— South Florida sun-sentinel —22 December 2020
— forbes —19 December 2020
— vice —15 December 2020
— reuters —9 December 2020
— theguardian —30 November 2020
— ewnews —20 November 2020
— ewnews —20 November 2020
— ninelinenews —9 November 2020
"Tourism is not only too susceptible to global events — especially those affecting North America — but a vehicle of oppression and a microcosm of a society. People in critical positions — housekeeping, security, and food service — are paid low wages, increasing their dependence on tips and, by extension, deference, subservience, and the inability to say no. They work erratic shifts, miss special family occasions, and completely exhaust themselves if they pursue a degree to facilitate a career change."
Inter-American Development Bank says the percentage of households reporting income below the minimum wage increased from 16.1 percent in January to 47.6 percent in April.
The Grand Bahama Shipyard has terminated 27 workers, including several long-serving managerial staff, due to a further slump in business caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Shipyard lost its largest dry docking facility when it collapsed in summer 2019. Its major shareholders, Carnival and Royal Caribbean, which each hold a 40 percent equity stake, had been planning to invest up to $100m in a replacement dock that was billed as the "largest" such floating facility to be built anywhere in the world over the past decade. However, the cruise industry's COVID-19 enforced shutdown, which has forced Carnival and Royal Caribbean to each raise billions of dollars in additional financing to help them ride out a period in which they are earning zero revenue, is likely to mean fresh investment will be placed on the backburner for a while.
International agencies put the total cost of the impact and effect of Hurricane Dorian on The Bahamas at $3.4 billion, about a quarter of the country’s GDP, comprising 72 per cent in damage, 21 per cent in losses and seven percent in additional costs — with the private sector absorbing about 90 percent of the losses.
"It was astounding to hear the prime minister in a press conference held yesterday, announce certain key incentives for economic recovery on Grand Bahama that included no mention of the hundreds of businesses and thousands of homes and rental properties in Freeport left damaged, closed and uninhabitable due to unprecedented storm surge inundation caused by Hurricane Dorian." Nassau Guardian.
Secretary-General’s remarks at press encounter after his visit to Abaco Island. "I must say was horrified. I've never seen such a level of systematic devastation. Hurric'ane Dorian has been classified as category five. I think it's category hell."
"One of the possible forms of support the UN has been working on and studying and proposing is exactly the possibility to swap part of debt into investments in resilience and reconstruction." Ignore the typo in the UN summary that speaks of depth rather than debt. It shows how little many officials understand of the financial jargon used . For some concrete proposals and an explanation of how debt restructuring could work, see this report from the UN Trade Forum by St Lucia (LINK to PDF)
PO8, a blockchain company headquartered in Marsh Harbor, Abaco - perhaps the worst hit island by Hurricane Dorian - announced it has set up a relief fund pledging that for every dollar worth of crypto donation, PO8 will match it 100%. All donations will be made to the BBHDRF a multi-signature digital wallet managed partly by the Administrator of Freeport Grand Bahama and the Bahamas Rotary Clubs. PO8’s blockchain platform aims to democratize access to marine archeological artifacts by establishing their provenance and preventing their sale.
Initial aerial assessments released overnight confirm widespread devastation to the islands. According to national and regional authorities, it is estimated that approximately 76,000 people – the vast majority of residents on the two islands – have been affected. The most vulnerable group may include some of an estimated 4,400 children under 15, as well as approximately 1,600 older people. The IFRC appeal is seeking about 3.2 million Swiss francs (US$ 3.2 million). It focuses primarily on providing short- and mid-term shelter assistance to families, as well as replacing lost and necessary household goods such as lamps, cell phone chargers and tarpaulins. Red Cross volunteers and staff will also distribute hot meals and food rations to people who may have gone without food in days, before shifting their focus to distributing cash grants. This approach gives people the agency to make their own decisions about what they need, and helps inject cash into local economies.
Other interventions include health, psychological support, water, sanitation and hygiene, and activities designed to prevent and respond to violence against vulnerable groups, including sexual and gender-based violence.
IFRC has already released 500,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to ensure an immediate supply of cash for the response teams on the ground.
According to Philip Klotzbach, a hurricane specialist and researcher at Colorado State University, Dorian was the strongest Atlantic storm on record to venture so far north. It also tied for the dubious title of strongest hurricane wind speed at landfall in the North Atlantic Ocean Basin since records began in the late 1800s. Upon reviewing radar data, it appears that Pelican Point, a small community on the eastern side of the island, experienced a continuous 25 hours and 22 minutes (give or take a few minutes) in the eyewall. Early Monday monring, Pelican Point then saw a lull of about eight hours, during which point it was nestled in Dorian’s eye. Freeport, a community of about 27,000, narrowly missed the worst of the winds in the inner eyewall. However, continuous onshore 100 mph winds stubbornly pushed an extreme surge ashore, probably causing significant damage in the popular vacation destination. Washington Post. (LINK)
Over a nine month period during the last fiscal year, the FNM government borrowed money four times and extended the overdraft facility at Royal Bank three times just to meet the public payroll. The government’s overdraft is now up to $102 million and Royal Bank has cut the FNM government off — refusing to give them one penny more.