Bahamas Senate President Katherine Forbes Smith: “The Bahamas are open for business.”

Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas. The death toll is over 50, with 600 more people missing. The hurricane also left one of the islands uninhabitable. As relief efforts continue, The Honorable Katherine Forbes Smith, President of the Senate and newly appointed Grand Bahama Coordinator, was a guest at the October Trustee Luncheon at Jungle Island to share rebuilding plans.

For the next three years, Grand Bahama and the Abacos will be designated Economic Recovery Zones which will allow these areas to restore including duty free purchases for business and rehabilitation needs and a $10M loan guarantee and equity financing program that will allow small businesses to receive significant financing to restore businesses or create new ones. “We welcome international investors to join us in these efforts,” said Smith.


trustee luncheon

Chamber Chair Felipe Basulto, Florida Bankers Association Alex Sanchez, The Honorable Katherine Forbes Sanchez and Chamber President Alfred Sanchez


The Senate president also stressed the importance of tourism: “We want you to know that the Bahamas are open for business…every dollar you spend helps.”

The afternoon also featured Alex Sanchez, president of the Florida Bankers Association, who gave an overview of economic changes that could change the way business is done is the state. Recently, the SAFE Banking ACT passed off the U.S. House floor in September. The bill would prohibit regulators from punishing banks that serve cannabis companies and clients, despite the drug illegal under federal law. It would also make business operations easier in Florida where medical marijuana is legal.

Sanchez also discussed Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) reform which could allow banks to receive CRA credits where they don’t have physical locations and addressed the nation’s trillion-dollar debt, which is 22 trillion and counting. “We will need to come together for our financial health,” said Sanchez.

Don’t miss November’s Trustee Luncheon. The Chamber will be recognizing Veteran’s Day and hearing from Ron Book, Chair of Homeless Trust of Miami Dade.

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