By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
AS ELECTION season kicks into high-gear, non-profit action group Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG) today launches its own campaign to educate Bahamians on national issues and the critical need for reform.
The initiative, called “The Campaign for the Bahamas”, targets three key areas for reform: government accountability and transparency, education and economic development.
“The Bahamas is struggling to move forward and not enough action is being taken to turn it around,” said Dionisio D’Aguilar, ORG council member. “Disaster is looming right around the corner and something needs to be done to change, and change fast.
“It is necessary people understand the issues so they can understand their importance to the future of the country and its citizens.”
The campaign’s website, www.campaign242.org, will be the group’s primary tool for spreading awareness and engaging public participation, along with print and radio advertisements, which start today.
Current legislation being supported includes the Freedom of Information Act and the Whistleblower Act.
“We need the right information and documentation from our government,” said Robert Myers, chairman of the ORG council. “If we see something that isn’t right, we need to have the right to say something.
“At this point in time, we have but this one chance to get the governance and management of this country right. Or it will, without a doubt, be thrust into a more desperate and unsustainable state.”
In a statement, ORG pointed to 2012 statistics of national test scores that indicate 56 per cent of students in The Bahamas perform at a grade D level or lower.
“Combine that with the number of students who either dropped out or didn’t take the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE), and the statistic becomes even more staggering, with 70 per cent of young people undereducated and therefore unable to pursue gainful employment or a college education,” the statement said. “Statistics show that there has been no improvement in the country’s education system in the last 35 years.”
The group underscored the direct correlation between education and the economy, challenging that the undereducated populace is wreaking havoc on the country’s socio-economic development, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and citizenry.
“Quality education is critical to develop a more informed public who can access good jobs with livable wage employment and contribute back to the country’s economy,” Mr Myers said.
“The Campaign for The Bahamas is about effecting positive change in these critical areas,” says Myers. “But we cannot do this alone. This is a fight we all must take on. We need family, friends and neighbours to lend their voices and support to this effort. We need civil society, corporations, associations and political organisations to partner and do their part.
“With the entirety of the Bahamian community working together, we can ensure the successful future of our county.”
ORG is a non-profit foundation dedicated to addressing long-standing issues plaguing The Bahamas.