By DIANE PHILLIPS
It is easy to say The Bahamas is at a crossroads. You could say that at the end of any year though a new year is only an artificial separation of one day from the next. Birds don’t mark the years, nor do wild animals. Man does it out of convenience to give us a moment to stop and reflect, to think about where we were and where we are going.
Upon request, we, as writers, agree to reflect and predict. But I, for one, do so with extreme trepidation for I fear for our country in the next year and pray that right wins out in this land of promise. Here is what I fear:
I fear that for all the good intentions of a government committed to wiping out corruption, the culture is so ingrained that the struggle will be greater than the short-term results, though the takedown of some will send a message. And that is reason for hope.
I fear public education will continue to suffer from too much administration and too few teachers who have the freedom to teach children not just lessons but how to think and problem-solve.
I fear our national unhealth and obesity will continue to kill us at too early an age.
I fear that in our haste to slay illegal immigration, we will allow overzealous officers to turn us into a nation of hate, trading humanitarianism for authoritarian rule and that is the scariest fear of all for it is exactly how others pretended not to see when Hitler began rounding up Jews.
Thankfully, I also have greater reasons for hope.
I believe 2018 will be the year of transparency. Freedom of the press, better reporting and a stronger civil society are forcing more transparent governance and that is a very good thing. I believe there is far greater appreciation of the environment than there has ever been. Though grateful for Atlantis and Baha Mar, I believe leaders recognise the need for future development to centre around and bring renewed life and vitality to Family Islands with small-scale sustainable resorts.
I believe we will get a handle on crime and that starting children in school at a younger age - when minds are at their greatest learning capacity - will make a difference long-term and I believe the economy, given new initiatives, will take a sharp turn for the better.
I see 2018 as the year of the city when there is finally recognition that autonomy encourages growth, prosperity and creativity.
Above all, I see the beauty in our people and in our country re-igniting. We are blessed to live in one of the most precious places on the face of the earth and I believe with all my heart the goodness that lies within each of us will overcome the wrong-doing threatening to dishearten us.
So long as our individual and collective voices ring out our reasons for hope in the land of promise will be re-affirmed.