Friday, Jul 3, 2020
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Bahamians are joyful givers

Dear Editor,

Despite the fact that we have had one of the worst downturns in the world economy and Bahamas in recent memory, foreign nationals are still saying that it is better in The Bahamas; and for very good reasons.  You see, Bahamians are very joyful givers.  Let me explain.

Illegal immigrants come to our shores regularly.  And what do we do?  We give them free land, free education and free health care.  We give them a pat on the back.  So now you know why they come to The Bahamas unabated with no fear.

Investors come to our shores regularly.  And what do we do?  We give them concessions that Bahamians can’t even fathom.  No customs duties on this, no customs duties on that.  Land at $1 an acre.  Who wouldn’t come?

The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) sale was a classic example of Bahamians almost tripping over themselves to give away a national asset.  I am almost certain that Bahamians could have raised the capital needed to purchase BTC.  And they would have been millionaires in no time.  The three-year cellular monopoly surely guarantees this.  And now, it seems that BTC will also be enjoying the retention of a lot of fixed-line customers because the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) did not approve Cable Bahamas’ request to have customers who want to switch from BTC to retain their current telephone numbers.  Cable Bahamas says that this will probably take another two to three years.  Don’t get me wrong here.  Cable Bahamas is another company where Bahamians should have been given the opportunity to lead the way in its formation.

The Bahamas Petroleum Company is another example of Bahamians showing their generosity to foreigners.  We did not allow our own to buy shares on the London stock exchange.  If and when the oil rig starts to dig for oil, The Bahamas will only be getting 12.5 percent of revenues.  The land tax that will be paid does not exist because our government was able to ensure that all taxes will be included in the 12.5 percent revenue figure.  We are cheerful givers!

And now the government has signed off on amendments to the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Act.  Once again, instead of allowing foreign companies to partner with Bahamians, the government says that 75 percent of the treasure found will stay with the foreign company and that a whopping 25 percent of the treasure will stay with us in The Bahamas, barring other conditional circumstances.

While watching the debate of this bill on television, our parliamentarians seemed very pleased with their efforts.  “We will create jobs for Bahamians” is what they said.  How about letting Bahamians employ foreigners for a change?

Referring to an article in The Tribune’s business section on November 25, 2011, Nicholas Maillis suggested that this industry is valued at eight – 10 billion dollars.  He also said that “the financing for such ventures was…well within the means of Bahamians” and that the government should “mandate that foreign salvagers form joint ventures with Bahamian companies/teams on underwater explorations”.

Mr. Maillis must not know that The Bahamas is a nation of free spirit givers.

I am at a loss at our inability to do what is best for Bahamians in their own country.  Are our leaders blinded by short-sightedness?  Don’t they see the big picture?  Well, the Christmas season is now fast approaching and foreigners must have their Christmas trees lit waiting for Santa to come down the chimney.  I wonder now what gifts The Bahamas government has in store to make another foreign national a multi-millionaire?

We are making blunder after blunder with no end in sight.  I am hopeful that Bahamians wake up before it is too late.  We must no longer stand idly by whilst our resources are continually given away to others.  It is time for Bahamians to get their fair share.  This “generosity” to foreigners must cease at the expense of Bahamians.  We need to be the ones now on the receiving end.

– Dehavilland Moss

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