American financial services firm Standard And Poor’s Financial Services has downgraded the debt rating of the Bahamas while stating that the expected phased opening of The Baha Mar Casino And Hotel development from April is set to limit benefits for investors.

New York-based Standard And Poor’s Financial Services lowered the credit rating for the Bahamas by one notch to BB+/B, which has pulled the archipelago nation’s score into non-investment grade or “junk” territory alongside the likes of Costa Rica, Guatemala and Macedonia.

Although Standard And Poor’s Financial Services revealed that the gross domestic product for the Bahamas is expected to grow by around 1% for each of the next two years, this is largely expected to be offset by the Caribbean nation’s recovery efforts following the estimated $600 million in damages caused by October’s Hurricane Matthew.

Last week saw the Hurricane Matthew-damaged area around the country’s Lucayan Beach re-opened with all vendors again welcoming tourists and locals. The zone is home to the Grand Lucayan Resort complex along with its Memories Grand Bahama All-Inclusive Beach Resort and took an almost direct hit from the category four storm and its 140mph winds on October 7.

After inking a deal earlier this month to purchase The Baha Mar Casino And Hotel on New Providence island, Hong Kong-based conglomerate Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited explained earlier this month that the troubled $3.5 billion project is not expected to be fully open until the end of 2017. It declared that the initial 700 rooms in the once-bankrupt development are due to be available by the end of the second quarter of next year although the full complement of 1,800 will not be up and running until around six months later nearer the end of December.

“We believe that it will take time before [The Baha Mar Casino And Hotel] is able to operate at full capacity,” read a statement from Standard And Poor’s Financial Services.

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