Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis noted, during his Contribution to the 2022/2023 Budget Debate, that with smart investments and innovative programmes, his Government is seeking to increase security for Bahamians “in our homes, in our communities, and at our borders”.
“We are also seeking health ‘security’ – in a world where the next COVID variant is always around the corner, we need the best protections from infectious diseases that an open economy can provide, and a stronger health care system so that Bahamians can receive quality medical care, when it comes to this disease or any other,” he said in the House of Assembly, on June 1, 2022.
“Promoting health security includes ongoing vaccination campaigns, a new wellness programme, the Catastrophic Care fund I spoke about earlier, funding for a new hospital in Freeport, funding for repairs and renovations to clinics throughout our islands, and more,” he added. “We also have allocated $500,000 for a new women’s centre, which will help women coping with problems from violence to unemployment.”
Prime Minister Davis pointed out that his Government included strengthening The Bahamas’ resilience to hurricanes and adverse weather events, via smart investments in infrastructure, planning and expertise, as a matter of national security as well.
“In that regard, we have already made progress with new Building Code standards designed for an era of climate change and adverse weather events,” he said.
“The Government has made a decision to renew the CRIF policy on the basis that risk components will be reassessed.”
Prime Minister Davis noted that his Government’s budget makes significant investments in the three core national security agencies, namely the Department of Corrections, the Royal Bahamas Police Force, and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force.
“We have allocated $6 million to fund the purchase of new vessels for the Defence Force,” he said.
“We have increased our capital allocation for our police, so that the CCTV and Spot Shotter are fully funded,” he added. We have added funding so that we can recruit more police officers.”
Prime Minister Davis said that, over the past four years, the force was not able to sustain recruitment levels to replace retiring officers, with the result that the force is now short some 900 officers.
“The Minister of National Security is emphasizing training opportunities, and will diversify staff, employ university graduates, and aggressively recruit officers until the force is at full strength,” he said.
“We’ve also added a substantial funding increase for Urban Renewal, to expand that programme’s presence and outreach in our communities.”
Prime Minister Davis noted that his Government will use a public-private partnership vehicle to invest in the construction of a new prison complex, one which “will offer more humane conditions and, for the first time, real opportunities for rehabilitation”.
“It is just simple common sense that this will make all of us safer: reducing recidivism increases public safety,” he said.