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The Bahamas is one of the most difficult places for its own citizens to do business or become entrepreneurs!

An Open Note To The Bahamas Prime Minister, The Hon. Philip Davis


As The Bahamas prepares to celebrate fifty (50) years as an “independent” Country, one is left to ponder if we have truly made any real strides towards economic prosperity


As this is our country Mr. Prime Minister, then we the people should have more of a stake in it. As Voltaire said, “A multitude of laws in a country is like is a great number of physicians, a sign of weakness and malady.”



"The Way Forward"


By: Dr Kevin Turnquest Alcena
LLB (Hon-1st Cl.), LLM (Hon-1st Cl.)
PhD in Economics / Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology
Ph.D. in Public Health / PhD in Herbal and Holistic Medicine
Titular Professor
Lawyer & Fellow—CILEx; ACIArb; & Snr. Fellow–AMLA

Sept. 21, 2022


Bahamian Nation
Great Economist, Adam Smith said, “A nation is not made wealthy by the childish accumulation of shiny metals, but is enriched by the economic prosperity of its people.” Well if the wealth of a country is incumbent upon the state of its economics, then Mr. Prime Minister - The Bahamas and its leaders have been “…weighed in the balances, and art found wanting” (Daniel 5:27)! As this nation prepares to celebrate fifty (50) years as an “independent” country, one is left to ponder if we have truly made any real strides towards economic prosperity.

The passing of Queen Elizabeth signified the ending of an era of which those left behind have broken through the barriers of hundreds of decades of forced tradition. The tearing down of these invisible walls and unrealistic expectations have now given the future generation’s options and choices their forefathers were forbidden to make.

However, can we as a “sovereign” nation say the same? When one considers the many archaic and draconian measures still in place that hinders progression in The Bahamas, are we really moving forward? Or are we stuck in decades of false traditions and mental slavery that keeps us in cycles of poverty rather than prosperity?

If Smith’s idea of economic prosperity is to be believed, then where is our wealth Mr. Prime Minister?

Do not get me wrong sir - this is not an indictment on you per se, but rather a question for all of those that have made themselves available to represent the public.

Granted Mr. Prime Minister, The Right Honorable Philip “Brave” Davis, you have made excellent headway in trying to transition this country through a pandemic and into recovery, as well as aiming to improve the social and economic status of the less fortunate. There are still some key areas that need immediate attention and with the right team of advisors I do not doubt some of these issues can be resolved.

Firstly, let’s take a look at the issue of Bahamians helping Bahamians. The Bahamas is one of the most difficult places for its own citizens to do business or become entrepreneurs! The process at Inland Revenue itself is nonsensical. It’s almost completely automated, which makes it difficult to speak to someone on the phone or even in person. What’s the point of having a building full of people if you cannot speak to anyone?

Moreover, if the system has been automated, why is the turnaround time so long? Furthermore, you are required to fill out the application for all agencies on one website, yet, we still have to wait for each of these agencies to separately respond, especially Environmental Health and Ministry of Works!

May I suggest that if one agency is used to fill out the application, then the system should be digitized so that all agencies can tap into a central portal that will allow all relevant parties to receive a notification of when requests come in, and they can begin working on them simultaneously so that the response time and confusion are drastically diminished!

Another issue with doing business in this country is the bureaucracy and the ridiculous criterion of having a “letter of good standing” from N.I.B. If this institution is supposed to have an entire unit dedicated to ensuring that employers are paying their contributions, why then is this letter necessary? If the personnel hired for this task are doing their jobs by prosecuting those who are not meeting their obligations - then this procedure can be quelled.

As this is our country Mr. Prime Minister, then we the people should have more of a stake in it. As Voltaire said, “A multitude of laws in a country is like is a great number of physicians, a sign of weakness and malady.”

Secondly, the government needs to devise a National plan to eradicate illiteracy and the decreasing national average. Social promotion has and still does not help in meeting the needs of our children.

There are over 5,000 students leaving school every year in this country with less than 20% attending college. So, what happens to the other 80%? What prospects do they have if they cannot meet the basic needs of reading and writing? Stephen Covey said one of the “Habits of Highly Effective Leaders” is being innovative.

It is imperative that technical schools be erected to help those that cannot comprehend or pass ten (10) academic subjects. Jamaica, for example has fourteen (14) Technical Schools and two (2) Agriculture schools, which means they are even training their students to feed themselves and their families.

If our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean understand the importance of alternative education, why haven’t we? The government should take a note out of Haiti’s book - in that it has asked Cuba to assist them with their illiteracy problem.

The Human Resource of our country is the most critical part of any nation because we are a service based economy. Another alternative to alleviating the educational problem could be the introduction of a National Service. This would assist those males and females between the ages of 17-21 who are delinquent and continue to be a menace to society, but are not old enough to be placed in Fox Hill Prison.

The programs in place are not helping and only making these young people aggressive and unproductive citizens of society. Something must be done, and the usage of the old Victorian system has already set our kids up for failure. “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid” (Albert Einstein).

Thirdly, as I have said many times before, the national debt dilemma truly needs to be addressed. A national plan begins with having the right set of people in place that can not only give advice, but wise counsel. Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors, there is safety.”

Mr. Prime Minster, wise counsel can keep you and this country from destruction. Simply appointing people to this post or this position does not expand knowledge or make for a great plan. There is no economic think tank or advisory board that can steer this country in the way forward.

We need persons with international connections that can help the country with debt management, and transition to a position of prosperity. Stephen Covey said, “Make time for planning; wars are won in the general’s tent.”

We are continuing the same old structure of bringing back and allowing bureaucrats to dictate or give advice on the way forward. We are looking to you for a paradigm shift in how we do business in this country, because at present - we are digressing.

We see a cycle of people repositioning themselves over and over again; the former this one or that one, and all at the expense of the taxpayer’s money.

The Opposition Leader suggested a good recourse for decreasing our debt; that being allowing Bahamians to buy bonds into our debt. This alternative makes good economic sense and is innovative. The old anachronistic structure at Central Bank needs to be change and rid ourselves of some of these committees. The country is too small and too deep in debt to continue down this path.

Recently, there have been some Bahamians who have decided to open a council in Miami and become digital nomads. This is because the taxes here are too high and defeats the purpose of trying to improve one’s social economic status.

How are we going to help the 49,000 people that is out of work with the existing structure in place? We need to deregulate the country, and allow for ease of doing business for both Bahamians and foreigners.

N.I.B. should be privatized before it goes broke from all the borrowing and mismanagement of money that takes place.

Another ingenious idea to assist in ridding us of this national debt is the implementation of a National Lottery. We have the knowledge and people with the ability and connections to direct the leaders on how to go about doing this. A National Lottery can aid in supplementing Social Services, Education and Youth and Sports, because as it stands - we have no monies to overhaul these ministries.

Also, looking at a Public Service Reform and reducing the public service by at least 20,000 as we can no longer maintain it - will be a big step in moving in the right direction.

In concluding, Matthew 20:26 states, “…Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.” Mr. Prime Minister, as a great leader - you are called to serve the people and to do so, you must meet the people where they are at.

Progression requires change, and it must begin with those who have taken a step forward and chosen to lead those they are in authority over. Many are still struggling to get by and need help in getting to their destination.

It’s time to be more than just innovative, but think outside the box; time for something new. As Barak Obama said, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Source 


This post first appeared on Bahamas, please read the originial post: here

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