The government’s announcement that the demand for social assistance has grown significantly unfortunately has not come as a surprise to the Bahamian people. The government is not prioritizing the needs of struggling Bahamians.
Bahamians have been grappling and burdened with increased economic struggles for quite some time yet the government has not responded adequately. The hard truth is that the inflationary environment has been intensified by government’s decisions and inactions. The government put a 100% food tax on breadbasket items making it more difficult for many Bahamians to access particular grocery items.
In response, the opposition has repeatedly called upon the government to take VAT off breadbasket items, particularly as the UN and local NGOs both cited in reports that many Bahamians were going without meals. The government further added insult to injury by deciding to cut the social services budget by $32 million when the poor, marginalized and vulnerable needed it most. It was heartless.
The government pointing to the struggles of the Bahamian people is not a revelation. It is a reminder and recognition that the government has let the Bahamian people down. Struggling Bahamians have had to contend with two major challenges that have made their lives more difficult: An inflationary environment and a government that has not had their backs, particularly the most vulnerable among us. We call upon the government on behalf of struggling Bahamians to show the Bahamian people that it understands the pain and despair in our communities. Take VAT off breadbasket items and bring relief and prioritize the needs of the Bahamian people
Shanendon E. Cartwright M.P
Deputy Leader Free National Movement/Shadow Minister for National Security January 17, 2023