Bahamas Country Report
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis took office in May 2017 after the Free National Movement (FNM) won a decisive victory in general elections on a platform promising to eliminate value-added tax (VAT) for some products, services, and utilities as well as economic stimulus mechanisms. VAT was increased in July 2018 to 12% but eliminated for medicines as well as some utility and breadbasket items, while further tax reforms compliant with minimum international standards are in process for approval in 2019. Passing the FNM legislative agenda through the House of Assembly will depend on Minnis' capacity to manage internal party issues.
The government promotes foreign investment, financial services and the information technology sector to reduce dependence on tourism. The Bahamas has a well-educated workforce, although corruption is persistent at lower administrative levels. Protests are more likely since the approval of oil exploration laws in early 2016, and since VAT was increased in July 2018, although the main risk posed is traffic disruption. State contract alteration risks are elevated, as in April 2017 FNM's deputy leader KP Turnquest said his party would review, amend, and potentially cancel contracts if they were seen as economically disadvantageous to government.
No terrorist groups are known to operate in Bahamas. Press reports that a Bahamian national was involved in recent terrorist attacks in Brussels were denied by the minister of foreign affairs in March 2016. In January 2017, then-prime minister Perry Christie further denied the accusation that the Bahamas had terrorism links with ISIS.
The risk of civil or interstate war in Bahamas is low. There is no known group inside the country willing to use force to change the government. Drug traffickers present a limited challenge to the state's monopoly on the use of force, but do not have political aspirations. Disputes over migration issues with Haiti and the country's historical maritime boundaries with the United States and Cuba are unlikely to lead to war.
The risk of large-scale violent protests generally is low but government plans to implement austerity measures and suspend tax cuts could spark demonstrations. Labour union strikes are relatively short-lived and predominantly non-violent, with a National Tripartite Council helping to mediate disputes and limit escalation of major industrial unrest. Sporadic environmental protests are likely to target the Bahamas Petroleum Company developing an exploratory well southwest of Andros. Since 2016, there have been recurrent non-violent demonstrations relating to a series of fires at a landfill site in New Providence.
Vaccines Required to Enter the Country
Yellow fever: There is no risk of contracting yellow fever in the Bahamas. However, the government requires proof of vaccination for travelers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease.
Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers
Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).
Vaccines Recommended for Most Travelers
Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.
Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).
Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers
Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.
Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).
The Bahamas is vulnerable to tropical storms and hurricanes during the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which officially runs from June 1 to November 30. Two of the most destructive storms to hit the archipelago in recent memory have been Hurricane Joaquin (October 2015) and Hurricane Matthew (October 2016), which together caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, though no deaths. The country's southern islands were also struck by hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017, causing significant damage in some places (e.g. Ragged Island and Acklins Island), though sparing the capital and the areas most popular with visitors. Information regarding current or forecast storms is available on the US National Hurricane Center's website.
Traffic accidents are relatively common, in part due to reckless driving habits and a general non-enforcement of traffic laws, including blood-alcohol limits.
Flooding is relatively common and can render roads impassable.
Cars drive on the left side of the road in this British Commonwealth.
The climate in the Bahamas is temperate throughout the year due to trade winds that blow across the archipelago all year long. Temperatures range from 32°C in the summer to 16°C in the winter. The country also enjoys 320 sunny days per year.
The rainy season lasts from May until November during which time brief rain showers generally occur at night.
|Country Code:||+1 242|
Voltage: 120 V ~ 60 Hz