By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
A Cabinet Minister yesterday admitted that successive governments had “committed some sins” in failing to properly manage the Bahamas, as he warned: “The world is leaving us behind.”
Khaalis Rolle, minister of state for investments, warned that the Bahamas could not afford to let another 15 years elapse before deciding to “organise the future” via the creation of a National Development Plan (NDP).
Addressing the launch of the Bahamas Coalition of Services Industries, Mr Rolle said the next ‘State of the Nation’ report “will not be pretty” if the Bahamas fails to capitalise on the current NDP momentum and produce a long-term plan for social and economic development.
Recalling his visit to New York last week to address the United Nations (UN) Public Service Day conference, Mr Rolle said it quickly became evident that many countries were further ahead of the Bahamas when it came to NDP-type planning.
“I spoke about transformation of the civil service to allow us to deliver on many of the goals and objectives of the people of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas,” Mr Rolle said, “particularly in terms of having a well-managed and structured delivery mechanism, which is the NDP.
“What became patently obvious to me is that each and every country has its foundation in an NDP. Many of them were refining their third generation strategies to engage people in their countries, getting them closer to Government, making sure whatever is done is to the benefit of the people.”
The Bahamas Coalition of Services Industries is a body designed to advocate for, and champion, the segment of the Bahamian economy that accounts for more than 70 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) and more than half of all local jobs.
The Coalition’s creation is the culmination of an 18-month effort instigated by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA), working closely with Bahamian consultant, Don Demeritte, the Government, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC), industry groups and other stakeholders.
The Bahamas thus becomes the 14th CARICOM member to establish such a Coalition, joining the 13 others who are already part of the Caribbean Network of Services Coalitions (CNSC), an initiative that was itself launched 15 years ago.
Mr Rolle, though, said the Bahamas’ lateness in establishing such a body “jumped out at me”, especially given the importance of services industries to the Bahamian economy’s well-being.
“This is not something was recently conceived; it was present in 2001,” Mr Rolle said of the Coalition of Services Industries concept. “The Bahamas continues to show up late. In 2016, it’s just coming to the party.
“The world is leaving us behind. Typically, you don’t hear politicians about what’s wrong.... and we’ve done a lot of things right, but long-term, sustainable growth has eluded us.”
Hence the need for the current NDP drive, and Mr Rolle described as “frightening” the apparent lack of concern in some quarters over the Bahamas’ future well-being.
“We have to start taking planning seriously, taking the future seriously, and the only way to do that is having an organised approach, and having the infrastructure and resources allocated to get the results we deserve in this country,” the Minister said.
“It’s not just one government that’s not lived up to the transformation and expectations of this country. We have all committed some sins in managing this country. The people have to demand that we cannot manage this country without a long-term NDP.”
Mr Rolle said the Government had gone to “great lengths to make this a true people centric plan”, allowing the private sector to take the lead in its design and crafting, and acting just as a co-ordinating agency and resource provider.
“We can’t let 15 years go by before we produce something that organises the future,” he added. “If we continue to do that, you can assume that the next State of the Nation report will not be pretty, as the trends show we continue to slide in areas we should not.”
Mr Rolle said the Government had “very talented and committed people” working for it, but needed to change the infrastructure and system to ensure it maximised the resources and abilities at its disposal.
“We don’t have a lot of time,” he added. “The world is changing around us, and if we’re going to be the country we want and need to be, we can’t have things done in silos or vacuums.”
Mr Rolle said the Government had “gone through a painstaking approach” to ensure as many Bahamian consultants as possible were involved with the NDP.
He added that the administration spent significant sums on hiring foreign consultants, who often “come in and tell us what we already know”. Mr Rolle said it was important for them to be replaced by Bahamians with the necessary knowledge and expertise.
banker 6 years, 8 months ago
Yes, but only one government officially sanctioned and profited from drug running.
Well_mudda_take_sic 6 years, 8 months ago
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