Categorized | Editorials

Towards Real Empowerment

Having forgotten that there was once a time when Bahamians did own thriving businesses Over-The-Hill, today’s bewildered Bahamian is now convinced that no new thing can ever again come out of these heart-land communities.

Indeed, one of the more unfortunate facts of life in today’s Bahamas has to do with what happens to a people when they become so dependent on others that they lose confidence in themselves.

Evidence supportive of this syndrome is to be found whenever and wherever Bahamians come to believe – as is implied in Urban Renewal 2.0 – that the party in power has all the answers that matter to the troubles they face.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

We are somewhat discomfited by aspects of the Urban Renewal Project which seem bent on having the police front for social services personnel in the delivery of goods intended for this or that unfortunate person.

Any scheme that would purport to bring about real change that are sustainable, must be driven by enterprise – whether public, private or a by a mixture of both.

Indeed, private enterprise should be courted by the current administration so as to get these entrepreneurs to go in, provide services get paid, employ labour – and otherwise help to put things aright in these once-thriving and striving communities.

Such a move would bring a much-needed dose of democracy and local level leadership to these areas. This would go a long way towards demystifying the roles played by members of Parliament and especially, the sugar-daddy part played by so very many Cabinet Ministers.

Paradoxically, there are – even now – any number of senior men and women in this tribe of Bahamian nation-builders who know that our people have not made the strides they could have if only they had been given the chance.

With the benefit of hindsight, there is no doubting the conclusion that – in very many ways – Independence brought with it a syndrome that encouraged many Bahamians to believe that – for whatever reason – politicians had all the answers to their woes.

At street corner level, – we hear this or that person whine that all they want from their Member of Parliament is a government- job.

They would also – if asked – admit that they are not looking for work.

This is one of this nation’s greatest dilemmas; and this attitude is at the heart of one of this fledgling nation’s most complex problems.

In a nutshell, these people vote; and as night follows day – those who would win find that they are obliged to pander to this foolishness. And so, the beat continues with crime on the rise and a people sinking ever deeper into a mire of despond.

There is also a sense that suggests that today’s Bahamian has also forgotten or – better still – are completely ignorant of the fact that there was once a time when no tourist visit to the Bahamas was complete without a visit to this or that entertainment site Over-The-Hill.

Today we make and underscore the point that there will be neither peace nor contentment in the absence of the real empowerment of The Bahamian people.

Real empowerment does not inhere in either ‘owning’ a mortgage or [indeed] in having a well-paying job that could he here today and gone tomorrow.

In essence, real empowerment of our people must involve them at all levels: from the genesis of the idea to the realization of the project.

By definition, such a process brings with it the necessity for local level governance, local level business ownership and local level town planning.

In other words, the urgency in the moment demands a break with business as usual where a mighty few – pumped to the gills in arrogance – futilely believe that they have the answers to everything that matters.

And as night follows day, there will be neither peace nor tranquility in this land so long as conditions Over the Hill remain as they are and so long as Bahamians believe they are not being given a fair shake in the land of their birth.

In addition, the time is surely now for the forging of a national consensus on the way forward not only for our heartland communities, but also for the sustainable development of this nation in its entirety.

There is a felt urgency throughout this land for policies and programs aimed at creating real empowerment for the Bahamian people.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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