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‘We Have To Open Up The Economy’

Finance Minister K Peter Turnquest speaks in Parliament.

Finance Minister K Peter Turnquest speaks in Parliament.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribumedia.net

FINANCE Minister K Peter Turnquest yesterday accused the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) of “dumbing down” debate on the “visionary” Commercial Enterprises Bill 2017, as he castigated the opposition for attempting to “stop” the Bahamas’ progress.

Speaking in the House of Assembly yesterday as debate began on this legislation, the East Grand Bahama MP made a strong push for the bill telling Parliament it would facilitate ease of doing business, and more importantly make The Bahamas attractive to niche high value markets.

These markets outlined in the bill include mutual fund administration, wealth management, computer programming, nano technology, call centres and manufacturing or assembly of manufactures among other niche areas.

But before debate began in the morning session of Parliament, Official Opposition Leader Philip “Brave” Davis insisted there had not been sufficient public consultation or discussion among nongovernmental agencies (NGOs) on the bill, calling on the government to defer debate.

PLP Deputy Leader I Chester Cooper later backed Mr Davis. During his contribution, the Exuma and Ragged Island MP went on to maintain that the bill “rolled out the red carpet” for foreigners. He further criticised the government over its $250,000 threshold of investment.

In its current form, Mr Cooper said he could not support the bill. And when the House convened after the morning session, PLP South Andros MP Picewell Forbes said he would not support the proposed bill while PLP MP for Englerston Glenys Hanna Martin raised strong objections.

Mrs Hanna Martin said the legislation is institutionalising the “marginalisation of the Bahamian people” and is “gouging” the foundation on which the country was built.

“I want to encourage the side opposite, please stop dumbing down the debate,” Mr Turnquest said. “Again the fears of Bahamians is not about positive immigration, it’s about migration and we must not confuse the two because we do so to the detriment of country and development of our own country.

“We need economic growth. We’ve got to figure out how we are going to stimulate and cause that to happen and it is not going to happen by having regressive immigration policy. “We have to open up the economy. We have to invite people to participate. We have to encourage Bahamians to invest.

“I want to encourage the side opposite, that when you look at this, don’t look at it from a narrow view of immigration because that’s not what it’s about. This is about changing the paradigm in this country. It is about giving us the opportunity to grow. It’s about recognising the fact that we have a deficit of talent in this country.”

Mr Turnquest also said: “Mr Speaker again what we are talking about here is niche opportunities that do not exist or are undisturbed and so as I listened to the member speak about the investment threshold being $250,000 and how that might be too low, I understand where he is coming from but here is the rationale.

“In most economies, small businesses drive the majority of economic activity. What we are trying to do is to encourage again these niche investors - Bahamians and foreigners to invest in the Bahamas even if it is a sole-proprietor.

“If you have somebody come to invest in say a software development company in the Bahamas he has no need to build a million-dollar building. He has no need to hire 1,500 people, but what he does have a need for is modest accommodation, house, apartment, rent whatever. He is going to participate in civic society. He is going to patronise restaurants and bars or whatever. He’s going to buy a car. He’s going to use services and the business itself is going to pay taxes so there is a lot of spin off for Bahamians.”

For his part, Mr Cooper said he was also concerned the bill created too much bureaucracy - which does not encourage local businesses.

He said the bill was a hard sell to Bahamians because it appeared to make it easier for foreigners through the relaxation of the country’s immigration policy.

The bill would liberalise the granting of work permits to an enterprise that wishes to establish itself in the Bahamas, and requires work permits for its management team and key personnel.

If passed into law as is, the legislation would enable a “specified commercial enterprise” to obtain an Investments Board certificate granting it a specific number of work permits for certain positions.

The certificate, which will initially be issued for one year and can be renewed, would allow key personnel to set up the company’s physical operations in the Bahamas before they obtained a work permit.

Such a permit must be applied for within 30 days of their entry, and the bill mandates the director of immigration to make a decision on approval within 14 days of receiving the application. If the director does not respond within that time frame, the work permit will be “automatically deemed to have been granted.”

