Economic inequality is killing The Bahamas
Empathy is a garment that ties the capacity of individuals together, making it easier to comprehend and to share the frailties and triumphs of their fellow men. The empathy deficit that prevails in our country reflects our shared inability as a nation to be compassionate or connected to the degradation of social, economic and political structures that hinder the wellbeing of others. Unquestionably, the erosive conditions in our country have resulted in an “Economy of Survival”.
The inability to survive, retain or engage in the monopolization of resources has articulated a sophisticated repressive behavior towards those who seek economic and social mobility, inhibiting their freedom. The patronization of “favored” circles or the blatant cronyism in every fabric of our country undermines our quest for nation building. The systematic dependency on cultivating political ties suggests that our nation’s operational mechanism runs on personalities rather than systems.
The enlargement of inequalities between the most powerful and least powerful Bahamians is considered harmful to the individual progress of citizens. This arrangement, whereby any person who receives favors that have significant economic value on economic performance without tangible shared benefits among the Bahamian people, is counterproductive to their national interest. Powerful Bahamians continue to shape the content of their financial interest to their advantage. They continue to utilize their superior political and economic resources to manipulate the economic, political and social institutions in our country, to preserve and extend their privileges as they benefit at the expense of the vast majority, obstructing any individual who seeks to eliminate their advantages.
We deliberately suppress any form of competition by conferring monopolies or devising restriction towards the majority to protect these economic cartels. A healthy society is one in which the fruits of a man or woman’s labor is rewarded by productivity rather by political connections. When we continue to deny deserving individuals opportunities, as we question the worth of their knowledge, we undermine the untapped dynamics of our citizens. In a contemporary Bahamas, a person’s last name and the longevity of their dollar value is a currency to buy influence and cultivate ties to key politicians and public officials to acquire any identified privilege to benefit their interests and their interests alone.
It is important for the people of The Bahamas not to be complacent in their nation-building efforts. The efforts of nation-building have a direct dependence on the foundation of shared strength strategically utilizing the human resources and talents of its people. The economic development of our country brings many opportunities along with many challenges, but the candor of the matter is simple. How well the people of The Bahamas utilize these opportunities to bring about positive change and deal with the challenges will determine the success or failure of our country. The most significant challenge facing the Bahamas is moving from this notion that only a small segment of our nation has the common sense to harmonize the strength of our people, thus leveraging them effectively.
It is essential that we understand what Bahamian ownership is and why it is becoming more and more important on a daily basis. A nation where the majority of its people control the destiny of its industries can guarantee the validity of its economic security and economic freedom. The sad reality is the denial of Bahamian ownership by those who supposedly protect our economic interest. An elite-driven Bahamas, controlled entirely by ruling family elites and their benefactors, is both ineffective and unsustainable. Strengthening Bahamian ownership and the fair distribution of wealth means people can enhance their ability to live together with a sense of security and inner peace, creating the wealth that they need to meet their obligations and improve their quality of life.
When non-Bahamians own the majority of our industries, we have to remove all obstacles to entrepreneurship and wealth creation in our country to create an economic balance or at least the illusion that one exists. If we fail to correct this economic imbalance, we significantly risk reducing the ability of Bahamians to contribute to the national economic development of their own country. The source of our nation’s wealth is the untapped capabilities of our people. We have to liberate them through the creation of a knowledge-driven economy. It is time to move from a nation of bellboys to a nation of bookworms. There must be some form of clarification that the Bahamian people are in fact the greatest natural resources in the country.We have to protect our economic interest to ensure that we remove the limitation that exists in regards to the employment accession of Bahamians.
Bahamians deserve a chance to profit from the economic pie.They should be given the opportunity to work; to send their children off to college; to raise a family, and to own a home which gives them a sense of security in their later years.We cannot ignore the voices of young Bahamians demanding an education, which is the key to their future.We cannot allow Bahamians to watch the dreams they hold for their children evaporate. In 2017, forty-four years after independence, it must be an economic priority that we not only create new industries to sustain our economic future, but we must ensure that Bahamians are major shareholders in each one, having an undeniable access. People are tired of living in a country where the country’s wealth and income are in the hands of the few.
In the words of our national anthem, which in parts states, “See how the world marks the manner of your bearing”.
The purpose of us being the lighthouse in our region is to produce the emission of light to aid the navigation of vessels, to avert any possibility of danger. Every day, our country must put the supply of oil in the lighthouse so countries can safely sail and set their bearing using the Bahamas as a beacon in reach for their future. This lighthouse must be a symbol of democracy, an arc that bends towards the empowerment of its people, a country where its future is forged on the shoulder of its youth, and where the greed and arrogance of men always compromise to the will of its people. We diminish this light when we structure the Bahamas as a country that privileges one group over the other.
We diminish our light when we fail to realize that sexual abuse against children is sexual abuse against our country’s future or when we neglect to address the distribution of wealth in our nation. We diminish our light when our citizens are prepared to sell the sovereignty of their country to foreigners. We control the rudder of our destiny and the light of our lighthouse.We must never lose sight of our nation’s bearing against the waves of change because when we do, we have lost our sense of purpose and direction. A successful country is one where its citizens are judged on their abilities rather than their family connections. When we lose our belief that any Bahamian could get to the top, we have lost the purpose and the reason for which Majority Rule was achieved for Bahamians.Talented, qualified Bahamians, in the Bahamas, are an endangered species facing extinction, going country to country in search for economic appreciation and a better way of life because we failed to provide an attractive economic environment for talented Bahamians to return home to.
The Bahamas is at its worst when we only respond to the cries and concerns of the privileged, and overlook and fail to correct the challenges of the majority. Gone are the days when you deny the aspiration of the majority to ensure the pleasure of the minority. Bahamians want an economy that provides them a fair and even playing field.We all want an economy that empowers as opposed to making us dependent.
Restoring the conscience of our nation lies in our ability to support each other every step of the way in a shared destiny. Love is the beginning of patriotism and nation-building when we see diversity as a useful asset to unify our people.We must believe that the empowerment of Bahamians, whether in the inner cities or a boardroom of the highest office, is good for our country; because creating a stronger Bahamas starts with loving ourselves, knowing our history, teaching our youth and healing our communities.