Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services recently affirmed its ‘A-‘ long-term and ‘A-2′ short-term sovereign credit ratings on the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, noting that this takes into account Hurricane Frances. In fact, S&P Credit Analyst Olga Kalinina said that the hurricane is expected *”to have no impact on either the attractiveness or financial health of The Bahamas’ international financial sector.”*
"Frances", the 6th tropical depression that became the 4th hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic Season on August 26th, traversed through The Islands of The Bahamas, ranging from a Category 4 to Category 2 in the process.
Disaster preparedness measures were firmly in place, and some 48 hours later the jurisdiction’s financial services sector was *"back in business"*. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the coordinating agency for disaster preparedness, response and recovery, has been widely commended for the mammoth undertaking associated with Hurricane Frances.
Three weeks later, Hurricane Jeanne impacted the Northern Bahamas on Friday September 24th at Category 3 strength. The financial services industry which closed early that day was fully operational on Monday September 27th.
In the case of both hurricanes, the Nassau International Airport resumed full operations within 48 hours of the storms’ passage and cruise lines resumed their scheduled itineraries to the Port within a week. The major hotels and resorts in Nassau, Cable Beach and on Paradise Island sustained minimal cosmetic damage, and are fully operational.
Historically, The Bahamas has been able to withstand hurricanes with minimum recovery delays, and virtually no impact on its international business services. Continued improvement in contingency planning is underway. Last month the local US Embassy announced that the United States and The Bahamas had entered into a joint venture for the establishment of a $1.2 million Disaster & Emergency Relief Centre. NEMA, currently housed in the Office of the Prime Minister, is to be housed in the new Centre.