Back

Country Reports

Bahamas Country Report

Content provided by
IHS Markit Logo

Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis leads the Free National Movement (FNM) party, which holds 35 of the 39 seats in the House of Assembly. His legislative agenda is unlikely to face significant opposition from the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), whose leader Perry Christie is focused on rebuilding his party ahead of the next election in 2022. This leaves Minnis well-positioned to implement the FNM’s legislative agenda including accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which the party hopes to achieve by June 2020, as well as improvements to taxation regulations to meet minimum international standards.The European Union (EU) kept the Bahamas on a greylist of states over money-laundering and terrorism financing concerns in March 2019. The move somewhat increases scrutiny of financial transactions. The Minnis government is likely to attempt to improve domestic regulations to address these concerns while also striving to improve economic performance through greater productive-sector diversification to expand economic growth, which IHS Markit forecasts at 2.1% of GDP in 2019, down from 2.20% of GDP in 2018. Additional efforts at fiscal consolidation are likely to face public opposition. Public demonstrations typically stem from opposition to tax and utility rate increases and persistently high unemployment rates. Periodic demonstrations are held in Nassau over landfill fires affecting air quality and tourism. Labour strikes are uncommon and pose low property damage risks. Anti-WTO protests are likely as Minnis moves forwards with his plans for WTO accession, and environmental protests are also reasonably likely if the government pursues new offshore oil exploration, but neither issue is likely to pose significant property damage risks.Personal death and injury as well as armed robbery assault risks will remain elevated in 2019, although tourists are not targeted specifically. Homicide rates have been falling steadily from 123 in 2014 to 91 in 2018, with over half of incidents related to organised crime and drug sales.
Last update: April 25, 2019

Operational Outlook

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, for example as a result of taxi drivers' strikes as occurred in January 2019. State contract alteration risks are elevated, as FNM's deputy leader KP Turnquest has previously said that his party would review, amend, and potentially cancel contracts if they were economically disadvantageous.

Last update: April 25, 2019

Terrorism

Moderate

No terrorist groups are known to operate in Bahamas. Bahamas has had an Anti-Terrorism Act since 2004, and amendments to the law have been debated in the House of Assembly in the past year. Press reports that a Bahamian national was allegedly 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 the Islamic State.

Last update: June 21, 2019

Crime

The growth of the drugs trade and the greater availability of firearms have led to some security problems during recent years, but the situation now appears to be improving. Following a 10% increase in murders during 2017, homicides declined by 26% in 2018. However, there is a high incidence of robberies, property crimes, purse snatchings, theft, fraud, and sexual assaults targeting tourists. Although crime levels do not pose a serious risk to foreign investment, visitors are advised to take security precautions when in urban areas, especially the Sand Trap area in Nassau.

Last update: May 10, 2019

War Risks

The risk of civil or interstate war in Bahamas is low. There is no known group inside the country with intention 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.

Last update: April 25, 2019

Social Stability

Elevated

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. In 2016, there were recurrent non-violent demonstrations relating to a series of fires at a landfill site in New Providence.

Last update: April 25, 2019

Health Risk

Very high

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).

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Severe

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

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Low

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.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

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.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +1 242
Police: 919
Fire Dept.: 919
Ambulance: 919

Electricity

Voltage: 120 V ~ 60 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019