NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas’ brand is strong in tourism but not much else, according to a top financial services executive, while stressing the need for investment in key infrastructure.
Gregory Pepin, Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Deltec Bank, said: “You can be the Singapore of the north, you can be the Singapore of the Americas but I can tell you, knowing how Singapore works, we as as far from being Singapore.
Pepin was speaking at a Bahamas Business Outlook webinar yesterday.
“That is the biggest problem. I have tried to put businesses here, I have tried to get businesses involved here and the challenge you have to make it happen does discourage you,” he continued.
“If you want to do business here other than tourism it is a challenge. The brand of The Bahamas is great for tourism. The brand of The Bahamas for everything other than tourism is not good.”
Pepin noted that while the government has continuously promoted its tech hub ambitions, internet affordability and the reliability of electricity.
“That’s where the government needs to be investing,” he said.
“The weather here is amazing, the country’s positioning is amazing; there are some hurricanes here and there but it’s one of the nicest places in the world to live. That doesn’t mean that people will want to come and invest here.”
Pepin said: “You have to invest in education, from kindergarten to university. You have to invest in infrastructure. How can you talk about a tech hub when you can’t get decent internet at a decent price. Internet is for the rich here.
“You can’t rely on the electricity provider. You need to buy a generator, you need to buy fuel. That is where the government needs to invest so that entrepreneurs can come and create.”