Open letter to PM from Abaco resident

Dear Prime Minister,

I live in Abaco. The forgotten state of The Bahamas.

Our budget for the cays, which is beyond a joke, has not changed in 20 years.

For those of you in Nassau who have no clue as to where the bulk of the revenue is generated in Abaco, that would be the outer cays: Green Turtle, Guana, Man-O-War, Hope Town.

I recently purchased a piece of land here. Bahamian seller, Bahamian buyer, clear title, no conditions.

It has been four months and this still has not closed due to the Nassau government’s dark ages policy of doing things the same way for 40 years.

Turns out Inland Revenue is short staffed and cannot process the receipt of tax revenue. In English, that means no one is available to take the money the Nassau government desperately needs.

Given that this country through sheer incompetence, corruption and willful ignorance cannot make a very simple thing simple, we remain in the red and communities such as ours that contribute so much get virtually nothing back in return.

Would it not make good financial sense to look at other countries that have their act together and try to replicate their system?

I recently purchased a condo in Florida. It took 30 days from start to finish and that included me getting a mortgage.

How long do you think that would take in The Bahamas? It would not happen.

Turns out, I am 60 and I would not get a mortgage in The Bahamas because our banking system is as archaic as our government.

Every time we have an election, I have this hope that finally we are going to get an intelligent person to lead our country that actually realizes that the people who live in the out islands are not stupid and incompetent, that we actually know more about what happens here and what needs to be done.

We can actually thrive if left to manage our own affairs and that would give the Nassau black hole more revenue AND release them from having to “manage” from afar.

Does Nassau realize the revenue lost just in property value evaluation? Uncollected taxes?

If real local government was established, where some of the revenues collected remained in Abaco, it would be a win-win situation.

We would be motivated to collect the revenue and get the job done which Nassau has failed miserably to do. We get revenue to manage our island and Nassau gets more money too.

I suspect that this has never happened because Nassau fears another island might do a better job, that we might actually get it right.

In the meantime, the “ Family Islands” rot on the vine due to neglect and Nassau gets more and more overcrowded.

Forty years and countless administrations and we continue to do things the same way. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Some years back, Nassau changed our name from Out Islands to Family Islands. We need to change it back.

We most certainly are not treated as family but forgotten. Well, not totally forgotten as Nassau still wants our money.

In the end, I remain hopeful that one day we will find a bold leader who wants our country to join the 21st century.


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