Work permits issued under the bill’s provisions will be for a three-year period, and are renewable for the same duration. They can only be revoked on grounds of “public safety, public morality or national security.”

Comments

proudloudandfnm 2 weeks, 4 days ago

I don't understand this "if immigration does not reply the permit is given anyway". Why?

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Dawes 2 weeks, 4 days ago

They are trying to force immigration to respond in a reasonable time frame. Every Government has tried to implement a time frame for when immigration would respond to applications, however immigration never keeps to it. This means immigration either steps up to the plate or is on the sideline.

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sealice 2 weeks, 4 days ago

because the immigration dept is so racist and xenophobic....

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ThisIsOurs 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Why implement this policy directly after Dr .minnis said "all illegal immigrants out by December" and Symonette said it will take us months to get through the BACKLOG of applications"? He couldn't even estimate a timeframe

It's like a schizophrenic person has woken up after six months and trying to do all the conflicting things the voices in their head are telling them to do.

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Islandboy242242 2 weeks, 4 days ago

It's a strange one. Some aspects of the bill could benefit Bahamians, some could very well hurt us. Not sure why in the world they would allow auto approval of work permits after 14 days (what if the application gets lost on someone's desk), and I thought it only applied to the original business creator, but section 7.3 says "and any in-house professional designated." .

I could see how some new business/industry types could spur on growth and breathe some new life into our markets but seems like Bahamians are trying to make some of the listed industries work and grow here without foreign help - LENO Wealth Management etc. I would like to see us first look at incentivizing local Bahamians to start these industries rather than jump right to foreigners................................................................................................................ ........................................... . ... Are they going to designate some zones as Commercial Enterprise Zones and offer free crown land as well? The bill makes mention of zone designation then "economic incentives" to the specified zone so who knows how far that will go?

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DDK 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Agreed. The fourteen day application approval is NOT wise, too many things falling through cracks. Fourteen days IS a good target, however. "Bahamian time" is too far ingrained! Civil servants will need time to adjust. Perhaps a reduction in the application fee if the timely response does not occur. (Said reduction to be paid by staff responsible!)

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TalRussell 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Comrades! Be not so quick brushoff the assertion, if it's possible the red shirts played the silent 'class card' to pull off their 2017 general election win? Something you first need understand to see through the polices being brought forth by the red shirts cabinet.

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jackbnimble 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Tal for once I agree with you. There's something bigger at play here. Perhaps this is payback to some foreign interest for funding the FNM's campaign(?).

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ThisIsOurs 2 weeks, 3 days ago

I believe it's a play for local business upper class, who funded the campaign, and don't want the nuisance of Bahamian employees. That's why the investment threshold is so low. If it were in millions where it should be it would cut them out. They've set it high enough to be out the range of the average Bahamian. Bahamians at large can't even buy land priced at 150,000

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BaronInvest 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Wow! Is there hope for Bahamas? Wish I would have heard those words a year ago before we decided to pull out our companies and sell our properties... might have given the country another chance... we'll see, gonna watch closely what this government is doing.

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sealice 2 weeks, 4 days ago

no there's still not a rat's chance in hell of hope down here.....

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bogart 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Politician from the Executive Branch, in the House of Assembly, Parliament, on the Commercial Enterprises Bill, said qoute (10th para), 'It's about recognising the fact that we have a deficit of talent in this country.' The darnest things politicians say.

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sealice 2 weeks, 4 days ago

thanks to 45 years of dumbing down the population with piss poor government schools so they can be more controllable

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TalRussell 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Comrade Bogart, every red effort being made to return the country back the pre Pindling immigration days!
Every new policy announcement with promises the reds are only do this to benefit the natives are things that make you go hmmm. More red things that make you go - who da fuc# do they's think they is talkin to - natives with low IQ mental challenges?
The red shirts may just have won the 2017 general election by silently playing the 'class card?
Minnis, KP, Brent and AG Carl, are so eager 'work permit foreigners by the thousands' that they is climaxing in their undies.

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Alex_Charles 2 weeks, 4 days ago

IO need to read this legislation thoroughly myself to come to a conclusion on it.

