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Davis Administration Clueless on Crime and Economy 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The disturbing news of three murders in less than 24 hours and a murder count standing at 23 for the year, paints the picture of a nation facing a crime wave. 



By Arinthia Komolafe

While our nation is facing a number of crises, the crime crisis has dominated the headlines since the beginning of 2024 as our streets have witnessed homicides at an alarming rate. The disturbing news of three murders in less than 24 hours and a murder count standing at 23 for the year, paints the picture of a nation facing a crime wave. 

Victims of these senseless killings are not statistics, they were our sons and daughters lost to violent crime leaving grieving families behind with long lasting impact on our society. We may never know the real impact of these barbaric acts on our people, law enforcement officers and the psyche of our nation. There are knock on effects of this crime crisis on our lives and the economy at large; the correlation is there for all to see.

The Government’s Response

Crime is not political and should not be politicized albeit Prime Minister Davis lacks the moral authority to preach this sermon due to his actions in publicly displaying murder numbers during the campaign leading up to the 2012 general election. Nevertheless one thing is certain, we need everyone to combat the crime problem but the government must lead this fight. 

In a pre-recorded and televised national address, the PM sought to articulate a plan to stem the tide of the crime wave that threatens to make Bahamians prisoners in their own homes. The PM missed an opportunity to hold a live address and answer pertinent questions from the media. The timing of the PM’s travel outside the country right after his national address on the crime crisis couldn’t have been worse. When considered against the fact that the PM is perceived by many Bahamians as a chronic traveler who is hardly in the country to attend to his responsibilities and on this occasion was caught on camera feeding chimpanzees in Africa, the optics were quite bad. More recently, pictures showing the PM having a good time at a production during another bloody weekend are circulating online begging the question: Is the government out to lunch? Who is advising our PM?

Quality of Life

An often forgotten aspect of the crime crisis is the negative impact it has on our quality of life. The alarming rate of violent crime robs our people of peace of mind and increases stress levels. The health of our people cannot be enhanced when they live on edge not knowing when or where the next homicide will occur.

Bahamians are deeply concerned about the security situation in the country with many opting to avoid or minimize their outings due to the fear of crime. When residents shun social events and decide not to patronize businesses, this has a direct impact on consumer spending and by extension the economy. Alternatively, there are individuals who choose to simply travel outside the country for leisure or shopping for safety reasons. Local businesses that employ Bahamians struggle without enough customers to remain open.

Economic Headwinds 

In the midst of the crime crisis, the Bahamian economy is facing its own challenges. The impressive tourism numbers simply do not tell the full story on the real state and trajectory of the Bahamian economy. The numbers mask the underlying cost of living crisis and the reality that we are not seeing this translated into an improvement in the quality of life of the average Bahamian.

The warnings from commentators on the headwinds facing our economy are being lost with the overwhelming number of crime incidents being reported as expected. However, these warnings and words of caution must not be ignored. 

Cost of insecurity

The crime crisis has forced many Bahamians to spend more of their discretionary and disposable income on reinforcing their security systems. While security firms stand to benefit from the crime wave, this leaves many persons with less funds to save or spend on essentials. 

Businesses have also had to increase their spending on the security of their employees, customers, goods and property. An increase in overheads without a corresponding increase in sales or profit margins could result in reductions in staffing levels. Further, this has a direct impact on the cost of goods and services as businesses ultimately pass this increased cost on to consumers. In a country already plagued by a cost of living crisis, this means that Bahamians need to brace themselves for more hardship. 

Tourism Goose

Tourism is the goose that lays the golden egg and contributes significantly to our Gross Domestic Product while ensuring that several Bahamians remain gainfully employed. It is an understatement to suggest that tourism is the lifeblood of our economy.

As expected, the PM, Minister of Tourism and Foreign Affairs Minister have sought to reassure tourists and potential visitors that The Bahamas remains safe. Unfortunately, the internet provides a gateway to information across the globe and social media ensures that news travels quickly. It doesn’t help that the US and Canada have issued travel alerts which have been broadcasted by global media. Hence, mere declarations by government  officials won’t alleviate all fears when our crime crisis is visible to the entire world. It would be naïve to suggest that the current scourge of high crime will not impact tourism if left unaddressed.   We must get this crime problem under control not just for tourists but for Bahamians and for the sake of our nation’s future.

Impending NIB increase

The challenges facing the National Insurance  Board (NIB) are not new and have been well documented. Reports and actuarial reviews have clearly stated what needed to be done to ensure that the Fund becomes sustainable. The absence of vision and the political will to execute the needed reforms has led us to this point. The proverbial chickens have now come home to roost. NIB rate hikes are expected this year and despite the pontificating by government officials, this will impact employment and prices.

Ease and Cost of Doing Business

The use of the catchphrase “ease of doing business” by the government has become tired and businesses are weary of the term because it has not translated into the requisite actions by administration after administration. The government’s propensity to operate in a vacuum and take an adversarial position when dealing with the business community has limited our gains from an efficiency perspective.

The failure to undertake essential reforms within the public sector and lack of accountability are recipes for a mediocre society. When considered against a business licence renewal process that has been a disaster in 2024 and major challenges at the Road Traffic Department, it is easy to see why we lag behind on this index. The government’s decision to go to Parliament and unilaterally implement a gigantic increase in boat registration fees without consultation only to defer implementation is another example of an out-of-touch administration. There is nothing easy about doing business under the Davis administration.

Budget Deficit 

It was recently reported that the Financial Secretary believes there is no need to panic about the possibility of the government missing its deficit forecast for 2023/24. This is despite the deficit hitting almost $120M during the first four of twelve months of the fiscal year which equates to 91% of the full year projection. 

There have been multiple warnings from multilateral  organizations, rating agencies and local professionals that the actual deficit could be as much as three times higher than the forecast albeit this has been dismissed by the government. The absence of an effective watchdog and the limbo in which the Fiscal Responsibility Council finds itself in deprives us of a proper check on the activities of this administration. It doesn’t help that the current administration has blatantly broken existing laws and conventions. The government continues to tax, spend and borrow while placing the burden on the populace. There is only so much that Bahamian taxpayers can take with their limited disposable income and the government will do well to think of this as they continue to increase the tax burden on the masses.

Government clueless

One of the major mistakes made by our political leaders is confronting issues in isolation and failing to see how intertwined the issues we face are. The challenges with crime, cost of living, ease of doing business, education system and immigration are connected to social services, NIB and the health of the economy.

It is unclear whether the current dismal approach to governance is as a result of insensitivity, incompetence, distractions, lack of focus or intentional and designed to frustrate struggling Bahamians. The absence of a comprehensive plan forces the government to make things up as they go. This approach would appear to work in moments of calm but spells disaster when there is pressure and the stakes are high. In the face of multiple crises, the current modus operandi is deficient, fails to provide a sustainable solution and places the administration on a hamster wheel. One thing is certain, the Davis administration is clueless on crime and the economy.