“The tragedy is not that things are broken. The tragedy is that things are not mended again.” — Alan Paton, Cry, The Beloved Country
Before the course of determining where we go from here to “right” the ship of state, there has to be a national commitment to recognize our national brokenness. Then there must be a national commitment to mend our national brokenness. There must be national leadership that is prepared to lead The Bahamian people towards mending our national brokenness.
This approach calls for and requires a national unity government.
A unity government is similar to the government that Nelson Mandela tried to create when he took office as president of South Africa. He recognized that there were two roads to be taken to destroy or mend the national brokenness of South Africa: (1) one that lead to destruction, and (2) the other to creating a political landscape where the people could begin the process of living in peace, which is the foundation of national prosperity in all aspects of national life.
A unity government does not mean that all the problems will disappear, but that there is a recognition that there are problems and all, insofar as it is possible, are encouraged to become committed and involved in finding solutions to the problems, be they spiritual, familial, national or personal.
The concept is built around the understanding that (1) God must come first, and (2) the adage “charity begins at home and ends abroad”. That is why I placed the spiritual as number one and the family as number two. If The Bahamas national brokenness is to be mended, God has to be first and foremost and the family second.
It is upon these two pillars (God and family) that we must now begin the process of determining the national 10 to 20-year plan for The Bahamas with input from Bahamians of every political, social, religious, racial, economic and educational stratum.
This can be accomplished by using the same strategy that was used when the PLP was leading the country into independence. There was first a white paper followed by a green paper. Meetings can be held across the length and breadth of The Bahamas to get the input and participation of Bahamians.
Of course, it will be necessary to bring the process to a level so that every Bahamian who participates understands the process. Perhaps, the approach must be radically done by an NGO made of Bahamians who do not have a political agenda but are genuinely concerned about the future development of The Bahamas and its people, from Grand Bahama in the north to Inagua in the south.
Secondly, there needs to be the election of a unity government whose goal will be to underscore the importance of beginning the task of uniting the Bahamian people with the 10 to 20-year development plan as its focus.
Thirdly, there must be the passage of legislation that strikes at the heart of the performance of representation that reflects the national will of the people. A part of this legislative process must be the recall of non-performing representatives.
Fourthly, the Bahamian people, constituency by constituency, must be consulted and informed by their representatives before any legislation is debated and passed by Parliament.
Fifthly, the mindset of Bahamians regarding the role of representation must be changed. This process can be commenced by the unity government making genuine efforts by including Bahamian and foreign investment to develop an economy where all Bahamians will, where they are qualified, be active participants and share in the proceeds from that economy.
Sixthly, there must be progressive legislation to deal with legislators who are found to be involved in corruption, graft and receiving kickbacks from any source with whom they may have been the source of granting contracts.
I do not have all the answers, but the above are some of my thoughts regarding the questions: (1) When are we going to learn how to mend that which is broken and (2) Where do we go from here?
– Dr. Donald M. McCartney