I can't say I support either side at the moment. My main issue here is poor articulation by the current administration to inform the public as to their policies and objectives.

This bill sounds good minus the immigration component but after reading a story a few months back, Dept of immigration is a complete disaster when it comes to permits and citizenship.

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TalRussell 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Comrades! You can't get pothole patched in 14-days. Government departments can't even answer the damn phone after you've tried calling speak real live human being for 14-days?
Name just one thing this 4th governing spices of red shirts have announced that offers the natives a 14-day turnaround when dealing with any government ministry, department or crown corporation. A 14-day guarantee policy that, if your request is not dealt within 14-days - consider your application/request as a native - APPROVED?
Remember that swearing-in ceremony bullshi# - It's the PEOPLES time? Yes, total bullshi#. Think Minnis, KP, Brent and AG Carl, can locate within 14-days, the missing 250 illegal Haitians?

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jackbnimble 2 weeks, 4 days ago

I couldn't agree more. The entire Government system brings new definition to the words, "red tape".

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Dawes 2 weeks, 4 days ago

I take it Mr. Cooper would have no problem with Cayman and Turks and Caicos closing down his Insurance companies in these countries, as he is taking jobs from locals there.

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sheeprunner12 2 weeks, 4 days ago

The $250,000 threshhold is a reasonable sum ....... that is not much to invest if you are building infrastructure and buying equipment ............. Now if you want to buy a food truck and open a breakfast joint or set up at Montagu Beach or Fish Fry, well that is a different level of investment.

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birdiestrachan 2 weeks, 4 days ago

This will not benefit the Bahamas or its people. They will be allowed a bonded car. they will bring their groceries .250,00 has to be a small business. should this not be reserved for Bahamians.?. This is what the Bahamian people voted for so it has to be all good for them.

ut at some point the STUFFY one has to stop blaming the PLP.

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Millennial242 2 weeks, 4 days ago

I am young, educated, and took the time to read this bill (it's a mere 8 pages and available here: http://www.bahamas.gov.bs/wps/wcm/connect/cef2cd7f-804a-4688-8ef2-b9e267dc0e79/Commercial+Enterprises+Bill+2017.PDF?MOD=AJPERES). I see both benefits and areas of objection. However, the biggest flag I noted when going through is how short-sighted it is. In order to know where you are going, we really ought to have an appreciation for how we got to this predicament. There should be stronger stipulations to address that issue.

We do in fact have an issue with the expertise and diversity of our current workforce. There are industries where we could pursue more developing commercial enterprises that would probably be beneficial to the Bahamas (and have not been pursued before). However what this Bill doesn't seem to address is the reason for HOW we got in this situation.

There is a saying "You Don't Know What You Don't Know"...so if we get in a situation where we do attract the people that 'Know What we Don't" shouldn't we put stringent procedures in place to ensure that we learn and grow in order to substantiate this knowledge and success on our own as a country? I see a very short reference in Section (5), paragraph (2) stating: "...inclusive of number of work permits which may be required, and such training and capacity-building opportunities as may be agreed to be afforded to Bahamians in respect of positions staffed by work permit holders". <THAT AIN'T ENOUGH!. In this current workforce now many foreigners come in on the claims that no one in the country has the expertise to meet their specific commercial needs. I am aware that there previously has been some stipulation to ensure proper training and mentoring to teach these unavailable skills. However there has been a lack of follow up by the government to validate that this is taking place. For this Commercial Enterprises initiative to have true impact (beyond a few years), there needs to be a strong stance and stringent stipulations on ensuring these businesses DEVELOP Bahamians (at all levels) so that they have the capacity to one day take on the Executive Roles and other jobs the permits were initially issued for. Specific points could be: [1] identification of Bahamians for role-training and growth must take place in year 1 on the enterprise; and [2] reporting on the status of training program and development must be included as a stipulation for renewal or extension. Some may argue that Bahamians don't stay long enough (fine...if that happens then make some provision that the enterprise still shows proof of training and search for replacement).There has to be some emphasis on this to ensure 50 years later we are not a country with a workforce 90% non-Bahamian.

