Saturday, Jul 11, 2020

Dear Santa…

Dear Santa, I realize you have a tough job ahead of you this year, as persons are acting very badly not only around the world but right here in The Bahamas. At home, the murders continue. When you consider the size of our country, the rate of this violence is unacceptable. The Bahamian government will respond by saying that there is progress; that the rate is lower than it was the previous year. No matter what spin it puts on the murder rate, it is still unacceptable.

Santa, it would bring me so much joy if you could find a way to touch the hearts of these persons who are committing these senseless crimes. Please put some love in their hearts and encourage them to put away the guns—if not forever, at least for the Christmas season.

Santa, as you might be aware, our country took a big beating from that terrible Hurricane Dorian, which devastated Abaco and Grand Bahama. Lots of lives were lost and families are still grieving over the deaths of loved ones. Many persons are still missing. Santa, we ask you to bring comfort to these families and give them hope as they rebuild their lives and homes. One day, I hope, somehow, that normalcy can return to them.

There are folks who are clamoring for the removal of evacuees who are still in shelters here on New Providence. These persons should take a long, hard look at themselves. They should examine their hearts and reflect. It is only through the good grace of God that we are not the ones who lost everything. We should be hospitable and understanding of their plight. Instead of calling for their removal, persons should use that same passion and energy to help the displaced get resettled. Sometimes, in our convenience of daily life, we lose track of the reality that many of them lost everything they had. Their entire lives were swept away in days.

If you are clamoring for the displaced to be removed, you should channel that energy to help them find a job and somewhere to live. Santa, no presents for those protesters this year; coal will do.

Santa, hopefully our lights will be on for Christmas. Yes, we understand that these new generators will come online soon. I am keeping my fingers crossed that our nation’s electricity woes will soon be behind us. It’s been a tough year, Santa, as we have been burdened by an unprecedented number of power outages. They have disrupted our personal and business lives in a way I have never seen before.

It is only when we thought things were getting better that the embarrassment and inconvenience continued. On Friday, November 29, 2019, the blackout that disgruntled many Bahamians was televised on ESPN for the world to see as the Battle 4 Atlantis NCAA basketball tournament was plunged into darkness. To add insult to injury, we are expected to pay the cost of increased electricity bills for the majority of next year—increases that could range from $20-$30 on a monthly basis. I guess our light bill just wasn’t high enough already.

Santa, don’t give any presents to the persons who have failed Bahamian consumers by mismanaging Bahamas Power and Light (BPL). And Santa, don’t give any presents to the members of Parliament who pontificate and prance about, blaming the previous administrations for the horrendous state BPL remains in.

Instead, Santa, please give generously to the Rotary Clubs and other service organizations that are actively making efforts to improve their communities. Please give generously to HeadKnowles, New Providence Community Church, Mount Olive Baptist Church, the Salvation Army and the Red Cross, too.

These organizations and their volunteers are the ones who really deserve kudos and lots of Christmas presents this year. Without them acting and providing relief efforts to the Dorian victims, who knows the state we would be in. These are the real heroes. They are not looking for glory or national recognition but are instead giving unselfishly of their resources and time.

Santa, on a more solemn note, we lost two dear friends over the past several months. First, Cleve Eneas passed, and more recently, Errol Haines. Both succumbed to the effects of cancer. Watching both of them suffer through this terrible disease was very difficult. However, we find comfort that they are in the arms of our savior and that they are no longer suffering. This will be the first year without them in our lives and we will keep their families in our prayers.

Santa, safe travels from the warmth of the Bahamaland and Merry Christmas.

• William Wong is a two-term president of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation, two-term president of the Bahamas Real Estate Association and a partner at Darville-Wong Realty. E-mail: williamuwong@gmail.com.

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