Despite the fact that chronic non-communicable diseases are costing the Bahamian people so very much, it remains a sad fact of life that precious little is being done to counteract the damage done.
It is also sadder yet that we know that such diseases can be fought and can be prevented if only people were better educated.
But saddest of all happens to be the fact that there are some businesses that thrive off the damage done the people who suffer from this or that chronic non-communicable disease.
Evidently, the government can – if only it would – make a major difference.
It is as true today as it has ever been that an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.
This thought today comes to mind as we reflect on the fact that tens of millions of dollars are being borrowed to help expand the Princess Margaret Hospital.
While this is good enough and is perhaps long overdue, we would have been happier had some of the borrowed resources been ear-marked to fund projects aimed at prevention.
But yet, we continue to pray God’s grace and guidance over our land.
As we do so, we especially pray that those who lead do so with and through an ethic that tells them that since “…We are all together in this boat, we sink or swim together…”
Of necessity, this also suggests that those who would lead wisely should be animated by a spirit that is suffused with love and care for not only kith and kin, but also for the stranger in our gates.
This would do all of us a world of good. We insist that as a people united in service and love – we should be up and doing for ourselves.
The time is now for those who lead to provide assistance to each and every Bahamian interested in pioneering development in any of our Family Islands.
Such a move would have a plethora of benefits for a land and a people where our people are constrained to produce more of the food that they consume.
Indeed, this might well help with healing some of the ills so very many of our youth now experience as they battle with any number of chronic non-communicable diseases.
The sum of the matter, is that genuine renewal demands that we focus attention not only on much needed foreign direct investment, but also on the social well-being of this nation’s youth.
Based on what we know about the incidence of chronic non-communicable diseases, it would be fair to conclude that the vast majority of our students have parents who are themselves hungry, malnourished or both.
This is no sturdy basis for the real development of our nation.
We yearn for the soon-coming of that day when each child in every public school facility is guaranteed on a daily basis at least one good balanced meal – preferably breakfast, with such food coming not from food-stores, but from farms owned and run by Bahamians.
We sincerely believe that a project of this nature can be economically viable; that it can be funded by government and its social partners; and with our Churches and unions and credit unions playing commensurately large parts.
Our nation’s children will become – in the ultimate analysis – the biggest winners.
Today we make these suggestions in light of currently available indicators which suggest that the Bahamian people should – as of now – brace themselves for the onset of any number of wrenching changes.
One such change involves this nation’s and our region’s speedier access to food that is inexpensive, nutritious, available and accessible, all at once.
This is especially important in this time of crisis-revealed; a time when we either pull together for the achievement of the common good or find ourselves ruined one after the other.
This time stands in sharp contradistinction to times past when the living was easy. Indeed, it is now becoming the common-sense of the realm to suggest that those days when the living was easy and when money somehow flowed our way may be a thing of the past.
We must – as a people united in service and love – fight back against those ‘principalities and powers’ that would destroy us.
In the ultimate analysis, the fight against darkness is simultaneously a struggle aimed at protecting our youth from the muck, mire and mayhem that comes with the demand that they should get rich quick or die trying.