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The Issues That Matter

EDITOR, The Tribune.

The Christie Administration is badly off course on a number of issues. It is becoming more obvious each and every day that there needs to be a focus and dedicated attention to those bread and butter issues which really matter to the average Bahamian. The current Prime Minister is not the great communicator that many believe him to supposedly be.

The “leader” is off course and his communication skills, such as they might be, are not resonating with “Joe Blow”, much less “Mary Jane”. It was a patently bad mistake for the Christie Administration to suggest that he would put the so-called referendum on “web shops” and so-called “illegal” gaming on the table, at this time.

Everyone, except, for me, buys and plays “numbers” on a daily basis. It is dead wrong, however, for the PLP administration to focus on this one issue, at this time. With all of the other more pressing societal¬, economic and cultural issues, it would seem that the current Prime Minister is wasting precious political goodwill on what may well be a non issue. Let the collective church and its bogus allies and it’s so-called “supporters” rant and carry on while the real and ordinary Bahamian continue to seek the three and four balls, in all of the houses. The Prime Minister and some of his colleagues are worrying about foolishness. The focus of this administration should be in four areas.

• The economy and sustained job growth in the private sector should and must be the number one focus.

• Education and the dismal national grade average come in at a close second.

• Thirdly, the Christie administration should concern itself with a partnership with major insurance companies to come up with an affordable and comprehensive health care package for those Bahamians who may wish to buy into it. It cannot be a scheme where the government of the day runs it.

• Lastly, the Christie regime is obliged to complete the disjointed so-called road project here in New Providence as soon as practicable. The proposed referendum on the web shops should be placed on the back burner for some time next year or so, God willing. While a national debate on the feasibility of legalisation of what I submit is already legal this is basically a non issue and one which is consuming precious time. No matter the legal status, most Bahamians are going to purchase and play their favourite numbers even as you read this. Let the web shops and reputable big four number houses continue to operate as they do today.

The enabling legislation which authorises the Ministry of Finance to charge a fee for these web shops to obtain a license should be amended. The appropriate amendment would impose an annual fee of one million dollars for such a license and 20 per cent of the verifiable gross income from such businesses. All this bogus talk about the influence of the church is utter foolishness and a waste of public time.

Immediate attention must be paid to the still anemic economy and the necessity of job creation within the private sector. Of course, the PLP sold the public a bill of goods during the electoral campaign because no government in this part of the world is able to generate 10,000 new jobs at the stroke of a pen. A more realistic figure would be 500 to 1,000 per month within the private sector. Incentives and relief from the high electrical charges here in New Providence and Grand Bahama must be looked at without more delay. Reduce or forgive outstanding balances for national insurance. Put in place a realistic and affordable plan to enable outstanding BEC accounts to be settled without stress and undue hassle. Allow genuine manufacturers and those involved in the tourism sectors to import all essential materials duty free for the next two years. Our education system is badly broken and is almost dysfunctional. It continues, like clockwork, to produce generations of functionally illiterate graduates. A large percentage of school age leavers or drop outs are unable to read; write or comprehend. We need additional trade schools as opposed to more high schools. Not all school age children are prepared or capable for purely academic subjects. Many of them are good with their hands and are able to relate to hands on career paths such as auto repairs; air conditioning; carpentry; masonry; plumbing, etc. Teach a boy or girl how to actually fish as opposed to giving them a fish.

We have all agreed that a form of universal health care is crucial to the well being and advancement of our national development. How to achieve and fund it, however, is the devil in the detail and one which must be confronted as soon as possible. I would suggest that the Christie regime sit down with a consortium of viable insurance companies and come up with a partnership scheme whereby those insurance companies would collectively offer a comprehensive health care package for all who may wish to apply, regardless of preexisting conditions, at affordable rates. Those who are indigenous could and should be covered by the state and funded through The National Insurance Fund. This scenario whereby people are obliged to hold cook outs and to go around begging must come to an end in a society such as ours. Not a single Bahamian should; could or must be left behind when it comes down to affordable health care.

The ongoing and seemingly never ending road works in New Providence must be brought to a completion as soon as possible. Road reversals for Blue Hill Road and Market Streets are essential. The sidewalks must be modified in terms of width and height. If it means sub contracting out some of the work along the corridors to Bahamian road builders, so be it. This is Mr Christie’s last lap around the political track and he must not squander his political capital talking and doing what might be termed foolishness.

He is reputed to be a good communicator, but sometimes the message gets lost in the rhetoric and meandering verbosity.

To God then, in all things, be the glory.

ORTLAND H BODIE Jr

Nassau,

August 8, 2012.

Comments

Observer 9 years, 5 months ago

This Bodie fellow seems to have all the answers to everyone's problems. He is incredible.

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Arob 9 years, 5 months ago

Bahamians, Reading, writing and comprehension cannot be ignored. Trade schools are institutions where participants/students learn a particular job. Reading, Writing and Comprehension is a part of the training process. Moreover, in the 21st century, our society should not tolerate mentally and physically fit citizens who cannot read, write, and comprehend.
Trade schools are useless if a proper internship or apprenticeship programme is not a part of the education process. For example, 5 years internship before you are certified a plumber!

Furthermore, without a national plan we are creating additional problems-- citizens trained for jobs that do not exist or trained for fields that are already saturated. Haphazard training can result in more frustrated citizens. Trade schools are not bins for rejects.

  • Who do you want repairing your vehicle? Who do you want constructing your home or business? Who do you want to make repairs to your home/business? Who do you want working in your business?

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