NASSAU, BAHAMAS – United States President Donald Trump has expressed his concern about the impact that travel advisories issued by the US may have on The Bahamas and other countries, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis revealed on Saturday.
“The President was very concerned about how that was impacting us,” Dr. Minnis told the media during a briefing at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA).
The nation’s chief was speaking upon his return from a multilateral meeting held last Friday, March 22, 2019, between Caribbean Heads of State and US President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago, Palm Beach, Florida.
He was one of five Caribbean leaders invited by President Trump to discuss matters of mutual interest between the region and the United States of America.
President of Haiti Jovenel Moise, President of the Dominican Republic Danilo Medina, Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness and Prime Minister of St. Lucia Allen Chastanet also attended the meeting.
Last month, on Feb. 25, the United States issued a level two advisory, warning US residents to exercise extreme caution when travelling to The Bahamas.
The prime minister said when a travel advisory is issued, this is significant because 80 per cent of the country’s GDP comes from tourism and the country is doing very well in tourism at this particular time.
He also noted that leaders of other Caribbean countries who attended Friday’s meeting shared the same view about US-issued travel advisories.
The prime minister said the government interprets travel advisories as a means to inform the citizens of a country that they should be aware of the problems that exist, but advisories should not initiate fear.
“So we brought that point across and the president was very concerned about how that [travel advisory] is impacting us,” the prime minister said.
“I would have also pointed out that when one looks at the amount of criminal attacks or the involvement of the American tourists versus our population it is very [small]. We are talking about .004 per cent of Americans who have been affected [by crime], which is negligible.”
Dr. Minnis said what was of greater concern is the fact that it appeared as if many of the travel advisories were being recycled.
“Some of the information that was on the travel advisory is not pertinent today because buildings and restaurants that they may have referred to no longer exists,” the prime minister said, adding that a more up-to-date analysis is needed.
“The president had directed the individuals who are responsible for that aspect [of issuing advisories] to have a look at it and deal with it as appropriately as possible,” he said.
The prime minister said it was also pointed out to the U.S. president that it was essential for The Bahamas and the United States to have a great relationship because the US and Bahamas were not only neighbours, but Bahamians spent a lot of money in the United States.
“In other words, the better we do, the better they do. If we are negatively impacted they are negatively impacted,” the prime minister said. “For every American tourist that enter our shores, eighty cents of every dollar go back to the United States and therefore as our tourist market grows, the Florida market likewise grows.
“If we deteriorate, the Florida market likewise deteriorates and therefore it is a great understanding of the symbiotic relationship.”
Meanwhile, a statement released Friday from the Office of Prime Minister following the prime minister’s multilateral meeting with Trump, outlined that other topics discussed included matters of hemispheric security, mitigating efforts for natural disasters and issues related to banking.
The statement said leaders also had the opportunity to meet separately with US National Security Adviser John Bolton.