According to mainstream media, social media, and even just catchin’ gapseed, tings these days ain’t what they used to be ‘round here. And if you’re not at least disturbed by a lot of stuff going on now, you have to be a little disturbed.
Who can deny that these are some serious times in our Bahamas today? It, therefore, goes without saying that serious times call for serious solutions.
We may also add to that assessment that if we are not a part of the solution, then by inactivity and lack of involvement, we are by default a part of the problem.
To try to coax those hesitant to get involved in changing our Bahamas into a much better place, we are likely to get a cynical response: “What’s the point?”
However, we are all automatically connected, individually and collectively, on our ship of state. We make the difference as to whether it sails or sink.
As melodramatic as it may seem at first, the truth is that we all have a role to play in making this Bahamas a better place. Famously said in another context, “If ya can’t fish, cut bait.”
For sure, we all have our roles to play — no slackers, no contrarians.
Borrowing from yet another famous quotation, and transposing it into a Bahamian context, we should direct our minds and our actions into what we can do for our nation, rather than what it can do for us. Like a good bank, we should expect to get out of it what we put into it.
In the burgeoning chaos and national misdirection of recent times, that would be a novel and much-needed paradigm shift.
There may be a lot of noise in the market, but we ought to only mind the price of the fish.
We will, indeed, have a very high price to pay for our future well-being, if we fail to curtail all that has gotten out of hand at this point. There’s a steep price to pay if we keep business as usual.
Literally and figuratively, from the cradle to the grave, changes are necessary, and changes will come whether they are positive or negative. We have a right and a responsibility to choose our destiny.
What then should we change in this Bahamaland, and why? We may all come up with a long list of things we see wrong, as well as another list of things we would like to have in place as we enter the second half of the century as an independent nation.
With the political structure that we have and had in place, who can honestly say that for longer than the last half-century, we have not been perfecting that popular dance, one step forward, two steps backwards? A fair critique would result in a unanimous agreement on that fact.
Notwithstanding that many Bahamians are a bit thin-skinned, it may be pointed out here that a critique and outright criticism are not necessarily the same thing. One is inclined to be objective, while the other may be motivated by subjective bias, such as one’s political party.
That aside, even criticism in and of itself is not a wholly useless thing. For instance, no matter who tells you that you should not take advantage of someone, even if they do so more than you, their criticism would still be valid. Changing mindsets, along with changing actions, are keys to unlocking the doors to a better Bahamas, once we build better Bahamians.
Systemic changes, not just arbitrary changes, have to be a part of our new and improved Bahamas. Changes for changing sake are out of the question.
That principle of Sankofa (looking both backward and forward) has its place in the mechanism of designing our new system. Finding absolute agreement among Bahamians on any particular subject is virtually impossible, but a huge majority would undoubtedly attest that no perfect system of governance or model of a utopian society now exists to be copied.
No magical panacea can be arrived at, no matter how intense and comprehensive the deliberations. So, contingencies must be put in place to make necessary amendments to our new and improved national development blueprint.
It may be written in indelible ink perhaps, but not etched in stone. One value in looking backward is not to repeat the follies of our past.
We will necessarily have to acknowledge things that did not suit our particular framework or worked in the best interest of Bahamians and The Bahamas.
We can look circumspectly at all that plagues the present-day Bahamas and devise real solutions that would preclude such happenings from occurring in the our future.
That list of malfunctioning and dysfunctional laws, policies and practices ought to find its way into the obituary pages as soon as possible.
Then, looking forward, a new constitution ought to include a very comprehensive outline of rights and responsibilities mandated for all Bahamians, along with all persons in The Bahamas.
Ambiguity should have no place in our reconstituted Bahamas. There would be a place for everyone, and everyone would know their place.
As a parting shot, please forgive the harsh analogy, but The Bahamas could become the most beautiful, best-tasting omelette on the planet. As we all know, to make an omelette, we have to break a few eggs (step on a few corns).
Sorry to all those who lose their undue privileges and status in the process of making things better for everyone.
In our new and improved Bahamas, we need not change our national symbols at all.
All we need to do is live up to them, and ensure that they have real meaning in all that we do as we “March On Bahamaland”.