EDITOR, The Tribune.
IT is extremely unfortunate the government does not seem to understand that in order for us to have lasting prosperity and success as a nation there are areas in which our culture must change. It is not enough to simply try to bolster the economy and provide jobs, while the greater percentage of our people live like animals in the jungle. The core values of our people must be addressed.
Constraints in time and space does not allow this to be a complete list, but these are several areas that need immediate attention if this nation is to be turned around.
Common courtesy and respect for others and their property are values that used to be taught at home. Parents used to teach their children how to speak to others respectfully, how to answer a telephone and take messages. Now this most basic training has to be taught in many entry level jobs. Many do not even know how to dress for an interview or how to complete a resume properly. The proliferation of single parent homes has seen a significant increase in the number of untrained children who become uncouth adults.
More value is placed in natural hair weaves, tattoos, push-up bras and inch long eyelashes than an education. Many young adults who fail to take advantage of the education offered to them, are pushed through the educational system. After graduation, many are chronological adults with a 6th grade mentality who feel entitled to have a job that they are ill prepared for. So naturally, they make minimum wage or slightly better and perpetuate the cycle of material and mental poverty by soon having children themselves.
The issue of work ethic must be addressed. The average Bahamian wants a job, but they do not really want to work. Many stroll into work late or after arriving they have to have breakfast first. They are satisfied collecting a cheque without any regard for whether or not they may have earned it. Many do not understand a company’s vision and what their role is in fulfilling it. Concepts of honesty and integrity are largely unknown. They believe the employer should pay them according to what their personal responsibilities are not for the value their position has to the employer. How often people complain about their bills and why the boss should pay them more, but they are not working while they complain! Some reinforce this nonsense by advocating for workers to have their birthdays off when many of them simply pass the time when at work on other days.
Far too many function on a purely survival instinct. Everything they do is in an effort to survive or to feel like they are getting ahead.
There is no rationale in their actions, no concept of consequences for actions. The almighty dollar is their god, though they have no concept of how to manage or invest it. Their lives are hard, their hearts harder. They are always on the hustle, eager to pull one over on the unsuspecting.They will cut you off in traffic, run red lights, cut in front of you in lines, get involved in relationships and steal from their employers just to get ahead. Many of these people are able to find jobs in tourism and become undesirable ambassadors for the country. You see many of these unsightly faces outside of stores on Bay Street. What is the point of spending millions of dollars marketing the tourism product abroad only to have tourists come and have experiences with some of these ‘hustlers’ that results in the countries image being tarnished? They have no loyalty to God, country or others, only themselves! Haven’t we all experienced this?
Success in this economy is unsustainable in a way that will expand the middle class if fundamental cultural values remain unchanged. Any gains made will speedily evaporate if we do not learn how to retain them. The government cannot overlook the value of creating essential cultural change in the areas of work, family and education.
December 18, 2017.