Moments after being officially sworn in as member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama and as a senator, Kwasi Thompson released a statement assuring that the former Free National Movement (FNM) administration left a stabilizing economy and budding investment portfolio for the new Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administration to build on, including a comprehensive borrowing plan for the 2021/2022 annual budget.
Thompson, a Grand Bahama native, pleaded in his statement for Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis and his new Cabinet to expedite the projects the FNM left in place that were assured to begin to pull Grand Bahama out of economic doldrums.
He said the new government also met in place a slowly recovering economy after it suffered the dual shocks of Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘‘The PLP government met a recovering economy. This has been confirmed by The Central Bank of the Bahamas’s monthly economic report,” Thompson said.
“The PLP administration had the benefit of the quarterly reports, along with the fiscal strategy, the pre-election report and the first ever annual borrowing plan.
“It should be noted that the Central Bank has confirmed that the Minnis administration has not only left in place strong foreign reserves near $3 billion, but also a significant revenue increase well above 2021/2022 budget projections. The new PLP government has also been left with a working economic plan called the Accelerated Bahamas Recovery Plan, which has already provided positive results.
“In addition, the PLP government will also have the benefit of major investment projects in process. I urge the government to move without delay on investments in Grand Bahama, such as the West Atlantic Medical School, the Doctors Hospital project, the Grand Lucayan deal, the Carnival cruise port project, the $350 million Grand Bahama Shipyard project and the creation of a maritime center for the Americas.”
He added that the FNM, before losing the seat of power more than two weeks ago, approved many investments “vital to our full recovery”, including Sandals’ ongoing renovations of its Royal Bahamian property; the $75 million Aqualina project; Royal Caribbean and Carnival projects outside of Grand Bahama and the Nassau Cruise Port project.
Thompson also urged the new government to continue the implementation of Invest Bahamas. The PLP has in their plan something called Bahamas Invest to boost both foreign and domestic investment.
The PLP inherited a largely unfunded national budget and a recent credit rating downgrade. While Bahamians have yet to see what affect that will have on foreign currency borrowing, Thompson said the plan the FNM left in place includes Inter-American Development Bank guarantees that include reduced costs and interest payments.
“The Minnis administration’s economic policies have started us on the path of recovery and we stand ready to assist in any way to achieve our full recovery,” Thompson said.