PRESS STATEMENT BY
THE RIGHT HONOUORABLE PERRY G. CHRISTIE, M.P.
PRIME MINISTER & MINISTER OF FINANCE
ON COMMITTEE TO REVIEW AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE EXPIRATION OF CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF THE HAWKSBILL CREEK AGREEMENT AND OTHER APPROPRIATE MEASURES TO PROMOTE AND SUSTAIN ECONOMIC GROWTH IN GRAND BAHAMA
MARCH 5th, 2015
As indicated in my extensive presentation this morning at the Grand Bahama Business Outlook. I have called this Press Conference to announce a timely significant intervention which my Government is making with a view to charting a path forward to positively impact economic growth in Grand Bahama within a framework suited to the present and future, that also has due regard to the provisions of The Hawksbill Creek Agreement.
Certain provisions of The Hawksbill Creek Agreement with respect to exemptions on business licence fees and real property tax are due to expire in August of this year. For some time the Grand Bahama economy, despite the broad incentives and tax concessions under the Hawksbill Creek legislation, has remained stagnant with limited exceptions, thus adversely impacting economic growth in the private sector and Government revenues. In the absence of aggressive policy interventions to jumpstart a new round of development, and enhance returns on existing investments, Grand Bahama’s economic performance could remain sub-par relative to other islands in The Bahamas. Thus the expiration of these Hawksbill Creek Agreement incentives provides an opportunity for the Government to secure a comprehensive set of new arrangements which can spur economic development and increase the Island’s contribution to net fiscal receipts. Several months ago the Government retained the international consulting firm McKinsey and Co to consult with the Grand Bahama Port Authority and other stakeholders and to undertake a study of the economic situation within the Port Area, the implications of the expiring incentives, and measures which might be taken to spur economic development. McKinsey and Company has presented its Report to the Government.
Following upon the McKinsey Report, the Government has therefore appointed a Committee to hold discussions and negotiations with representatives of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, investors, relevant public, private sector and community interests, with a view to making appropriate recommendations to the Government on arrangements for securing both an economic package to promote more robust sustained growth, and a fiscal package that enhances Grand Bahama’s contribution to the Government’s revenue base.
In this regard there are several main objectives:
(i) Agree with the Grand Bahama Port Authority and principal licensees a long term economic development plan which both protect and promote the shipping, industrial, logistics, tourism, real estate and other commercial sectors as the focus for Grand Bahama Island;
(ii) Create a framework for immediate and long-term investment promotion on the island to attract investors which can operate assets competitively at a world class standard, and effectively and efficiently utilize the land resources with proper environmental safeguards;
(iii) Ensure that the mechanisms are in place to align the Grand Bahama Port Authority’s quasi-regulatory authority with the policies of the Government and that a regulatory framework exists in keeping with present and changing international business best practices.
(iv) Agree a suitable framework for property tax and business license that would note impede economic growth, and contribute along with other suitable measures to the enhancement of the Government’s revenue base.
The Committee will report to a Ministerial sub-committee chaired by the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. It is expected to conclude its work before the real property tax and business license exemptions expire in August 2015. The Committee is comprised of the following persons:
Dr. Marcus Bethel, Chairman
Sir Baltron Bethel
Mr. James Smith
Mr. Kevin Seymour, President Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce
Mr. Maurice Moore
Ms. Cassietta McIntosh
The Committee will carry out its duties in collaboration with and the support of the consulting firm of McKinsey and Company. It will be assisted by a technical team from the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Attorney General. The Ministry for Grand Bahama would coordinate administrative support.
My Government looks forward to the full cooperation of all concerned parties in facilitating the Committee’s work, and to a successful outcome of this important exercise.
Brave presentation in defence of Bahamas’ financial services reputation by PM Davis
By Sherrica Thompson
#TheBahamas, October 1, 2022 – Prime Minister of the Bahamas Phillip ‘Brave’ Davis is again calling for equality in the financial services sector and for the United Nations to leverage its universal jurisdiction for greater oversight of global anti-money laundering de-risking and tax cooperation matters.
In addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, September 24, Prime Minister Davis said the Bahamas is one of the best-regulated countries in the world, yet it has been under attack by international bodies and placed on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) blacklist while transgressions in the developed world are ignored.
He questioned why this was the case and highlighted some disparities in the financial sector.
“Why is it that European states that operate frameworks akin to that of high-risk or blacklisted countries, are not even eligible for inclusion on these lists? Why are all the countries targeted – all of them – small and vulnerable, and former colonies of European states? We find it astounding that the $2-$3 trillion dollars which is estimated to be laundered each year through the developed countries, are never flagged as causes for concern,” articulated Phillip Davis, addressing the 77th session in New York.
