Categorized | National News

McCartney Says GB Economy Needs Diversification

Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney recently described the country’s economic problem as a “double dependency syndrome.”

According to Mr. McCartney who was delivering a speech in Grand Bahama, the government needs to focus more on creating an economic and social environment that facilitates employment rather than just depending on foreign investors.

“The root of our economic problem in The Bahamas can be described as a double dependency syndrome,” he said.

“Most persons depend on the government for everything and in turn the government depends on foreign investors for everything. The problem is when foreign dollars stop flowing; everything comes to a grinding halt.”

He said it is the government’s duty to create an economic and social environment that facilities employment, entrepreneurship, innovation and ownership for its citizens and residents.

However, the DNA leader said the heart of such a mandate would be efficient governance, effective leadership and responsible management of the country’s assets.

While offering remarks during the DNA’s Grand Bahama meeting, Mr. McCartney said there is a need to strike a balance between the island’s natural touristic appeal and key industrial elements.

He added that successive governments have not embraced the idea of diversifying Grand Bahama’s tourism product.

“Presently much of the government’s efforts in tourism are focused within the city of Freeport, but what about East and West Grand Bahama?” he asked.

“While visitors appreciate the city experience, they come to The Bahamas to enjoy the Family Island charm which these smaller communities can offer. We cannot continue to ignore them. Instead we must promote those experiences in addition to the glitz and the nightlife offered by more central hotel attractions.”

Mr. McCartney said the government must also focus on building the industrial economy of Grand Bahama.

“We know from past and even present experience that industry can thrive here in Grand Bahama,” he said.

“The creation of an industrial and manufacturing park can create opportunities for training in some of the world’s most highly specialised fields; however this can only happen if there is a real and concerted effort to reduce energy cost.”

He added the cost of electricity on the island is simply “too high” and that it is bad for businesses and a burden for residents.

According to Mr. McCartney, an estimated 10,000 homes on the island are without electricity and for this reason the government must consider energy reform.

He said with the island’s “staggering” 19.5 per cent employment rate, high electricity cost and lack of opportunities for qualified Bahamians have stifled Grand Bahama and the countryeconomically and socially.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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