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 for some products, services, and utilities as well as economic stimulus mechanisms. The elimination of VAT is expected in the next budget cycle (May 2018) starting with breadbasket items in inner-city constituencies. Passing the FNM legislative agenda through the House of Assembly will depend on Minnis' capacity to manage internal party issues. Challenges for the new administration include bringing fiscal legislation in line with international norms, preventing tax avoidance, controlling illicit immigration and drug trafficking, and countering high murder rates.
The Bahamas' operational environment is positive, with extensive links to the North American continent and an effective infrastructure. The government has a favourable attitude to foreign investment, promoting financial services and the information technology (IT) sector to reduce dependence on tourism. The Bahamas has a well-educated workforce, although corruption can be a problem at lower administrative levels. Labour relations continue to improve following the 2015 establishment of a new National Tripartite Council and the government's subsequent decision to increase the minimum wage by 40%. Environmental activism is relatively high in comparison with other Caribbean countries.
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. On January 2017, former 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 are no known groups 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 is low. Labour union strikes are relatively short-lived and predominantly non-violent, posing low property damage risks. There is the potential for an increase in environmental protests, should offshore oil exploration commence over the short-to-medium term. Such extractive activity appears more likely in light of the approval of oil exploration laws in early 2016. Environmental issues, especially relating to a series of fires at a landfill site in New Providence, have driven a series of largely non-violent demonstrations, which began in March 2017.Strikes in strategic public sectors like waste management present continuing risks.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers over one year of age arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever (YFV) transmission and for travelers who have been in transit for >12 hours in an airport located in a country with risk of YFV transmission.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
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