.
“He will continue to make relief trips to support the Bahamian people.”
Earlier this month, Director of Labour John Pinder predicted that the unemployment rate will increase to 12 percent as a result of Dorian. Unemployment had previously decreased from 10 percent in May 2018 to 9.5 in May 2019.
For this reason, Manchester said he would like to see “a concerted effort to employing all of the displaced people from the Abacos and Grand Bahama islands” including 20 percent of those unemployed on New Providence.
“The Bahamas can provide jobs right away to help clean up the debris, stabilize the people and begin rebuilding the communities,” he said.
In recent weeks, the government has faced backlash after announcing its intention to enforce immigration laws and deport undocumented migrants, even those impacted by Dorian.
In the immediate aftermath of the storm, the government announced that the repatriation of storm victims, who are undocumented migrants, was on hold.
When asked if he supports the government’s stance on immigration post-hurricane, Manchester told The Nassau Guardian, “Yes, I do as a private citizen, but I do not speak on behalf of the United States or The Bahamas.”