EDITOR, The Tribune
A recent opinion piece by Diane Phillips “Oh for just a little bit of imagination” in The Tribune is so timely, and in many ways unwittingly responds to another article by John Issa, “A View From Afar” where he asks why can’t we lure more tourists off the cruise ships. And in many ways Diane Philips answers that question admirably.
Downtown Nassau is a disgraceful mess and most of us don’t even see it. Abandoned shops and office spaces tell of a bygone day, when things were good and shops were interesting and varied and bankers, bewigged lawyers, and accountants darted to and fro along Bay Street, dodging the tourists, as each went about whatever it was that they were doing.
As with everything in The Bahamas, politics is at the root of any issue. Good or bad, but in this case it is bad. If one Google’s Downtown Nassau Partnership it abounds with stories and initiatives going back to The Nassau Tourism Development Board (NTDB) in 1995. Then in 2003 there is another kick at the cat and the Nassau Economic Development Commission (NEDC) with bipartisan leadership of legendary businessman Norman Solomon and George Mackey, and its goal was to lay a foundation for the long term redevelopment of the City. And as the story goes, the Commission morphed into The Downtown Revitalisation Committee in 2007 and even this morphed into The Downtown Nassau Partnership”(DNP) two years later in 2009. Although the “morphing” seems to have stopped, nigh on 10 years later we have an even more dilapidated and rundown city than we had those many years ago when it was realised that “something” had to be done to “save” Nassau.
Perhaps what is wrong is that what was supposed to be the economic hub of the country, has now turned into a civil service and judicial hub, that has now overrun what was once a quaint little town. Charlotte Street and Shirley Street, opposite to The Bahamas Financial Centre (yes, the one that should be full of Financial Institutions and International Bankers ) hosts what must be one of the law courts where the baddest of the bad are brought by speeding sirened police cars, and the hand and foot shackled prisoners are emptied out into the narrow street, where frequently police with AK47 machine guns at the ready, stand by in case a breakaway is attempted, and one can only wonder “suppose they open fire”.
And as we look south to the southern dead end of Charlotte Street with its quaint steps leading up to East Hill Street, this two lane street has its northbound lane for reserved parking presumably for senior civil servants or high court judges or both. This leaves one lane only to service both incoming and outgoing traffic. Go figure that one out if you are smart !
In Octotove 2017 you ran an editorial “Nassau Needs A Mayor, City Manager” eminently stated the obvious, yet one year later, we have a more dilapidated city than it has ever been and it keeps getting worse. In my view it is essentially that no government will cede control to any other body, even if it is a part of that body. Yet it is incapable of maintaining it, let alone improving it.
BRUCE G RAINE
Nassau September 6, 2018