Beckles: Country will survive, but there will be ‘business casualties’

Beckles: Country will survive, but there will be ‘business casualties’
Jeffrey Beckles, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — While he believes country will survive the COVID-19 pandemic ‘bruised and battered’, Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) chief executive Jeffrey Beckles yesterday said there will be business casualties.

“We will survive this bruised and battered but there will be casualties,” Beckles said.

“The forecast is for a very rough time in the medium term and it’s not unique to The Bahamas. This is a global issue. Unemployment rates are expected to continue to climb but at the same time we are working with stakeholders to mitigate the extent to which unemployment rises.”

He said: “Bahamians however must be prepared to make adjustments. You may have to find yourselves working in a different environment than you were in January or February.  Some may have to work two jobs that’s a reality. There are adjustments on both sides.”

Beckles acknowledged that there is ‘no quick fix’ and urged citizens to continue to adhere to government mandated protocols. We must adopt a disposition of personal responsibility to ensure that we keep ourselves and our families safe.”

He noted that businesses in the tourism industry have been hardest hit due to the pandemic.

“As with every pandemic there will be casualties,” he said.

“We would be fooling ourselves if we think otherwise. There will be casualties in business. Our hope is to do everything in our capacity to help businesses stay in business.”

Beckles urged Bahamians who don’t have to travel to resist the urge, particularly to COVID-19 hot spots such as Florida.