Categorized | National News

Davis Calls for Financial Relief During Health Crisis

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Davis wants the government to ease the financial burden many Bahamians may experience as COVID-19 threatens the economy.

During the PLP’s press conference on Tuesday, Davis pointed out several issues that need to be addressed urgently.

“The National Insurance Board must provide temporary unemployment assistance,” Davis said.

He also called for assistance to small and medium size enterprises (SME) and hotels that will be immediately affected and may be forced to reduce working hours and in some cases lay off staff.

“The Central Bank must strongly consider easing credit and lowering the cost of capital,” Davis added.

“Arrangements must be made with financial institutions to temporarily halt foreclosures and demonstrate forbearance with customers regarding loan payments.

“Measures must be taken to ensure that consumers aren’t being taken advantage of by ‘price-gouging.’”

However, Davis pointed out that the Water and Sewerage Corporation was correct to halt disconnections which were announced by its chairman on Monday.

“It would also be correct and effective to also consider the reconnection of those whose supply have been disconnected as water is an essential component to adequate hygiene,” Davis said. 

“It is also our view that it would be correct and effective if BPL would proactively support this national containment effort by similarly following the policy of the Water and Sewerage Corporation.”

He also noted that Bahamians need regular updates from the business community, particularly in industries like shipping, communications and energy.

Since the official report of a confirmed COVID-19 case in The Bahamas, all schools were closed as a response to the potential spread of the virus and Davis agrees with the government’s decision.

“We support the government’s order for the immediate closure of schools. Research has shown that closing schools can be critical to slowing the spread of a virus,” Davis said.

 “At the same time, such an action causes an immediate impact on families and the economy. We must provide support to parents who cannot work because they now must supervise small children, and we should take extra steps to protect children who will be left unsupervised.”

According to Davis, as a matter of urgency, school closure means that those students who rely on the school lunch program may be find themselves in an extremely difficult situation.

“We must ensure that children who rely on these programs are being fed, and the school lunch vendors who rely on income for their services must be supported as well,” he said.

The PLP leader also urged all Bahamians to band together to help the country in its fight to survive the coronavirus.

 “My fellow Bahamians, we’re all in this together. This is not ‘every man for himself.’  We cannot ask only how to keep ourselves and our families safe,” Davis said.

“We are called to harness our compassion and service to protect our neighbours and our communities, with a special obligation to lift up the most vulnerable among us. Every organization, every church, every club, everyone in The Bahamas must ask the same question, what can we do to help?”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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