If one of the arguments is that we don't have the capacity, expertise, or workforce to come up with these enterprises all on our own...then shouldn't we put a strong emphasis to ensure that some day we WILL?

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Dawes 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Well written and i agree for this to benefit us it needs to give Bahamians the opportunity and incentive to work in these industries. 50 odd years ago the off shore finance industry came here, since then there have been numerous Bahamian CFA's CPA's and others, showing that when we are given the opportunity we can do it. If we had taken the course back then of saying no many of these would never have had the opportunity of doing this.

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OldFort2012 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Let me explain to you how the free market works. Because after almost 50 years of pseudo-socialism and protectionism, no one here understands a thing about it any more. And I mean this in the nicest possible way.

The idea that some small company is going to train Bahamians (or anyone else) to do some job in the fields mentioned above (wealth management, nanotechnology, software, etc...) is laughable. Small companies do not have the time or resources to do that. We are not talking about chambermaids here, where all you have to show them is how to use a broom. That is not their job in any case. It is YOUR job to educate yourself and to train yourself through on the job experience.

What they will do is offer you a job and a salary PROVIDED you have done the above. So you will have a CHANCE, now you have none. Which do you prefer?

The onus is on YOU, the individual to make yourself employable, not on some small company to furnish you with the skills to become so.

Our choice as a country is simple: stay as we are, with GDP growth at 0%, with an ever increasing knowledge gap and slowly go the way of Haiti.

Or open up, allow tens of thousands of expatriates to come here for the climate and low tax regime, in the hope that they will pay the taxes that Bahamians cannot (as they cannot generate the wealth), which are needed to repay our massive debt. They will buy houses, cars, employ maids and gardeners and through their businesses some tiny percentage of the population, which actually understands the free market, will apply for relevant online courses, learn the skills needed and get a good job. But the hope that this will be a massive employment opportunity for Bahamians is plain silly.

But anything is better than the status quo.

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ThisIsOurs 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Technology has a low bar for entry. Please do not tell us that we cannot learn.

Microsoft and Google just announced that they are unable to find the skills they need, so they are TRAINING their own staff. The idea of a company training it's staff is a progressive concept. The idea of preferring LOCAL over an imported workforce is progressive.

You can train a low end technician in under three months. You can move him or her to advanced in a year and a half. Unlike your small business model, the government of the Bahamas has an obligation to protect its greatest natural resource and that's its people. You can train a beginner mobile developer in under 6 months. Advanced training will take a year. A million dollar app does not require a degree in tech, it just requires people who recognize the value of processing and converting ideas.

A massive employment opportunity for Bahamians is not silly. You are going down the road of every self imploded nation in history. Looking after the interest of the upper class and forgetting the underclass. They WILL rise up there's no ifs ands or buts about it. And they WILL climb over your wall. It's happened to EVERY society that went this route, you are seeing another wave of revolts all over the world.

The objectives stated by the DPM are the right idea, this bill is the wrong execution. The GOVERNMENT should have led the training, encouraged the training, educated people on things they could do to help themselves, THEN opened the doors.

They will climb over your wall

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Dawes 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Tell me what you would like done in this scenario: A person wants to come to Bahamas to set up a small off shore wealth management company run by himself. He will be in charge, however he will also need a secretary and an accountant who is also able to do compliance. In addition he will either buy a house (tax to Government) or rent (money to a landlord). He will need to rent an office (money to landlord), and probably pay for a maid at the office and house plus a gardener. So each month he is paying rent, salaries to at least 5 people (himself, secretary, Accountant, maid and gardener) who in turn will spend this money as they see fit (restaurants, bars, movies etc) in areas that also employee Bahamians. Remembering that this is his company and if he is told that after 3 years he needs to leave and have a Bahamian in charge, do you think he will say i am ok with this, or no i will go somewhere else? I assume you are happy with him going somewhere else, and don't care about the 4 Bahamian people who would have been employed and all the additional money spent in the country thanks to his company. All because he will not give up his company. Now there may come a day when he retires and will give it up and that person may well be a Bahamian who has worked with him for years, and developed the relationships with the clients that takes a long time to develop, however that will not be in 3 years.

