Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip Davis made his first national address to the nation on Tuesday evening. In the hour long presentation Mr. Davis spoke to the accomplishments of his administration thus far and foreshadowed coming initiatives such as the rise in the minimum wage. Davis said, ” I know what its like to live in a home where every time a little money comes in you have to decide which bill is most important to pay because they is no way to pay them all at once.
The Prime Minister announced new items to the price control list saying, “I want to announce that we have added thirty eight items to be subject to price control in our country. We are limiting the wholesale and retail mark up of every day items like diapers and food like chicken, eggs, bread, bananas, apples, oranges, broccoli, onions and potatoes. These items are being added for at least a six month period at which point we will review and evaluate the impact on businesses and consumers.”
It was also announced that the minimum wage will be increased to $260 a week. The last increased was done in 2015 under the former Christie administration. Davis said, “for minimum wage earners in the public service the change will be retroactive going back to July of this year. For minimum wage earners in the private sector the increase will begin in a little less than three months, in January of the coming year, allowing employers time to prepare for the increased expense.”
Mr. Davis also addressed issues related to immigration saying that the Bahamas opted not to sign a declaration on migration which suggested that nations host undocumented migrants. He said, “we are recruiting hundreds of new Defense Force and Immigration officers. We’re investing $6 million in new Defense Force vessels. We are strengthening our partnerships that amplify our ability to patrol our waters.
Mr. Davis also highlighted the government’s crime tackling efforts and announced a new hospital for Grand Bahama coming this year.