DPM remarks at Commonwealth Secretariat Meeting of Finance Ministers

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At an annual meeting of Commonwealth Ministers of Finance in Washington, DC, today, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K. Peter Turnquest expressed the heartfelt thanks of the country for the many expressions of empathy and support to The Bahamas from the Commonwealth Secretariat and fellow Commonwealth nations in the aftermath of the destructive Hurricane Dorian. Several member countries provided in kind and cash donation to the relief effort, which Minister Turnquest emphasized were being “utilized strictly to provide relief to those now homeless and jobless, and as a result vulnerable to many social and financial risks”.

“It is the government’s commitment to ensure continued accountability and transparency in this regard as we reach out for further global support to address this recovery challenge and to face the daunting task of making tangible steps to implement the resilience lessons learned from this experience,” said Minister Turnquest. During the meeting, Minister Turnquest raised several critical issues pertaining to the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), pushing the Secretariat to extend its work to better address the challenges faced by small fiscally vulnerable states like The Bahamas in light of the climate crisis. “In this regard the promotion of Green Bonds, Social Bonds and other financing options to address climate resilience in particular, is critical and useful as is the need to reassess the categorization of high income/highly vulnerable Small Island Developing States (SIDS),” said
Minister Turnquest.

“It is also critical to address in a real way the challenges posed by risk evaluations of SIDS and off shore financial centers.

The effects of which goes further than just tax transparency and tax competition, to real risk to financial stability of member states and access to correspondent bank relationships and cross border trade on which we depend. Adjustments must be made to protocols to ensure that unfair and negative risk assessments that cannot be reasonably mitigated without creating another more predictive disaster, one of financial collapse due to uncompetitiveness of otherwise stable countries, is minimized,” said Minister Turnquest.

“Climate refugees and internal and external migration is also an area that requires urgent attention and thought. Our recent experience shows that quite apart from economic migration, which we are familiar with in our region, disasters are posing a new risk and burden on
neighboring states.

Protocols and who, what and where considerations must now make its way onto the front page of climate risk considerations as these realities become more and more relevant,” said Minister Turnquest.

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