Former Attorney General Alfred Sears QC, who is also running on the Progressive Liberal Party ticket for the Fort Charlotte constituency, yesterday said the country’s mounting debt is on course to ultimately lead to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) stabilization plan.
Sears said the first thing Bahamians must do heading into next week’s general election – and today’s advanced poll – is to acknowledge that there were deficits to how the economy has been managed.
“We are in unchartered waters, we are dealing with certain threats to the very existence of our country, global warming for example, which means that we will have more severe hurricanes and other kinds of natural disasters. We are also faced with a global crisis which is the COVID-19 pandemic. But we also have a number of other challenges as a consequence,” he said while appearing as a guest on the Guardian Radio talk show The Revolution.
“We have an unsustainable debt, which means that if we do not address governance and national development differently, we will be the subject of a stabilization plan by the International Monetary Fund, (and) there will be a default on the $10 billion debt that we currently have. So, what the Progressive Liberal Party has done is have this deep introspection and recognized that it is not sufficient to play musical chairs with the FNM. There needs to be what I call an economic revolution.”
Sears said there needs to be thoughtful conversation and reflection with the Bahamian society and various stakeholders and to put forward a program that will take the nation where it needs to go to move beyond the monocultural economy which has for decades been based “solely on tourism and a kind of Las Vegas-style tourism”.
He said this economic model is not rooted in the cultural heritage assets of The Bahamas.
“(We’ll have) a side sector of the financial services, and diversify this economy, so that we can create multiple streams of revenue for the government. And fundamentally, we have to change the assumptions of development from the mercantilist assumptions – which is that we will be saved by foreign investments, and the recognition that Bahamians have to be saved by ourselves,” Sears said.
“Therefore, we are proposing that we remove this preference for foreign investors, better incentivize Bahamians and the development of national capital. Yes, foreign investors are still welcome, but Bahamians must assume the historic responsibility of owning capital, developing capital and developing the national economy of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”