0

‘Political Mismanagement’ Undermining Bahamas Economic Sustainability

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

A governance reform advocate has urged politicians to produce “more action, less talk”, and warned that Government mismanagement is threatening “economic sustainability”.

Robert Myers, a principal with the Organisation for Responsible Governance (ORG) civil society grouping, told Tribune Business that Friday’s ‘We March’ protest - which he attended - showed many Bahamians were tired of the status quo and unfulfilled promises from politicians.

“They need to do more action and less talk,” Mr Myers said of politicians in general, and government in particular. “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

Prime Minister Perry Christie made a last-ditch effort to stave off the ‘We March’ protest by inviting the organisers to attend a presentation of the National Development Plan, and making multiple promises on the problems his government plans to address.

“I think that he’s completely misread the people, and it’s too little, too late,” Mr Myers said in response to the publication of Mr Christie’s five-page letter to the ‘We March ‘ organisers.

“It’s too little, too late. He’s reacting to what’s going on, as opposed to being collaborative, inclusive, transparent and accountable.

“If he meant what he said, why’s he not acting on issues like public disclosure, Freedom of Information Act, transparency and accountability, and Fiscal Responsibility.

“He’s had ample time to address these issues of significance, that’s why people are upset. It’s all talk, no action.”

Mr Myers added that “the same thing applies to the previous administration” headed by Hubert Ingraham, which rushed a Freedom of Information Act through at the last minute, and failed to address similar concerns.

“It’s doubly disappointing,” he added of both governments, “and their mismanagement is significantly affecting a wide range of Bahamian opportunities and economic sustainability.

“The time has long passed. We need governance, no matter by which party, that is open, accountable, responsible and collaborative. We need a new form of governance.

“We don’t want to be told. We want to inform and be part of the solution. Many people want to do that, but in some cases they feel shut out or even victimised by government; not just this one.

“Governments, if they don’t like what you’re talking about, try and smack you down by victimisation or bad mouthing you. It’s vicious and has got to stop. We need more mature and responsible governance, with the understanding that we need to be collaborative and inclusive.”

Mr Myers acknowledged that changing the culture of Bahamian governance would be difficult, especially for those in high office in both the public sector and the political parties.

“It’s particularly difficult when you’ve come up on a political party system where you’ve had to fight for the top post, and then get into government where you have to fight for the top post again,” he added.

“You’ve got all these party constitutions and political conventions and, for the most part, they’ve got all their political appointees in place and it’s very hard to get it changed.

“We’ve got to figure out how to fix this, and that means a shake up at all levels. We’ve seen today that the people are showing they’re fed up with this,” Mr Myers said.

“Hopefully, the politicians will take note and start real change - working on a Freedom of Information Act, deficit control, the inequitable enforcement of the rule of law. These are critical issues for the improvement of your economy.”

Comments

John 5 years, 5 months ago

Obviously when the PM realized how large (and successful) the march was going he tried to cut it off at the last minute. His efforts failed and the March was a black eye for government, especially with so many tourists in town and who witnessed some part of the event or another. The number of murders occurring this weekend alone and continuing throughout the day proves something is desperately wrong in this country. This latest wave of murder started in October just before the hurricane and seems to be getting worse rather than slowing up. And despite the economy being disrupted by Hurricane Mathew and many being affected negatively, the government seems determined in its assault on these businesses in search for more revenue. Many businesses are on the verge of closing like one electricity bill from being bankrupt. Even despite there being no strong opposition with a clear plan for the country many feel that giving this government another term is major disaster. Too many taxes not enough productivity from government.

0

Porcupine 5 years, 5 months ago

You are very right on the government preying on businesses. But, carry this thought further. VAT is a regressive tax, meaning the poor pay more. And, for the businesses that "make it" they must pass on these higher costs to whom? Yes, the consumer, us. What is clear is that this government not only lacks the empathy for those who are doing the suffering, but lacks the intelligence and wisdom to even save their own asses. There will be a breaking point. The march was step one. Every MP must have an escape plan from this country. It is only a matter of time when the people wake up and realize who has been fooking them while they slept. It is just a matter of time.

1

OMG 5 years, 5 months ago

Such a good on point article. Donald Trump amongst all the garbage he spouted did point out that Hillary had 30 years in politics to do all the things she was now promising to do. The same applies to Christie who just spouts meaningless promises thinking that the electorate will accept and forget. Despite Fitzgerald lauding the grade D average in schools, times are different and the younger generation have more insight because of the media and social networks . Don't forget VAT is going up (as was always planned) and this extra cash will simply disappear into the consolidated fund once again.

1

John 5 years, 5 months ago

The problem is government cannot seem to be able to stop the hemmoraging of public funds or even slow it to the point of having it under control. It is like pouring water 💦 in a bottomless pit. Water and sewerage claims they have not stopped 80% of the water that was going missing and now have the task of convincing consumers to come back on the system. And that their water is now clean, safe and the supply is reliable. Government needs to take a similar initiative with public funds. Set a goal to ensure that 90% of all government funds are accounted for and in the same vein ensure th government gets value for money on its expenditures. Aim to make honestly and accountability the order of the day, as opposed to corruption and cronyism and nepotism. Then government spending can be controlled and taxes reduced.

1

Sign in to comment