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COVID crisis to make 25,000 Bahamians jobless; unemployment expected to soar to 30 percent says Prime Minister

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#Nassau, The Bahamas – May 13, 2020 – With each passing day, COVID-19 is devastating the Bahamian economy.

“Not since the outbreak of World War II over 70 years ago have we lived through such a devastating impact on our economy and the livelihoods of so many Bahamians. Tourism, trade and commerce are all suffering devastating and deep blows. We are in very difficult and uncharted waters,” said Dr. Hubert Minnis, Bahamas Prime Minister on Mother’s Day during a National Address. 

As the Caribbean region braces for what is forecast to be another high performing hurricane season, countries like The Bahamas, which is still reeling from the historic hit of Hurricane Dorian last year, may see the jobless rate soar to 30 percent.

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The Prime Minister shared, “Based on applications to NIB, more than 25,000 people have been laid off or have lost their income to date.   This number will likely increase.    The initial numbers from the Treasury indicate that the tax revenues for April were just about one-half of what was collected in April, 2019.    Our unemployment rate in the near term will likely exceed an unprecedented and extraordinary 30 percent.  The entire global economy is in freefall and in unchartered territory.”

It is excruciating imagery, to accept that 25,000 Bahamians will be unemployed and as many as 12,000 others, who are work permit holders will be without a job and an income.  The future looks grim, and the Prime Minister on Mother’s Day did not attempt to paint a rosy picture.

“Even the most powerful and developed countries in the world have entered into deep recession with very high unemployment and the loss of scores of businesses, especially in service industries like tourism, hospitality and entertainment.”

It is true that the International Monetary Fund, a month ago in a video statement told the global community that the crisis precipitated by the continuing impact of the Coronavirus contagion would bring about a global recession akin to the Great Depression, which  tragically spanned a decade beginning in October of 1929.

“The IMF predicts that the economic fallout will surpass “that seen during the global financial crisis a decade ago,” said Dr. Minnis.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva

The Bahamas, according to the nation’s chief, is forecast to see its economy contract by 14 to 20 percent; a one-year decline.  And the driving engine, Tourism, is severely stalled.

“Our closest economic partner, the United States of America, is now seeing job losses like that of the Great Depression. By some estimates, our economy may shrink by between 14 to 20 percent during 2020.  This will represent a historic one-year decline.   Tourism, the leading engine of our economy, is being devastated.  Many businesses that closed during the lockdown are not confident they will be able to reopen once the restrictions are lifted.   We are facing a stark reality that the vast majority of us have never seen in our lifetimes,” explained Dr. Minnis.

On May 27, The Bahamas is expected to hear the fiscal plan by Dr. Hubert Minnis’ FNM Government Administration, when it presents the National Budget.

“It will be a budget that is shaped to match the unprecedented nature of the times we are living in.   What I will say at that time is that your government will ensure that social welfare allocations are expanded to meet the basic food and other core needs of those economically displaced because of COVID-19.”

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Bahamas News

UB Statement: Portia M. Smith Building Under Assessment

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#The Bahamas, January 27, 2023 – In response to concerns expressed, University of The Bahamas released a notification on Thursday 26th January 2023 that effective immediately the Portia M. Smith Building at the Oakes Field Campus is closed until further notice as a precautionary measure.

Immediate steps have been taken to engage the Ministry of Environmental Health to conduct a thorough assessment of the building. In the interim, personnel assigned to Portia M. Smith have been instructed to work remotely to maintain the continuity of operations. A further communication will be issued once the assessment has been completed as we continue to provide timely updates.

Please be assured that the health, safety, and welfare of members of the University community and the general public are paramount and we are working with urgency to address this matter.

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Bahamas News

Statement From The Ministry  of Foreign Affairs – On Order  For All Bahamians  To Leave Haiti

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#TheBahamas, January 26, 2023 – The Prime Minister  has ordered an immediate involuntary  departure from Haiti  of all diplomatic  personnel or as soon as security conditions  permit.Up to this time, there was a voluntary departure order in place and all staff at the embassy  chose to stay.  Per the new instructions, they are to leave for home as soon as conditions  permit.  This is only a temporary  measure in light of recent developments  which require a corporate  security and intelligence  assessment  and restaging.This morning  the Chargè  reported that they had been stopped by Haitian police and relieved of their vehicle and weapons. This is part of a protest by the Haitian National Police against  their own authorities.All of our diplomats are personally  safe.There also is a report  of 5 Bahamians from Bahamasair who landed at Port Au Prince Airport who were unable to leave the environs of the airport.  They are all safe and well.  The security situation  appears less stable over the past three days in the country, and we are taking steps out of an abundance  of caution.The pattern of security concerns is one of ebb and flow and these withdrawals are sometimes  necessary  to regroup.  The Security Forces  in our country have been alerted to these developments.  As soon as conditions  permit a team will be sent back into Haiti without further announcement.PLQ
Courtesy of BIS

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Bahamas takes in 396 Haitian migrants; shocking interception

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

 

 

#TheBahamas, January 25, 2023 – In what is being described by Bahamian officials as one of the largest human smuggling incidents in the region, 394 Haitian migrants were intercepted by the United States Coast Guard near Cay Sal Island on Saturday, January 21.

According to immigration officials in The Bahamas, the migrants will be processed on the island of Inagua and later repatriated.

US Coast Guard spokeswoman Nicole Groll described the condition of the intercepted boat to the Associated Press on Monday. She said, “it was grossly overloaded and very much unsafe.”

The officials did not provide any further information on the matter.

The recent apprehension brings the total number of Haitian migrants intercepted in Bahamian waters since the start of the year to just over five hundred (500) persons.

Due to the worsening humanitarian, a surge in gang violence and deepening political instability in Haiti, thousands of Haitians are fleeing their country in search of a better life for themselves and family.

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