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ThisIsOurs 2 weeks, 3 days ago

STEP1: Is this man a crook? That investigation takes more than 14 days.

Ok, so assume he's not a crook escaping to some banana republic offshore destination where he can resume defrauding clients.

No one said the investor has to leave. No one said his COO has to leave, if he's investing millions, he wants those key roles staffed by persons he trusts. But his HR manager, his IT manager , his head of legal, his Maintenance Manager, His middle managers should be transitioned to Bahamians after a reasonable period. Three years is reasonable. In fact there is no reason to outsource many of these roles at the get go. The professionals are here.

I believe this bill is geared towards LOCAL BAHAMIAN businessmen who want to bypass the rules requiring them to hire Bahamians. They don't want people who will call up the union or run to the labour board. Eliminating that headache for them is worth the permit fee.

In the end, trickle down economics does not work. Because there aren't many rich men willing to release the excess of what they gain from the concessions

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Dawes 2 weeks, 3 days ago

No step one is apply for a commercial enterprise certificate. Once that is received then you can apply for the work permit. This means that Government has already done the background work. This certificate must be responded to by Government in a reasonable time frame. Basically they are saying if we have given you the OK for your company to come here, you will get the work permits quickly.

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ThisIsOurs 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Your question was about staffing and this man being allowed to stay if he invested millions..

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Dawes 2 weeks, 3 days ago

He invest the millions after his company has been vetted for the commercial enterprise certificate.

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OldFort2012 2 weeks, 3 days ago

I agree with you. The Government should have educated the people. But it did not. Will it start now? Of course not. Is this now supposed to fall on the small business? Just laughable. Neither Google nor Microsoft are going to come here. The best you can hope for is a 4-5 person business requiring a simple room as an office. No time or finances to train anyone. That is the reality of the situation. Everything else is pie in the sky and an excuse to do nothing. I wish it could be different, but it is what it is. No serious player is EVER going to come here because he can go to the USA. We are in the position we are in and we have to make do with the crumbs. Better crumbs than nothing, in my opinion.

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Millennial242 2 weeks, 3 days ago

With all respect to you, I trust that your opinion pales in comparison to fact. Legislation should address current issues, but also be implemented with a resolve for lasting change. This is new legislation being pushed through which could be on the books for decades. None of us know the potential natural resources that this country could offer in 20 to 30 years. This legislation currently doesn't plant enough seeds to ensure we are prepared for that. My personal view on this is not about 'protecting Bahamians'...it's more about developing the Bahamas with Bahamians in control of the direction.

You make reference to a small off-shore wealth management company coming here (that's very specific). Agreed that they probably won't be in a capacity to latch on to a Bahamian and train them probably because of their size. But this legislation lists more than just that type of industry, it includes: computer programming, software design & writing, maritime trade, boutique health facilities, call centres, international arbitrage, and a few others. I know of Bahamians abroad now studying in these fields already. Furthermore, based on this legislation, other enterprises can be added 'by Order of the Minister'. <-- that leaves the door wide open for anything else with minimal checks.

At minimum...there should have been more opportunity for discussion on this. Both sides of valid points.

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CatIslandBoy 2 weeks, 3 days ago

@OldFort2012. Thank you for being frankly point on.

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happyfly 2 weeks, 3 days ago

thank you for posting the bill :)

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ThisIsOurs 2 weeks, 4 days ago

I'm making it my business to understand the process in Cayman that all of these men like to put up as the shining example. I was on their site for 1 min, here is what I found

Cayman Business Staffing Plan REQUIREMENT "A Business Staffing Plan is a detailed plan of the staffing needs of a business. This plan provides the Department of Immigration and the Business Staffing Plan Board with valuable information relating to the staffing needs of your business over the NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS. Click here for frequently asked questions relating to Business Staffing Plans"

Does this resemble anything to what this hill proposes? "Just show up and if you don't hear from us carry on."

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TalRussell 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Comrades! Call it for what it is. A pocket change $250,000 shortcut to take foreigners from point A to point B quickly bypassing the native entrepreneurs amounting to no more than a throwback to pre Pindling immigration days. These red species are putting everything on the table while being harsh with the natives -including imprisonment.

