Categorized | Editorials

Ominous Signs of The Times

We suspect that there are people out there whether in the middle classes, the serried ranks of the so-called working poor or for that matter, among people living and working in so-called ‘Haitian’ villages, who are battling their way through these hard times.

There are all those other people who cling to the now worn-out idea that [and here for whatever reason], the government can and should fly to their assistance.

The day when that could have happened is now as dead as a dead could possibly be.

One of the more ominous signs of the times is encapsulated in a notice that “…Social Services Minister Melanie Griffin said it is likely that her ministry will request more money from the government to cover increased requests for assistance with electricity and rent payments…”

Instead of asking for more in the circumstances, the good Minister should – as a matter of the most urgent priority – advise that these payments should be cut back and that government assistance should be provided to only the least and the most lost.

We make this point and this call against a backdrop where the time may have come for the current administration to let the people know that there are difficult days ahead; that there is in all likelihood a need for the Bahamian people to know and appreciate the extent to which the nation’s resources have been depleted.

There is also a sense we are getting where the current administration might wish to disabuse a number of people of ideas they hold dear concerning the government’s ability to provide work.

For many a government job is merely an exercise designed to cover up the moral equivalent of a theft.

As some say on the street, “I am not looking for work; all I really want is a government job!”

And so, the beat goes on; and too, we wish to suggest that things as they are seem to be creaking and straining. We are also getting the impression that the country’s fiscal woes are not only in a bad way but that they may well be set on a path where worse precedes the arrival of anything suggestive of anything better.

As alarming is the fact that, we just do not see or hear what the current administration intends to do about these things and with this state of affairs.

Inherent in all of this has to be the fact that what is at stake is a way of life and to wit the hopes and dreams of tens of thousands of Bahamians who have been sold dreams about how they too might be able to move on up.

There is also sense we now nurse which suggests that we are – whether we wish to believe it or not – set on a dangerous fiscal path – place and a space where the government would be more and more hard-pressed to find money sufficient for it to meet the myriad of demands placed upon it.

Today we have a situation where despite his confident demeanor, the Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis knows that things are bad; that they are on the blink – and that there is a price to be paid by the Bahamian people.

We find Halkitis saying and wishing for the government to take a so-called “balanced approach” to growing the Bahamian economy and better managing expenditure in an effort to prevent a downgrade of the Bahamas’ sovereign credit rating.

It is also to be noted that, this Minister’s comments came after Standard & Poor’s senior analyst for the Bahamas, Lisa Schineller, said there is “at least a one in three chance” that S&P will downgrade the Bahamas’ rating within the next 24 months.

Note also that last week; the credit rating agency also altered its outlook on the Bahamas from ‘stable’ to ‘negative’.

The proverbial chickens are coming in to roost!

Compounding the matter has to be tied in with how some governments lead; how some leaders decide to define a problem and obviously with the people’s tolerance level.

And so, it follows that what is needed today are solutions which are based in reality, on what is attainable and solutions the people can live with.

As Halkitis so blithely frames the issue, “…In simple terms, there has to be growth, we need more money and we have to watch how we spend. We need to do a better job of collecting what is due to the government – not necessarily raising taxes on people but just making sure we collect what is due. We also have to watch every penny we spend and make sure we are getting value for our money.”

This is easier said than done!

Written by Jones Bahamas

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