EDITOR, The Tribune.
AS we approach the end of 2017, I should like to weigh in on the recently introduced Commercial Enterprises Bill. I commend the government for this effort on behalf of Bahamians everywhere who are naturally enterprising spirits. It is about time we embrace the times and realize the importance of facilitating innovation and creativity, elements of the future, in this country. There are too many Bahamians who cannot work at home simply because the business climate is not amenable to their needs, and/or the monetary benefits are not comparable or attractive.
I am interested in how this message to potential investors (Bahamian and foreign alike) will be distributed abroad to the wider world as this Bill presents an opportunity to establish the environment that will attract business persons in innovative fields, offer opportunities for our own Bahamian millennials that they can relate to and thrive in. In today’s world there is no reason why Bahamians who are immersed in technology, robotics, animation and such, cannot have the opportunities and outlets here at home to hone their skills, along with other approved professionals from anywhere in the world.
Since amendments were made to level the playing field to ensure that Bahamians have the same concession.s as the foreigners, and mandate that Bahamians be trained in any new industry, this Bill can be a ‘win-win’ for all involved. For too long we have bent over backwards for the foreigner and denied our own to their detriment. Let’s think ‘Bahamians first’ in the first beginning.
However, as in all things Bahamian, whereas the above theory might well hold water, the sixty-four dollar question is: can it be efficiently implemented and executed? Herein lies the rub.
The term ‘ease of doing business in The Bahamas’ is an oxymoron - for anything to work in Bahamian business, an essential change needs to begin here. Another year of Business Licence renewals is but days away. Dare the business community expect recent promises of necessary improvements in this area?To reach a point where government agencies and institutions are working efficiently and effectively will take a miracle, so I reserve judgment on this aspect until massive ‘evacuations’ and training exercises take place there on a consistent basis.The role of the Immigration Department is crucial to the efficient implementation of this Bill and with the illegal .mmigrant regularization process looming on the horizon, I also reserve judgment in this regard.Cooperation and collaboration amongst various government agencies is also essential, but I am sceptical of these individuals opening up the windows and doors of their fiercely protected silos to share anything with anyone – this is a sad and regressive state of affairs.Financial opportunities and business skills assistance are also sadly lacking here, particularly for SMEs and creative business persons – whereas their ideas abound in fecund abandon, they are also wont to shrivel up like a raisin in the sun as they fall on barren earth.Education remains the key to any success, so we live in hope that plans in tandem with relevant agencies and Bahamian schools starting at the pre-school level, are also being put in place. Together, let us look forward and upward to a Hopeful New Year 2018, Bahamas.
December 29, 2017.