Prime Minister Davis further noted that there are elements of racism in the decision-making when it comes to regulating black-governed countries in the financial services sector. He also declared that black-governed countries matter as well.
And yet my country, which is widely recognized as one of the best-regulated countries in the world, and other countries like The Bahamas, are singled-out for such reputational attacks? The robust regulatory regimes of our Central Bank, Securities Commission, and Insurance Commission, are chastised on minor details of technical process, while much bigger transgressions in the developed world are ignored.
The evidence is mounting, that the considerations behind these decisions have less to do with compliance, and more to do with darker issues of pre-judged, discriminatory perceptions. Black-governed countries also matter.”
Davis also highlighted the need for reforms that apply to all in the global financial system.
“Mr. President: We support the call for reforms in the global financial system to make it more relevant to the needs of today. But those reforms need ambition. They need to go beyond the incremental. And they need to apply to all. For example, the community of international financial institutions are in a position to forgive the debt incurred by the economic shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. They should do so.”
Will US President Biden deliver on Climate Change funding?
By Dana Malcolm
#USA, October 1, 2022 – US President Joe Biden has reiterated his promise that low income countries, which are also low carbon emitters will receive increased climate aid from the US to the tune of $11 billion per year.
The President was speaking at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly recently where he maintained his administration was working with Congress to get the funds which would ‘help lower-income countries implement their climate goals and ensure a just energy transition.’
The plan was announced in September 2021 and is a reflection of the USA’s part in the 2010 global pledge made by developed countries to give $100 billion annually in climate financing to developing nations each year. Biden has indicated that the plan will be in effect by 2024.
While he stressed at the UN that the need is ‘enormous’ the President is having trouble convincing lawmakers at home. So far the funding which must be approved by Congress has not materialized. The United States Congress is known for having a particularly tight hold on the national purse in regards to climate change funding.
In fact congress dedicated only a little over $1 billion to climate change this year according to Bloomberg. The US also has a history of promising funding for climate change but not delivering on those high priced promises.
Whether this $11 billion will actually get to nations like those in the Caribbean region is yet to be seen.
This year, the General Assembly heard from 190 speakers, including 76 Heads of State, 50 Heads of Government, four Vice-Presidents, five Deputy Prime Ministers, 48 Ministers and seven Heads of Delegations according to General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi as he summed up the first in-person General Debate since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hurricane Ian impact on Cayman Islands
By Sherrica Thompson
#Cayman, October 1, 2022 – The Cayman Islands experienced fierce winds and high seas from Hurricane Ian on Monday, as the storm passed offshore, causing little lasting damage.
Some areas on the island experienced flooding as low-lying condo complexes and some residential back roads were inundated with water. Almost 4,000 homes were without power on Monday; however, most had electricity restored by the evening.
There were also no reports of any injuries, deaths, or serious structural damage. The country started its restoration process on Monday afternoon, clearing debris from the roads, surveying the damage and providing support to residents where needed.
“While we have been very fortunate to have been spared the worst of a potentially very serious storm, I’m extremely pleased to have seen the efforts made by the Caymanian public to prepare for ‘the worst, while praying for the best. In this situation, this is simply the safest, most strategic thing to do,” the Premier said
Despite the all-clear being issued on Monday evening, the Ministry of Education announced that government schools will remain closed to students until Wednesday, 28 September.
Meanwhile, in Cuba, authorities have declared emergencies in six areas, with forecasters warning of storm surges on the coast along with flash floods and mudslides.
Tens of thousands of people were told to leave their homes and seek shelter. Cuba could see up to 12 inches of rain from Hurricane Ian.
Hurricane Ian dramatically intensified and is blamed for at least two dozen deaths in Florida; where the storm struck with near category five force winds and a near 20 foot storm surge.
Over 700 rescue operations were activated in Florida in the aftermath of the storm, which is still wreaking havoc in the U.S.
Cayman photo credit: RC Cord
FIND US ON FACEBOOK
Health1 day ago
COVID Vaccine mandate expires Dec 31, TCIG stalled on ending it sooner
Bahamas News4 days ago
Glass Window Bridge envisioned as a symbol of resilience and sustainability says Works and Utilities Minister
Bahamas News4 days ago
AG Outlines Digital Assets Legislation at STEP LATAM Conference in Panama
News3 days ago
Governor says NO ONE is above the law and convenes tribunals for two high ranking Civil Servants
Caribbean News2 days ago
International GANG behind DEADLY crime wave says TCI Premier
News6 days ago
Open Letter to Governor Dakin
News2 days ago
No truth to rumor, Anya Williams will remain TCI’s Deputy Governor
Bahamas News3 days ago
Statement on Road Traffic Department