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John 2 weeks, 4 days ago

So is this designed to cut back on all those persons who come in on tourist visas and work out of hotel rooms and townhouses or condos? Because by the time they come in and do the work, immigration still haven't processed their documents and so they work and immigration never gets paid. Also when these people apply for work permits will they put up a bond (preferably non-refundable) at the time of the application. A bond equilivant to the amount of the work permit fee, since the permit becomes valid after 14 days if no response from immigration.

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John 2 weeks, 4 days ago

AND OF COURSE if they make baby (or have one while here) with a Bahamian, that child is automatically a Bahamian right? Yes Bahamians we are screwed. When they do drill for oil, you aint getting none.

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TalRussell 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Comrades! I'm a dedicated native to the Bahamaland history buff. So much about this country we never talk about or have forgotten. For Christ's sake we even hide it from the millions tourists who come our shores. This little native light ours - why do we hide so much?

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sheeprunner12 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Where is the proposed Commercial Enterprise Zones plan for The Bahamas???????? ....... Or will we see this unfolded in 2021?????? .......... A very sexy idea ...... but when will Bahamians feel the impact of the CEZ Over-The-Hill and in the depressed Out Islands????????

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ThisIsOurs 2 weeks, 3 days ago

There's nothing in this bill for Bahamians, you have a very long wait. The DPM says "jobs for Bahamians", apparently he hasn't read the bill. The purpose of the bill IS "jobs for foreigners"

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birdiestrachan 2 weeks, 4 days ago

This is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. If they do not hear from their application in 14 days. The power is taken away from the Immigration department and given to the applicant. Brent symonette watches while these dumb fellows deliver his message.

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TalRussell 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Comrade, exactly you would've thought they would've extended the same 14 day work permit rule to native businesses but oh not that reserved for the $250,000 foreigners.

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happyfly 2 weeks, 3 days ago

This bill is taking us back to the good old days of 'wrecking'. Shine the light over here and let them bring a boat load of money, equipment and skills.......and when their ship has floundered upon our treacherous reef we can row out and claim it all for ourselves.

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John 2 weeks, 3 days ago

They had a similar clause in the Business Licence Act. If you (Bahamians) did not hear from your business licence application it was considered to be (automatically) granted after 30 days (Zhivago Laing was in charge). But when the police came around and you could not produce the licence certificate, then they shut you down and threatened to lock up you and your staff for even being on the premises which you own or was paying rent for). So how much will this act cripple the immigration department; They go to a business establishment and persons cannot produce a work permit but claim they have applied under the commercial enterprises act. So basically the immigration officer is left with no power to do his job. Then he decides to take the person in to custody anyway but gets a call from this "unit" demanding to let the man go or lose ya job...merry christmas then!

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OldFort2012 2 weeks, 3 days ago

The funniest thing is reading these comments. You guys have somehow managed to convince yourselves that there are hundreds of thousands of "foreigners" just waiting for this Bill to pass to come to the Bahamas and set up shop.

I wish.

Let me break it to you gently: there aren't.

At most this will affect a hundred people or so per year. At most. I would wager far less.

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jamaicaproud 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Old Fort, can you explain. What is the issue in the Bahamas why everyone is so paranoid about expatriates? Even for something such as normal as small island states seeking investment, why has it become an immigration issue? What is so unique about the Bahamas why the average citizen who should be taking advantage of the opportunities there seem so obsessed with foreigners, even those who have the ability to invest and contribute?

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OldFort2012 2 weeks, 3 days ago

I wish I knew. But I will tell what I think it is: Fear. Fear of discovering just how small and irrelevant we are. How the modern world has passed us by, how we squandered the 50yrs since Independence. How we are incapable of governing ourselves well. Fear of reality.
We suspect it...even know it in the depth of our hearts. But we do not want it proven beyond all doubt. And some "foreigner" might actually open our eyes and shatter our illusions.

