IDB outlines The Bahamas’ deficiencies in various sectors

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) Latin American and Caribbean Macroeconomic Report 2019 points to range of deficiencies in The Bahamas’ utilities, road networks, technology, aviation and maritime sectors, while encouraging the use of public private partnerships to realize urgent upgrades.

According to the report, while the systems and network of roads within the country remain acceptable by developing economy standards, some areas request “urgent attention”.

“There is neither an adequate and efficient public transportation system, nor a public-school bus system,” the report read.

“With limited space to expand, primarily in New Providence, public safety concerns arise from increased vehicular density.”

Last month, the government passed amended road traffic legislation aimed at improving the safety of the motoring public, including criminalizing driving the using an electronic device while driving and having an open alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle.

The government has expressed concern over the number of road traffic fatalities in recent years.

According to statistics, there were 69 fatal traffic accidents in 2018, an increase of 28 per cent over 2017.

There have been 20 fatal traffic accidents for the year.

As it relates to the environment, the IDB said The Bahamas vulnerability and readiness indices were measured as 0.421 and 0.484 respectively, as “disastrous climatic shocks exacerbated by The Bahamas’ geography, fragile ecosystems and concentrated population make the nation’s infrastructure highly vulnerable to climate change and risk”.

The report recommended strengthening of preparedness and risk reduction policies, including setting up a natural disasters savings fund — something the Minnis administration embarked on last year.

In November, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced that the government will use funds gained by accessing dormant bank accounts to begin a Disaster Relief Fund.

At the time, the government estimated that it could receive an initial inflow of at least $41.3 million.