The government must do more than “pay lip service” to the recommendations of the Economic Recovery Committee (ERC), Chairman of the Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) Michael Scott said yesterday, adding that the government will have to engage the private sector to do things that it can do more efficiently than government.
Scott, who was a panelist on a webinar held by the University of The Bahamas (UB) and TDC, said The Bahamas is in an extremely vulnerable position because of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“The post-COVID-19 brave new world is going to be radically different from the world that we just left behind. We’re going to have to adjust and adjust quickly and this cannot be possible and will not be possible without the full engagement of the private sector, because the private sector is the engine of the economy,” Scott said.
“While we look at what changes should be made to our tourism model – because for the time being tourism is still the prime generator of revenue for the country – we need to adjust the roles and the interaction required between the private sector and the government.
“My hope is that the government would for once do more than pay lip service to the reports and recommendations of the committee (ERC).”
Scott said The Bahamas will likely have no economic help outside of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Inter-American Development Bank IDB). He contended that that is the kind of help the country does not want to have to turn to.
“The only help that we have and that will come at a very significant price, is the IMF, because if they come in there’s going to be a lot of cost cutting in this country and there is going to be a heavy price to pay,” he said.
“And if we’re not careful, we could end up in a situation where we’re back following the negative road map laid down by Jamaica.”
Scott explained that in order to get The Bahamas’ economic lifeblood tourism going again, testing will be essential and the use of technology will be necessary.
“We will have to ratchet up our ability to test because we can’t quarantine visitors for 14 days,” he said.
“We have to open sooner rather than later, or else we’ll have severe financial consequences. We have to look at ratcheting up our ability to test, we have to test often and we have to bring in the technology that will allow us to do effective contact tracing, because that, in my respectful opinion, is the key to be able to open safely.”