Government Agencies Collaborate to Restore East Grand Bahama – Magnetic Media
By: LINDSAY THOMPSON
Bahamas Information Services
#Bahamas, October 13, 2022 – During his “first year in office”, the national speech of the Hon. Philip Davis, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, announced an increase in the minimum wage to $260, tough-on-crime initiatives and other far-reaching measures to address the challenges facing the country.
The national address was delivered on Tuesday, October 11, 2022 during a live broadcast heard across the country. In the 36-page document, the prime minister outlined his administration’s progress so far and plans for education, food security, job readiness, healthcare, national security and further steps to move forward.
Tackling head-on the burden of inflation and other issues that have driven up the cost of living for Bahamians and around the world, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of making adjustments for economic benefit families.
In this vein, he announced that the minimum wage would increase from $210 per week to $260 per week. The last time the minimum wage was increased in the country was in 2015.
“During an inflationary emergency, it is important to take the necessary steps to improve affordability. Of course, nothing is more important in helping families make ends meet than higher wages,” the prime minister said.
He added: “A further increase is long overdue. For civil service minimum wage earners, the change will be retroactive to July this year. For minimum wage earners in the private sector, the increase will begin in just under three months, in January of the coming year, giving employers time to prepare for the increased spending.
According to the Prime Minister, the higher minimum wage will benefit thousands of Bahamians. The raise will help, it’s been long overdue, and the extra money every week will make a difference.
“However, we are aware that this will not eliminate the difficulty of trying to make ends meet in today’s economy. Instead, it represents progress on the road to a living wage,” the prime minister said.
He explained that the increase was negotiated by the National Tripartite Council, which includes the government, representatives of the private sector and trade unions.
“Our common goal was to raise the minimum wage without negatively impacting employment or job growth, and we believe that has been achieved,” the prime minister said.
Another measure announced was the addition of 38 new items to the price control list, a measure aimed at further removing the economic burden on families.
“We are limiting the wholesale and retail markup on everyday items like diapers and foods like chicken, eggs, bread, bananas, apples, oranges, broccoli, onions and potatoes. earth. These elements are added for a period of at least six months, after which we will review and assess the impact on businesses and consumers. We are also reducing the markup on price-controlled medicines, providing further relief to Bahamians,” the Prime Minister said.
In the area of crime-fighting initiatives, he disclosed that the Bahamas has entered into a formal working agreement with the United States Law Enforcement Agency, ATF – the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Weapons fire and explosives for this purpose.
“And we’re working with US intelligence to share information to stop this flow of weapons across our borders. We didn’t get here overnight, and so major progress will take time – but we let’s push for immediate progress because we need to make people safer now,” the prime minister said.
Additional crime-fighting measures he mentioned include the recent appointment of a police commissioner with new resources, and new initiatives targeting gangs and gun ownership.
“We have created a collaborative, multi-agency approach to interrupting the cycles of violence tearing our streets and communities apart. We are recruiting hundreds of new police officers. We also strive to intervene early, identify those at risk and direct them to a better path, which is why we are expanding and improving programs such as Urban Renewal and Second Chance,” the Prime Minister said.
He admitted to being aware that gangs have started entering schools to recruit. Consequently, the Royal Bahamas Police Force added a security presence on school campuses.
“The primary responsibility for advancing crime lies with the government, of course,” the prime minister said. “But there are limits to what any government can do – we can invest in new police cars, or technology, or programs that rehabilitate and provide opportunity – but we still need parents to create loving and safe homes.”