Turnquest: Govt. in ‘wait and watch game’

Turnquest: Govt. in ‘wait and watch game’
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest (FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The decision by several major resorts to push their opening dates back to the Fall will not have any ‘material impact’ on the government’s fiscal projection’s, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest said yesterday.

Turnquest explained the government was not projecting any significant uptick in arrivals until the Fall  during a Ministry of Finance press conference on the start of the new fiscal year.

He said: “The important thing is we have budgeted for a late fall opening of the tourism sector. At this moment it does not materially impact our projections. We do have to watch developments as they occur and make adjustments particularly when we get down into the September time frame and do not have the kind of rebound that we anticipate.”

Turnquest added: “We would obviously have to re-forecast if that was the case but at the moment our forecast projects or is based around the assumption that we will not see a significant uptick in arrivals uptick in arrivals until late Fall, October time-frame. At the moment it is a wait and watch game.”

Baha Mar has announced that its properties will not reopen until October and has begun to cut hundreds of workers. Another resort on Cable Beach, Sandals Royal Bahamian has indicated that it will not reopen until November.

Yesterday, Turnquest said: “As we learn of layoffs associated with the tourism sector shutdown, these unfortunate outcomes will no doubt continue to create hardship for our people. Those workers represent hundreds of households and  thousands of mouths to feed. That is why we anchored our plan for the new fiscal year in the current  realities.

“That is why we chose to invest in families, communities, and businesses, who need the support of their government to survive this crisis and emerge ready for new opportunities. I want to implore Bahamians to take advantage of the available programs. Do not fall victim to the cynicism that often defines our local politics.”

He added:  “Critics will always make the argument that the Government could and should do more. These critiques do not change the fact that this budget has an unprecedented, massive and necessary allocation for social support programs to assist Bahamians in meeting basic needs. Bahamians cannot reap the benefits if they do not apply, utilize and take advantage. By all means, keep us accountable along the way, but I implore you to take advantage of the programs, and together.”