PRIME Minister Philip “Brave” Davis. Photo: Racardo Thomas/Tribune Staff
By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Philip “Brave” Davis said it is hoped that "borrowing would be the last resort" as Health and Wellness Minster Dr Michael Darville noted a need for emergency funding for the public healthcare system.
Mr Davis, who was sworn in as minister of finance earlier on Friday, spoke to reporters before leaving for New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly.
While speaking about his trip, Mr Davis addressed the issue of whether there is a need for international borrowing or if there was sufficient funding for the public healthcare system amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
“Well the request of the minister has been made known to the Ministry of Finance,” he said on Friday at Lynden Pindling International Airport. “We are looking at how best we could meet those demands and we are hoping that borrowing would be the last resort. We’re hoping to be able to enhance our collection of revenue to enable us to avoid borrowing and what is available we’ll use and employ wisely to ensure that we meet the challenges that he’s facing in the healthcare system.”
Since his appointment Dr Darville visited on Friday such healthcare facilities as the Princess Margaret Hospital and Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre.
He told reporters on Thursday: “My initial assessment is we have a lot of work to do and there’s definitely a need for emergency funding.”
Meanwhile, Mr Davis will speak at the General Assembly on Saturday during the morning session. He will also have a bilateral meeting that day with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
He explained his administration considers it vital to strategic interests that The Bahamas plays a “more active role” in international affairs.
Mr Davis added: “We consider it extremely important to attend this meeting of the General Assembly in order to firstly, to communicate the priorities of our new administration; secondly, to hold bilateral meetings with other delegations representing countries with whom we hold special relationships, including the member states of CARICOM, the United States, the United Kingdom and others; and thirdly, to lay the foundation for the very critical Global Conference on Climate Change being held in Scotland in November.”
One of the topics he hoped to address is climate change.
“I wish to point out to the world small island developing countries such as ours are the victims of larger developed states who contribute much to the ozone depletion and therefore more attention ought to be paid to assisting us and providing the funding that’s necessary to assist us in building resiliency in so far as our infrastructure,” Mr Davis said.
Asked about outcomes he was hoping for, Mr Davis said there were several.
“First of all, part of our issue which I’ll be addressing as well tomorrow (Saturday) is our COVID response. I want to remind the world that one country being safe is not sufficient. We are only safe when all countries are and in that regard we would wish to have reasonable access to vaccines which is one of the fundamental tools for this fight against COVID and we’re going to press upon the world leaders that we need to ensure that small island development states or SIDS are desperately in need of vaccines and they ought to be liberal with their donations to countries such as ours.”