during 1995, a major trade in hotels took place from the
Association of Hotels to foreign investors. The main problem
facing the government is the unemployment and the presence
of several thousands of Haitian and Cuban refugees. A
repatriation agreement with Haiti succeeded, but the Cubans
rejected such an agreement and demanded to be transferred to
the United States.
In January of the following year, a solution to the
conflict could be seen when the Bahamas signed an agreement
with Cuba, according to. which the Cubans who stayed in the
refugee camps in the Bahamas should return to their
homeland. During 1996, 250 Cubans living in these refugee
camps, as well as another 70 living illegally with
sympathizers, were sent back to Cuba. According to the
Bahamas government. the agreement received guarantees that
the Cuban authorities would treat the deportees favorably.
For the first time in 12 years used to statutory
possibilities of imposing the death penalty, and in March
1997 two convicted hanged. The same month's election was won
by the National Freedom Movement, which got 35 seats, while
the Progressive Liberal Party had to settle for 5. Hubert
Ingraham was re-elected prime minister.
Religious leaders publicly protested against the visits
of gay tourists in February 1998, prompting a British
government spokesman to turn to any discriminatory measures
in the Bahamas.
In September 1999, the Bahamas was hit by Hurricane
Floyd, the worst in previous decades. Tens of thousands of
people were evacuated and the winds that ravaged the country
for 12 hours reached a speed of 240 km/h. They ravaged
entire districts, destroyed ships and severed ties with
Nassau. Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham subsequently fled the
affected areas together with US Ambassador Arthur Schechter.
Despite a request for pardon from a number of
international human rights organizations, on January 6,
2000, a man convicted of the murder of a German tourist
couple was hanged. Amnesty International once again called
on Governor Orville Alton Turnquest to follow international
treaties and put an end to executions, and to analyze the
abolition of the death penalty forever.