NASSAU, The Bahamas – While speaking during his Budget Wrap Up, in the House of Assembly, on June 16, 2022, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis pointed out that, while The Bahamas was finally moving in the right direction, times were still tough.
“Many Bahamians are back to work, but we have a lot more to do, to make sure that everyone who wants to work can work,” Prime Minister Davis said.
He added that one of his guiding principles – one of his core beliefs – was that every Bahamian deserves to live a life of dignity and purpose.
“We know what we need to do to make that aspiration real,” Prime Minister Davis said. “We need to create more opportunities, empower more people and we need to make sure people are educated and trained to take advantage of those opportunities.”
“We need to strengthen tourism and – at the same time – grow and diversify our economy,” he added. “We need to create stronger ladders to success. We need more Bahamians to participate in our economy as owners.
“We need to mentor and hold up our young people. And not just our young people – one of the most inspiring developments over the very tough last few years was the number of Bahamians of all ages who started new small businesses during the pandemic – taking lemons and making lemonade. Our people are making the most of their talents.”
Prime Minister Davis noted that it had been said that leaders inspire the people; but he thought about it the other way around – “the talent and tenacity of the Bahamian people were an enduring source of inspiration to me.”
“So, perhaps the most important thing I can convey to the Bahamian people today is that we understand what you are going through,” he said. “We see the obstacles in your path, and we are determined to help you knock them down so that you can reach your full potential.
“We will measure our success by measuring the impact we have on our people.”
Minister Davis said that the truth was that, when one focuses on empowering people, everything else falls into place. He added that a growing economy, fiscal stability, and social change were achieved by prioritizing people-driven policies.
“That is why this budget was built on three pillars: providing relief, generating opportunity, and increasing security,” Prime Minister Davis said.
He pointed out that Bahamians needed relief so they could “make ends meet”.
“Lower prices at the cash register, increased wages for public servants, and increased social assistance are all major priorities in this budget,” Prime Minister Davis said. “People cannot fulfill their potential if they cannot afford the basics.
“The impact of the global inflation crisis must be addressed if we want people, and our country, to move forward.”
When speaking of opportunity, Prime Minister Davis said that his Government was empowering local entrepreneurs, diversifying the economy, and generating investments in key areas for future growth – laying the groundwork for a stronger, more inclusive economy.
“Building a more prosperous nation, lifting people up – these can only be done with new solutions,” he said. “This budget includes new policies to move our country past merely talking about the Orange, Blue and Green Economies – it’s time to realize their promise.
“This budget also has a special emphasis on enabling homeownership, with a variety of new policies that put the dream of homeownership within reach of more Bahamians.”
Prime Minister Davis noted that the policies were the best way to ensure young Bahamians continue to build their lives and grow their families here at home.
“And security, of course, must be prioritized alongside relief and opportunity, because when our neighborhoods are not safe, when our children are not safe, how can our communities and our people flourish?” he added. “This budget making increasing security a priority, with new funding for increasing community policing, increasing the operational capacity of the police force, and attacking the root causes of crime.”