For Immediate Release, Statement by Justin Smith, Economics Major- Saint John’s University and Member of the Progressive Liberal Party
In response to Moody’s changing of the Bahamas’ economic outlook 2019
A youthful and patent analysis of our economy.
I’ve long said, when the U.S sneezes the Bahamas catches the cold.
The American economy has seen rapid growth and outstanding progressive over the last two fiscal years. Employment is up, Investment is up, Consumer confidence is up. Domestic production is up. This is inextricably linked to the high influx of stopover visitors we’ve seen in The Bahamas recently, coupled with brutal winters in the NorthEastern/ MidWestern states and locally the Baha Mar development.
But whilst Moody’s has changed our economic outlook, locally there’s nothing much to show for it which reflects what Moody’s now reports. It is clear when you examine the state of people’s lives, the statistics don’t tell the whole story.
In The Bahamas, we have seen quite the reverse: higher unemployment, low consumer confidence, tax increases, infrastructural disrepair, a dire healthcare and education crisis, recurring labor unrest, a decaying social safety net, filled with holes as people fall through mercilessly, a decreasing middle class, minute investment and governmental austerity.
It is also interesting to note, that we have an entire island (Ragged Island), which was ravaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017, that still lacks basic and essential public services.
This is the true story of our economy and although we would like to grin with the government at the change of our economic outlook, our situation in reality is much too bleak. We cannot ignore the challenges we face, just to please international bodies and make the story sound good.
There is an urgent need for a progressive agenda, that will spark “real” economic growth, put our people back to work and restore consumer confidence.
Governmental investment into the economy must be key to creating new industries that will spark the creativity and unyielding potential of our people, especially those thousands of young people in search of new opportunities. Our people’s interest must be the subject of our foreign direct investment strategies. We must place a renewed and proactive focus on advancing our healthcare and educational systems, while ensuring that we seal the safety net.
This is our mandate, to alleviate the burdens of the Bahamian people and to wipe every tear from every eye.