Bahamas must pay close attention to rising US/Iran tensions, says DPM

Bahamas must pay close attention to rising US/Iran tensions, says DPM
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Peter Turnquest

NASSAU, BAHAMAS- The Bahamas must pay close attention to global developments that can adversely impact its main industry tourism, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest said yesterday.

Turnquest was responding to questions over the escalation of conflict between the United States and Iran, ahead of a Cabinet meeting.

The US killed Iran’s Major General Qassim Suleimani, leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, in a drone strike last Friday.

According to the US Department of Defense, Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members.

Yesterday, Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned in a tweet the Iranian government ‘do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression’.

Outside Cabinet, Turnquest said: “You always have to be concerned with respect to global events because we are an open, vulnerable community and we depend particularly on the US market for much of our tourism.

He continued: “We have to watch patterns to ensure that our visitor source markets are not discouraged from vacationing and taking advantage of the beautiful environment we have here in The Bahamas.

“We have to watch oil prices because that can have a very negative effect on our overall cost in the destination. As it stands at the moment hopefully cooler heads will prevail and we will be able to avert any major hiccups.

Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCECO) chief executive Jeffrey Beckles recently suggested tension in the Middle East could ultimately have a trickledown effect on The Bahamas.

This became evident as global oil prices immediately rose following the United States’ drone strike that killed Soleimani.