Connect with us

Bahamas News

‘Friendship Agreement’ coming for TCI & The Bahamas says Premier & Grand Bahama Minister



By Deandrea Hamilton



#TheBahamas, February 20, 2023 – Thirty years since he’d been to Grand Bahama Island and Washington Misick, Premier of the Turks and Caicos on an official visit to the Bahamas’ second city admitted the audience for his event was impressive.

“To be honest with you, I don’t think we can pull that crowd back on Turks and Caicos.  I was totally surprised to have such a large audience, pleasantly surprised,” said Misick responding to media questions following the over-booked meeting arranged for Bahamians of Turks and Caicos heritage.

Over 300 people were said to have filled the ballroom of the Grand Lucayan resort in Freeport, Grand Bahama.  In the invitation only meeting and a beginning for closer relations between the two countries, an official plan was laid bare.

“As the economy expands, there are needs for more people to come and we want to give our own bloodlines the first dibs on job opportunities.  But not only job opportunities, business investment, he said.

Ginger Moxey, Minister for Grand Bahama beamed at the opportunity to partner with the TCI Government on the official visit, which drew curious residents to a first of its kind initiative.

“We have such a strong bond with the Turks and Caicos and so we are delighted for him to be here and for so many Belongers to see their premier.  We have already started to talk about a Sister City relationship because the bonds already exist,” said the minister when questioned, adding, “You know Turks and Caicos Islanders were some of the ones who were responsible for the development of the City of Freeport back in 1955…they’ve brought so much value to the Grand Bahama economy and to the way we live.”

The idea that there is a deep pool of human resources in The Bahamas which could help to fill the employment needs is not a new concept; companies like Beaches Turks and Caicos, the Hartling Group and Graceway Supermarkets have all been fishing for career seekers in Grand Bahama.

The premier said, his government knows that the issue of housing for anyone who does seize the offer to come back or apply for citizenship status in the TCI, will have to be addressed.

“The process is that if you are a status holder, then you are just coming back home.  The issue is going to be finding places to live.  We have a real problem when it comes to housing,” offered Misick as he acknowledged the country’s booming tourism industry has created a conundrum.

Grand Bahama is the island in the northern Bahamas still rebounding from seasons of ferocious hurricanes including, the most treacherous in modern history, 2019’s Hurricane Dorian.  Grand Bahama is also the island which absorbed and then thrived when waves of Turks and Caicos Islanders relocated to the archipelago north of them to support the budding pine timber industry.  Back then, it was a win-win situation – good employment and embrace by The Bahamas Government and for The Bahamas, a capable and steady workforce able to grow this new area of commerce.

Turks and Caicos Islanders eventually blended in.  While some returned home, many more remained and raised their families with heaviest concentration of those with TCI heritage said to be in islands like Abaco and Grand Bahama.

Today, the Turks and Caicos is eager to tap into the tens of thousands of descendants who would qualify for citizenship under the current law, where Turks and Caicos Islands Status is a right up to the second generation.

“I think as I see the future for TCI and The Bahamas I could see where the relationship will become stronger and stronger and where the flow of talents and skills will be facilitated because of our friendship agreement which we hope to enter into.”

The Grand Bahama minister is already well placed to progress swiftly in the ideas both leaders had shared; being a former vice president of the Grand Bahama Port Authority and the current International Representative for the Sister City program.

The Minister supported this notion sharing, “we have discussed the Sister City relationship which is really about business exchange, cultural exchange, tourism, humanitarian and educational exchanges.”

Both the Premier and the Minister agreed, that while the word ‘city’ was being used, the plan is more grand in scale and has the potential to formalize a familial and geographical alliance for The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos.

Bahamas News

Kamala Harris to meet with Caribbean leaders in The Bahamas



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer



#USA, June 5, 2023 – Kamala Harris, United States Vice President will journey to Nassau Bahamas in June for a top level meeting with Caribbean  leaders, marking the first time she will visit the region since occupying office in 2021.

According to the White House in a statement, the meeting will bring attention to a range of regional issues.  Harris and the Caribbean leaders will continue talks on the shared efforts to address the climate crisis, such as promoting climate resilience and adaptation in the region and increasing energy security through clean energy.

Additionally, the statement informed that Harris’ trip “delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance cooperation with the Caribbean in pursuit of shared prosperity and security, and in recognition of the common bonds and interests between our nations.”

The June 8th meeting builds on and strengthens the U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030, which was launched by the Vice President and Caribbean leaders in Los Angeles at the Summit of the Americas as further mentioned by White House Statement.

Continue Reading

Bahamas News

PM Davis ‘confident’ that Revenue Outturn will near $2.9 billion




Bahamas Information Services



#NASSAU, The Bahamas, May 30, 2023 – Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis said in the House of Assembly, on May 31, 2023, that public revenue receipts were strong over the nine-month period of July 2022 to March 2023, due to legislative reform, effective policy decisions, strengthened economic conditions and more efficient collection efforts.

“Analysis of the trends of the first three quarters of this fiscal year, and the years prior, suggest that the government is potentially set to exceed the $2.85 billion target set forth in the February 2023 Mid-year Supplementary Budget,” he said, during his Communication on Budget 2023.

“I am confident the revenue outturn at the end of the Fiscal Year 22/23 will near $2.9 billion.

Public spending has remained on track, and is well within the budgeted amount,” Prime Minister Davis added.  “For this reason I am confident that expenditure at end of the Fiscal Year 2022/23 will almost reach the target of $3.1 billion set in the Supplementary Budget.”

