Will someone please tell our government we’re broke? The reality of our fiscal situation still seems to elude those in political office.
When I read of the efforts and expense of The Bahamas joining the WTO, I wondered who told the government that we have the money to spend on this fool’s errand. Princess Margaret Hospital is broke. Doctors haven’t gotten a raise in 10 years, The equipment is not maintained. Surgeries are canceled. Working conditions are not optimal. Nurses are on strike; they haven’t collected what is due. PMH seems to be in shambles and broke.
Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) is likewise a huge mess. There is no money for the needed personnel and equipment to keep the lights on in our capital. They are increasing already outrageous, murderous prices for electricity while service and performance are poor; theft and corruption seem rampant at the company. BPL’s leadership appears totally adrift. Their union appears to be parasitic and the company is in shambles. It is broke.
The Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) is reportedly deep in debt. It is responsible for the lifeblood of our human condition. Reports are that WSC is broke.
Our Family Island clinics are in a state of disrepair, underfunded and neglected. Our clinics are broke.
Local governments on our Family Islands are given a mere pittance which is not nearly enough money to do any of the things needed to bring us into the modern world. The Family Islands are broke.
Our educational system lacks the money to upgrade, maintain and provide adequate resources necessary for preparing and training our youth to get good jobs, build businesses and take over the reins of governing this country in a few short years, meaning we are undoubtedly short-changing our country’s future for lack of money. Our leaders say our Ministry of Education is broke.
In fact, our country is so broke that the leaders of the Bahamian people are taking out big loans that will handcuff our children and the development potential of this country. The cruelty of the odious taxes, which are actually taxes on taxes, shows the callousness of our leaders. There is so little outcry from our sheeple.
It seems to many of us that this administration is talking out of two sides of their mouths. On the one hand, they say that there is not enough money to run the country. They say, ‘We cannot provide adequate education, health care and safety for our people, all for lack of money. We cannot be a country that looks after the basic human needs of its people, for lack of money.’ On the other hand, they are borrowing money, buying hotels and flying around the world, acting like we have the clout to do anything but beg. The rest of the world knows our situation, but apparently the Bahamians who are doing all this consulting and decision making on the people’s dime, don’t give a hoot that The Bahamas can’t even get the very basics to their own people, the very basics necessary for even a nod to human dignity.
The regressive tax regime, so unchristian, so uncaring, which our beloveds have hitched the Bahamian people’s carts to, seems to elude the free-spending politicrats’ ethical worldview. Perhaps someone should tell PM Minnis and DPM Turnquest that our country is broke. It doesn’t matter whether the PLP or the FNM got us into this mess. The fact is we are broke. When a business or a family is broke, has maxed out its credit limit and is in the position of making very tough choices, the one thing it must do is to stop all unnecessary spending. It must make hard choices.
PMH, BPL, education, all of these, must come before we spend a penny more in chasing the rich man’s dream of joining WTO or buying derelict hotels. The people must demand that our essential human needs are met here, prior to the superfluous spending and borrowing spree our government is on. This is the time to consider self-imposed austerity, allowing us to choose what we will do with and without. Those who disagree with this perspective must have other incentives keeping them from seeing the realities of what we will soon face from outside financial powers which have our fate in their hands. They will be telling us what to do without and what it is they want in return for our indebtedness to them. Is this not beginning to play out now? Along with the knowledge of the realities of our fiscal situation here at home must come the humility and honesty to do what is best for The Bahamas.
With all the recent talk about joining the WTO, one would be led to believe that we have anything to bargain with. We don’t. And, from carefully reading the daily papers here, it seems few politicians or business leaders truly understand the global game and our place in it. The Bahamas is broke.
I wish, for the sake of this nation, that we had more than a handful of people who could see where this country is headed with the current way of thinking that prevails. The Titanic is sinking, and we are arguing about rearranging the chairs on deck.
— Norman Trabulsy Jr.