Categorized | Editorials

In the Same Boat

Poverty is on the march in this place; and this phenomenon is nothing more and nothing less than a type of social death on the installment plan where day by dreadful day more and more of our people find themselves reduced, diminished and humiliated.

It is perhaps this factor – among others such – that might explain some of the rage that currently saturates social life in not only today’s Bahamas, but that of any number of other societies in our region.

Tens of thousands of our people now live in conditions that are perfectly unfit for beings made in the image of the Almighty.

It is also widely known that tens of thousands of our people are also up to their gills in debt; with many of them obliged to witness their lives being upended by loss of their jobs, mortgage foreclosures and a myriad of other troubles.

Now rich, poor and those in the middle are in the same boat!

Indeed, one of the more peculiar aspects of life in this troubled place has to do with how some of this nation’s so-called elite classes routinely complain about how other Bahamians live; how some of this nation’s working poor live; and chat about why the government should clamp down on so-called shanty towns.

Some who routinely weigh in on the shanty-town issue are prepared to use any number of scare tactics – inclusive of claims about violence and disease – to undergird their lamentations and warnings.

In the meantime, there is no real understanding of what this so-called debate is all about.

These are hard times for not only the so-called upper classes who are facing mortgage foreclosures, but also for the poor who are feeling the sting of poverty’s surest lash – the cost of living as it rises and as it bruises and hurts even the hardiest.

Indeed, as some of this nation’s elite classes now bemoan the fact that things are not as good as they once were, there are very many other Bahamians who are – for the first time in their lives – being introduced to poverty’s harsh lash.

And there are those among us who could be categorized as ‘the working poor’, who are being troubled and beset by rising prices for practically everything they must consume.

Most of the money they earn is spent on housing, food and safety.

There is also sense we have which suggests that Bahamians – like all other right-thinking people around the world – want lives for themselves and their loved ones that are commodious and that allow them to aspire and achieve some of their goals.

In addition, today’s Bahamas is fast becoming a kind of place where gun-fire and gun-talk and gun-related violence are all the rage.

It is also a sad fact of life that The Bahamas is fast-becoming that kind of bloody-brutal place where morticians can – on any given day – rest assured that demand for their work is on the up and up.

Nowhere is this systems-based [or structural] violence more dreadfully apparent than it is at the level of all those households where incomes are the same as they have always been – even as the cost of essential goods continues to rise.

There is today any number of men [Bahamian fathers no less] who also bear their own crosses as they find themselves quite unable to feed or care for their brood.

In neither case are we referencing some fantasy or the other; some play or the other featuring Bahamian man or Bahamian woman. To the contrary, we are noting the agonies currently being experienced by both men and women and their children as they feel the hammer-blows of what is euphemistically described as ‘the cost of living’.

Like other people around the world, the vast majority of our people are terrified of living in a world where fear rules and a world where life seems on the way to becoming nastier, more brutish and shorter by the day.

Put simply, Bahamians and their neighbours in the wider region do wish – more than anything in the world – to live in societies that make life seem worthwhile.

Things are tight, money is scarce and people – whether rich, poor on being crushed in the middle – are troubled to no end.

As they suffer, so do their children. We can rest assured there is in addition to no free lunch, no quick fix to the challenges thrown our way by a system over which we have no real control.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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