Education is a proven pathway out of poverty. It improves social interactions, promotes good health, and stimulates and sustains economic performance.
Considerable success has been achieved in this regard in The Bahamas and, notably, Bahamians from every strata of our society compete and succeed internationally in virtually every sphere of endeavor.
When young people overcome the great challenges of poverty which may include any or all of the following: hunger and malnutrition, homelessness, neglect, abuse – physical or mental – either as a victim or as a witness, or poor health, their achievement is especially hailed.
Such was the elation felt at the achievement of a young valedictorian of a government-operated senior high school on New Providence that counts among its students, some of the most disadvantaged of our society.
That the young graduate went on to excel at university in the United States of America only increased the pride of his alma mater in The Bahamas, and of his family, friends and compatriots. Hence the great anguish at the sudden violent death of the young man just weeks following his college graduation.
Before we could come to terms with the tragic waste of a promising life, another young male’s life was cut short on the weekend while at a club near where the body of the young college graduate had been found.
Some of this crime is gang-related and connected to the illegal traffic of drugs, humans and/or guns.
A significant percentage of our crime is related to domestic abuse – of spouses, children and paramours.
And some results from the frightening inability of some to settle disagreements, personal or financial, non-violently.
Sadly, too many in our community are becoming indifferent to the calamity being wrought on our capital city, believing themselves isolated from the violence. The accidental death of children caught in the crossfire of feuding criminals in recent times puts a lie to such beliefs.
There can be no dissent to the decision to place environmental sustainability at the forefront of The Bahamas’ policy agenda. As successive Bahamian leaders of government have warned, climate change, sea level rise and the increasing frequency of mega tropical cyclones pose an existential threat to life as we have known it in The Bahamas.
Last week, we commended Prime Minister Davis for chairing the Nassau Environmental Conference where heads of government were to formulate a regional position to be presented to COP27 in three months’ time.
Davis has made the monetizing of carbon credits to help fund urgently required initiatives to enhance environmental sustainability in The Bahamas and in other similarly vulnerable regional states the central plank of his environmental agenda.
It is regrettable, therefore, that the absence of representation at the highest level from major Caribbean states at the Nassau meeting may serve to devalue the contribution that the meeting might have had.
While each of the British overseas territories were represented in Nassau as was Cuba, we are not aware of high-level representation from the French and Dutch Caribbean territories nor from the Dominican Republic.
Notably absent from the lineup of heads in attendance were the majority of CARICOM heads of government.
The prime ministers of Barbados, Dominica and Grenada attended. Notably, the prime minister of St. Lucia, the lead CARICOM head on the environment did not; nor did the prime ministers from Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname or Trinidad and Tobago.
We have since learned that the recently planned Nassau meeting conflicted with a long-time scheduled CARICOM agricultural conference in Trinidad and Tobago.
Greater attention will have to be given to the scheduling and hosting of important regional meetings, so as to ensure that critically important subjects like the environment receives the fullest hearing and attention possible regionally and internationally.