OPPOSITION LEADER SAYS PRIME MINISTER LOST ON STORM FISCAL IMPACTS

Aug 29, 2022

I read with sincere concern and astonishment the sad attempted rebuttal of the Prime Minister reported in today’s Nassau Guardian related to my earnest suggestion to him that he clarify his apparent misstatement on the impacts of climate events in the country for the period of 2015 to 2019. The Prime Minister erroneously stated that the $3.4 billion in estimated economic damage from Hurricane Dorian should be considered as a direct element of the overall national debt. It is reported that the Prime Minister stated: “Let’s start with what is our national debt and let’s start with what the loss and damage was that was occasioned by Dorian. It was about $3.4 billion. Think about our national debt and what percentage that was.”

I am frankly embarrassed to have to point out to the Prime Minister of our country that $3.4 billion sum is the estimate of the total economic damage – including private sector and public sector damages and losses – as estimated by a report commissioned by the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB) and published in November 2019. Indeed the lion’s share of that sum is in losses to private sector assets and commercial activity. That $3.4 billion sum is not an addition to our national debt. The portion of that loss that does contribute to the debt is the sum that the government borrowed to deal with the aftermath of Dorian and the loss of public sector income only. That same IDB report on page 148 estimated the loss of

public assets to be some $229 million.

Sadly, the Prime Minister is badly misinformed on the subject. That is a frightening prospect if we are now to conclude that his pronouncement to an international audience regarding the climate related contributions to our debt was based on his lack of understanding of some very simple concepts. We ask again that the Prime Minister examine the source of his information on the key contributors to our national debt and correct his statements as necessary. END August 25th 2022

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