View From Afar: What We Can Learn From Singapore’S Development


John Issa


SINGAPORE is often admired for the progress it has made since becoming an independent island nation in 1965.

It is now one of the most developed countries in the world.

We need to remember that when Singapore attained independence about a year after Jamaica, their legendary leader, Lee Kuan Yew, visited Jamaica to study the Caribbean country’s educational establishment and industrial incentive legislation.

This would tell us that, in the early 1960s, Jamaica was more developed than Singapore. Not today though, not by a very long shot.

I am only singling out Jamaica for comparison because that is the country with which I am most familiar. However, the comparison could be made with very many countries around the world.

There are many reasons for the great progress made by Singapore. However, to try to discuss all or even what I think are the main ones would need the entire newspaper. I will therefore mention just one.

In Singapore, when an individual or company has to apply for a permit or approval in order to carry out some activity whether it be to construct a building or operate a business or for that matter, do anything which needs a government approval or permit, the law provides that if it is not approved or rejected with reasons being given within a specified time, approval is automatic.

Just imagine the speed at which development and growth would take place in the Bahamas if we had a similar law.

Just imagine how much productivity would leap upwards if the time wasted chasing up permits and approvals was eliminated or even severely reduced.

Just imagine the change of mood of Bahamians who have to deal with the bureaucracy.

I respectfully suggest it’s worth trying this approach in the Bahamas. What have we got to lose?

• John Issa is executive chairman of SuperClubs. He is writing regularly in The Tribune.


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