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ThisIsOurs 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Listen. I'm currently working on a business idea that I have seen NOWHERE in the world. Im quite far into the execution of the idea. I'm speaking for my people.this bill is garbage. I suspect half of he MPs haven't even read it. Farell Goth was on radio for two days arguing the benefits of the bill and how wonderful it is. Then someone says to him, well you know it's watered down from what we have currently, it doesn't require training. No joke this was his response, ~"well if it says that....I'll have to go read it..."

I have said the "idea" is great. In fact one of my ideas requires foreign partnership, so I'm not against that. I am against this sloppily written bill that gives carte balance.

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DDK 2 weeks, 3 days ago

You may be right, OldFort. There IS much ado.........

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jamaicaproud 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Well they need to get it together.  This paranoia  is counterproductive. No one cares, at least not people with money to invest. It's easy to invest in Jamaica and other islands are selling citizenship, so for the country closest to US mainland to allow myopic thinking to let opportunities  pass by is strange. It would be interesting to find out how these things got to the point where it's so emotional. It is even strange to me that people would object to children of Bahamian being Bahamian, after all cross cultural  relationships  are common these  fats,

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ThisIsOurs 2 weeks, 3 days ago

"Got to a point where it's so emotional"

Take a wild guess. It's a people who have been neglected for 43 years, promised revolution in 1973 and saw leader after leader enrich themselves, sell off the land, do nothing to raise the level of education if the masses and bow to the special interests.

It's easy for "comfortable" people to say, it's nice over here, what's everyone complaining about, oh btw, give them a piece of cake.

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TalRussell 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Comrade ThisIsOurs, doubtful the stories of Pindling enriching himself hold much credibility considering the former PM in his last days had ask Perry Christie to please look after the financial welfare his wife Marguerite, who herself was cash strapped to pay her light bill. Like, where is all the millions of dollars if they ever existed? The poor woman had bum car rides get around after Pindling's death. I am told she even rode the jitneys with the common riders.

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jamaicaproud 2 weeks, 3 days ago

That is bad stuff. No pension?

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TalRussell 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Comrade pension yes but not only hard live on but if Papa Hubert had had his way- the poor lady would've seen a reduction her monthly stipend.

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jamaicaproud 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Seems like a dangerous proposition to go into politics if your family may end up in penuŕy,

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jamaicaproud 2 weeks, 3 days ago

I don't know, just asking bro. Many Caribbean islands have had the same experience, unresolved dreams.

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ThisIsOurs 2 weeks, 3 days ago

It's not good here. The gap is widening and that is not good. The people at the top have forgotten the struggle. The change in their messaging over the past six months is simply amazing. Do you realize that one of the first things they asked for was a raise for themselves? These are men who are making over 90,000 each while people are living without running water and electricity. The next thing they do is pass a law to open business opportunities to foreign investors(wonderful idea) BUT they tell the investor, we remove the stipulation that you must hire any Bahamian workers. If your country leader did this how would you feel?

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jamaicaproud 2 weeks, 3 days ago

How would I feel. I do not know the dynamics on the ground in the Bahamas, so I can't say. The New Chinese in Jamaica has tried this but there is pushback. If your concern is protection of Bahamian, fine, if it's the hatred of foreigners then you have a problem. Logistically for most investors it's always cheaper to train and use local labour at certain levels and ultimately get to the point of training middle management, an example is DIGICEL however it's a process and locals have to be 1. Patient and 2. Be ready to grab opportunities. The fact that one has an MBA or any training does not mean one is qualified. Your country is involved in tourism so are many competing islands. There are facilities needed me supporting business and attractions to remain competitive. Sometimes a business may not provide direct employment, yet it can have spinoff effects. That being said the Bahamian people need to drop paranoia and pick up militancy. Develop the skills needed so skills deficit can't be used as excuse.

Stop disparaging those who have lived and contributed yet have no way of getting a passport, that leads to brain drain. On the flip side allowing outsiders to come in and set up shanty towns and mini ghetto es, that needs to stop.

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SP 2 weeks, 2 days ago

If they are really serious about diversifying the economy they would open up banking, invite more competitive financial institutions and allow Bahamians new resources to access capital competitive rates!

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