He pointed out that the primary balance will, therefore, record a surplus of $68.4 million at the end of the fiscal year, a $54.8 million increase from the $13.6 million surplus projected in the supplementary budget.

“Likewise, the overall deficit is expected to improve to $520.6 million, down from the $575.4 million outlined in the supplementary budget,” he said.

Speaking of Government financing, Prime Minister Davis said that The Bahamas’ borrowing costs had begun to experience a downward trend in the previous quarter; but the cost of borrowing rose at the end of March 2023.

“At the end of the third quarter, the total average cost of borrowing for current outstanding debt had risen to an interest rate of 5.55 percent,” he pointed out.  “This is notably higher than the previous year’s rate of 4.93 percent at the end of March 2022.

“This increase in borrowing costs is primarily attributable to the higher costs associated with external loan facilities.”

He added that, more specifically, the average interest rate for external financing had risen by 1.99 basis points, resulting in a rate of 5.55 percent as of March 2023, compared to the preceding year’s 3.56 percent.

“Throughout the past year, the interest rate policies of the major Central Banks have been restrictive, with a series of interest rate increases,” Prime Minister Davis said.  “These adjustments have been primarily motivated by the escalation of inflation, and the resulting upsurge in interest rates has had an impact on the Bahamas’ external borrowing costs.”

He added: “However, the cost of borrowing in the domestic market has been declining over the past quarters.

Looking at it in more detail, we can see that:

  • The average interest cost for domestic loans subsided by 27 basis points to 4.62 percent at end of March 2023, from 4.89 percent in the previous year;
  • And the average interest cost for domestic bonds subsided by 3 basis points to 4.63 percent at the end of March 2023 from 4.66 percent in the previous year.”

Prime Minister Davis noted that those statistics affirmed the Government’s latest medium-term debt strategy, which aimed to shift its borrowing away from costly external commercial debt.

“Such debt has seen a sharp increase over the past five years, including recent interest rate hikes,” he said.  “This strategic move will enable the government to once again rely predominantly on the domestic market to meet its financing requirements.”

Prime Minister Davis pointed out that, when considering the maturity of debt, or the average time it takes to repay the principal amount in the government’s debt portfolio, a longer maturity period led to a reduction in refinancing risk.

“In essence, prioritizing longer maturities is key to managing debt effectively,” he said.  “And so another element of the government’s medium-term debt management strategy is the goal of prolonging the average maturity time of its debt.”

Prime Minister Davis said that, in the face of “unprecedented turbulence” in the global financial markets, the Government was able to maintain its average time to maturity.

“At end of March 2023, the average time to maturity has decreased slightly to 6.7 years, down from the previous 6.8 years in March 2022,” he said.  “This variance is due solely to the external loan component, as the average time to maturity on internal debt has remained steady at 7.1 years.”

“This highlights the significance of maintaining a prudent approach to debt management, and aligning this administration’s practices with the government’s optimal debt strategy,” Prime Minister Davis added.

“It is imperative that we continue to exercise prudence in this area to ensure financial stability.”

(BIS Photos/Ulric Woodside)

Continue Reading

Bahamas News

PM states HCA model not working during budget debate




Bahamas Information Services



#FREEPORT, Grand Bahama, May 30, 2023 – The model of the Hawkbill Creek Act, the agreement between the Government of The Bahamas and the Grand Bahama Port Authority, is not working, said Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis during the opening of the 2023 Budget Debate on Wednesday, May 31 in the House of Assembly.

The island of Grand Bahama, he said, contributes 12 percent of the country’s GDP, however, there was a decline by 9 percent when compared to the previous year. Tourism, he said, increased in 2022 showing a growth in accommodation and food service.

“Unfortunately, the statistics show a prolonged decline in the Grand Bahamian economy. The evidence confirms the view of my government that the Hawksbill Creek economic model, which was meant to attract foreign direct investment, does not work.

“Furthermore, in our view, the government model of the Grand Bahama Port Authority must change, in order to realize the promise, growth and prosperity we all desire.

“Additionally, the Government of The Bahamas has serious concerns regarding the compliance of the GBPA and its related companies with the terms and conditions of the Hawksbill Creek Act, and its subsequent amendments.”

In the past, said the Prime Minister, administrations have attempted to address the issues however they appear to be “systemic and fundamental.” Decisive action will be taken, he continued, and a separate detailed announcement will be made at another time.

Prime Minister Davis mentioned that even though the GDP for several islands has experienced growth, Abaco and Grand Bahama have not done as well. Abaco, he said, saw a decline of 6 percent in 2022 with its contribution to the economy at 2.8 percent ranking the island as the third largest contributor.

“While there was a slight improvement in Abaco’s economy compared to 2019, it has yet to reach the levels seen before Hurricane Dorian. The decline in the economic activity is directly related to the slowdown in the real estate and construction sectors.”

He continued, “Declines in the real estate sector are directly as a result of a shift to higher intermediate consumption in 2022 from that of the previous two years. In terms of declines in construction, it should be noted that in 2020 and 2021, Abaco experienced significant recovery efforts in the form of debris removal, site preparation and building of damaged structures.

Such efforts bolstered the value added to the island’s GDP during those years. As those efforts wrap up, the industry saw a gradual decline as construction tempered to normal levels in 2022, resulting in a lower GDP.
Additionally, the Prime Minister said the Grand Bahama International Airport will be repaired, and a new healthcare facility will be built. Provisions have also been made for the continuation of an employment program for $4.7 million, along with the construction of a 50-meter swimming pool facility.

The House of Assembly has adjourned until Wednesday, June 7, when the debate will continue.

(BIS Photo/Ulric Woodside)

Continue Reading