Bahamas says COVID has severely affected its tourism dependent economy


Story via CMC – The Bahamas, one of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, with a high number of cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) says the pandemic has severely affected its tourism-dependent economy.

Addressing the 50th General Assembly of the Organisation of American States, the country’s Permanent Representative, Sidney Collie, said while The Bahamas is no stranger to exogenous shocks, in recent times it has had to deal with a number of major hurricanes during the period 2015 to 2019; including Hurricane Dorian, the largest Atlantic storm in recorded history.

He said with respect to the current 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, an additional three named storms will result in the most active hurricane season on record and that “the frequency and intensity of these storms are no doubt aggravated by climate change; an existential threat for our region.”

He said the current on-going COVID-19 pandemic has severely challenged The Bahamas and all countries of the region.

Collie said that with the country’s economy relying heavily on tourism, the closure of the borders and restriction in the movement of people have resulted in a severe slowdown of economic activity.

Moreover, he said the growing challenges have highlighted the importance of moving beyond antiquated methodologies including the use of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in determining access to concessional financing.

“Such methodologies give no consideration to a country’s vulnerability to existential threats and ability to recover from external shocks,” the Bahamian diplomat said, expressing thanks to the OAS for its commitment to advocate for a review of the per capita income criterion.

Collie noted Nassau is of the view that when compared with other multilateral bodies, the OAS maintains a comparative advantage and provides value-added in the areas of capacity building, technical cooperation and support for human development – which are more important now than ever before.

He said The Bahamas remains steadfast in its belief in the Organization’s capacity to assist Member States in building resilience as the hemisphere confront the reality of the many challenges that continue to evolve in the economic, social and environmental spheres in the lives of the citizens of the Americas.

Foreign Minister Darren A. Henfield, was unanimously elected as President of the 50th General Assembly and urged member countries to hold an open, frank and constructive dialogue

“A time when every single country has had to urgently reset priorities to protect the health and survival of their citizens, to achieve food security, address social security needs, achieve diversification and technological modernization of their economies, while managing a complex pandemic together with resultant disruptions in the supply chain of basic medical and protective equipment,” Henfield said.

The OAS meeting ends later on Wednesday.

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