Cooper: The government has also done little to address the misery of thousands of Bahamian families
RESPONSE TO MOODY’S CHANGE OF ECONOMIC OUTLOOK Chester Cooper, PLP Deputy Leader, Exumas and Ragged Island MP February 23, 2019:
It was pleasing to see that Moody’s recently changed the country’s economic outlook from negative to stable.
Though it is regrettable that Moody’s has yet to change the country’s credit rating from the junk status it placed us in several years ago.
The reasons for the downgrade in the first place were questionable.
The delay in the opening of Baha Mar was caused by the developer’s inability to shepherd the project to completion.
In addition, numerous unpredictable hurricanes led to the erosion of GDP and a halt in revenue inputs.
The last administration oversaw the successful opening of Baha Mar and implemented sensible tax reform to shore up government finances.
And, thankfully, we have been spared a major hurricane for the first time in years.
Hopefully, the credit rating will move in the right direction as a strong U.S. economy continues to fuel growth in tourism.
Credit ratings and economic outlooks notwithstanding, the government should be careful about crowing about reports from international organizations.
We stand blacklisted by the EU and remain under constant threat by the OECD and the FATF.
The government has also done little to address the misery of thousands of Bahamian families as it applied massive tax increases and higher utility bills on the public.
Pretty books and lukewarm report cards from credit agencies will do nothing to stem the increase of joblessness and the erosion of domestic credit now being experienced.
The reality on the ground is being ignored by this administration as it apparently governs to please the ratings agencies and the IMF.
Public infrastructure is in decay, many of our schools are falling apart, businesses are closing under the strain, and families are finding it harder to make ends meet, whilst this administration cut social services benefits.
The government should take the view of the ratings agencies for whatever it’s worth, but meaningfully attempt to extract less from a population who cannot afford it, and focus on economic growth that will have a real impact on people’s lives.