Categorized | Editorials

Making Things Happen

For as long as we can remember, Bahamians have been waiting and waiting for this or that foreign investor to come to their rescue; provide them with jobs and in the meantime, reap for themselves huge profits.

This model of development takes it for granted that this is the best way of developing this country. While this way of thinking did bring with it a modicum of so-called success for a significant number of Bahamians, some among us routinely wondered how we would all fare in the absence of this foreign-dominated finance capital.

We need wonder no more since we now know that in the absence of such money, some Bahamians panic and some others routinely give up. There is today a growing sense of panic that is settling in as if it were some dark cloud over the heads of any number of Bahamians who cannot find work commensurate with either their aspirations or with their level of education.

As we today recall, we were witness in another time – namely that time in 2001 – when – in the immediate aftermath of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the planes stopped coming in and so did the tourists they would usually disgorge. As we indicated then, “…Granted this country’s dependency on the United States economy, there is no gainsaying the fact that Bahamians from all walks of life are extremely concerned about the really bad news coming in from the United States of America…” That bad news was then being focused on what seemed to be the mother of all collapses as that great nation’s financial system teetered on the cusp of a mighty meltdown.

Mercifully, this catastrophe was averted. But as the record would also shows, disaster piled upon disaster was in the offing; thus the rising cost of living, lack luster tourist arrivals and any number of serious challenges to the financial services industry.

And then, along came the Great Economic Recession of 2008 and that roaring round of god-awful disasters which continue to roil and discombobulate so very many of our people.

This land’s decent, law-abiding citizenry woke to find themselves caught smack-dab in the middle of crime-wave upon crime-wave as accompanied by gun-fire. Bahamians we know tell us that this is the worse things have been since September 11th. 200l, when the United States was struck by terrorists.

As these people so vividly recall, tourist arrivals plummeted and money was in scarce supply. Today some of those same fears are bubbling up, bringing with them all manner of dire premonitions concerning hard times that they fear might get even harder. Indeed, Bahamians now understand well enough that when America catches a cold, a bad case of influenza is on the way for them and their fellow-Bahamians. This need not always become our fate. But clearly, some Bahamians are by the day growing more and more despondent.

They are despairing not only because things are bad, but because they dared believe that there was some kind of quick-fix solution for the problems they faced in their households and in their communities. It is also so very clear that some of these people only now understand that government itself is subject to any number of limitations to its room for fiscal maneuver.

And so, it’s now welcome to the real world where you get nothing for nothing and very little for your penny. This – in turn – brings us to that juncture where we are constrained to advise as follows:- This land’s limited natural resources, vulnerability to natural hazards , economic fragility and debt determine the extent to which we not only survive; but also influences our ability to compete in a global environment that is constantly changing.

The future – if there is one for our people as a viable nation – must be one where Bahamians are prepared to earn and pay their way in the world. Assuredly, this place in a new ordering of things in the world can and should be earned legitimately.

We have no patience with those social termites who believe that there is somehow some quick-fix stratagem that can some how feed, clothe, shelter and keep safe the vast majority of the Bahamian people. The Bahamas that can and should be built must be one where the Bahamas produces more of the food its people consume. The time is surely now for the generation of ideas that will do more to encourage Bahamians to see themselves as nation-builders – as boys and girls, men and women who can make some things happen.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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