I do not subscribe to the doom and gloom scenario being currently preached by some.
Yes, the onslaught of Dorian and the anemic response of the Minnis administration were devastating.
Yes, the sudden arrival of the coronavirus in March of this year wrecked havoc on our financial affairs and mental well being. We are optimistic, but not blind.
Successive governments are to blame for the huge budget imbalances and the soaring deficits.
In addition, save for people like James Smith and Sir William Allen, our ministers of finance knew/know next to nothing as it relates to national budgets and high finance.
These are not play-play things and it’s not like saying two plus two equals four.
Our economic model has not changed in more than 60-plus years since the heydays of the late great Sir Stafford Sands.
He was an extraordinarily gifted lawyer and minister of tourism and finance. He knew how to crunch numbers while putting measures in place to build and brand Bahamian tourism. He and the United Bahamian Party (UBP) had their share of challenges and some of them harbored alleged racial views.
The latter may well have been the case but, like the individuals or not, they were determined and focused in lifting our country into the modern world.
Today, we are the acknowledged jewel of the Caribbean.
Dorian and COVID-19, however, are going to pose challenges going forward. We shall overcome them and more, however.
As a nation, we are blessed with a resolute people even if we do not vocalize or recognize this fact.
We have faced difficulties before and we took them on and put them down.
We will now need to think outside of the proverbial box. We will determine to become more digitally savvy and more online-orientated. Brick and mortar buildings with the attendant high operational costs will become passe.
Entrepreneurs will come to see the wisdom of doing business from home, via smartphones and shared office space.
Having a handful of non-producing employees will become a thing of the past as one discovers that one is able to do more with less. Solar and other natural means of producing energy will replace fossil fuels and their high costs.
We have an abundance of Crown land which has not and is not being utilized properly by successive offices of the prime minister but is/has been used as a source of political patronage.
Crown land must be liberalized and granted/sold based on a sensible business plan or construction of affordable housing. Business as usual cannot and must not be allowed to continue.
BTVI and other vocational facilities must be expanded and I would encourage all Bahamians, regardless of current occupations or age, to return to the classroom where feasible, and learn a new trade or enhance the skill set they might have. This life-long dependency on the government of the day must come to an end sooner rather than later.
Yes, my fellow Bahamians, the best days are ahead for our wonderful nation.
Due to the close proximity of the USA and Canada to The Bahamas, once a vaccination is found for the coronavirus or curves continue to flatten, tourists will once again flock to our shores in bigger numbers than before. Obviously health and other protocols must be in place and observed.
The big box hotels will continue but we must develop and promote inter-island destinations.
Once this is done, we would be able to steer much more of our arrivals to these wide open, clean and pristine locations. Much economic activity will be generated and the debilitating migration of fellow Bahamians from the Family Islands to New Providence will slow down dramatically.
Politically, the scales have been removed from the eyes of most of us.
We have seen the FNM in action with Dorian and we have witnessed in living colors the forte or lack of it by Minnis and crew in dealing with the pandemic and the absolute resultant destruction of the economy. We have learned that the words of most politicians mean next to nothing.
Now that the restrictions have been eased, social distancing and sanitary procedures must still be followed and observed. Arawak Cay and Potter’s Cay may have been reopened too, soon as, I submit, some of our houses of worship.
Our best days, however, are yet ahead of us and I am confident that by the end of this year we will be well on the road to a full recovery and bursting at the seams with new streams of revenue.
God has our backs despite it all. Therefore, in all things, to God be the glory.
— Ortland H. Bodie Jr.