EDITOR, The Tribune
Let me begin by offering three cheers to the newly appointed Commissioner of Police. In just over a year, he has managed to return the murder rate to double digits for the first time in eight years. Notwithstanding the Commissioner and his team’s accomplishments in regaining the community’s confidence in its police force, the reduction in the fear of crime among the local population and the reclamation of our streets in the name of the crown; I submit to you, that the reduction in crime alone is not the panacea to our woes. Well, at least not all of them. Since the Commissioner and his team seem to now have a hand on crime, is it too much to ask that we discontinue shutting the entire city down at night-time?
It is my belief, that Funky Nassau has certainly lost its funk. After having the opportunity to travel to various cities in the Caribbean and being afforded the opportunity to soak in some of the night life, I’ve concluded that Nassau is the city that shuts off the lights and goes to bed. When one considers the invigoration of the robust night life of Havana, or the sultry salsa experience in Providenciales, or even the easy skanking in New Kingston City, it is hardly arguable or even possible to deny that Nassau, the jewel in the crown of seven hundred islands, is not quite a jewel at all. Rather, she’s lazy and sluggish and poorly laid out. Her cultural and entertainment sites all shut down at midnight or earlier and to be quite frank, it’ll be easier to lasso a tiger shark than to find affordable, reliable, accessible transportation to any of these spots at night.
This is something that we’ve got to fix. If we are going to compete on the regional market and maintain our rating as the best destination in the region, we’ve got to jolt this city. What this means is, places like the Arawak Cay and the Potter’s Cay dock and even quite possibly The Gambier Village or the Clifton Heritage Park, have got to become places teeming with entertainment and excitement particularly at night.
There’s got to be “so much to see and so much to do,” just like we promised in the song. It means that police night duties cannot have an anxiety attack when they see 10 or more people at any one location. It might even quite possibly mean that we’ve got to work on public private partnerships that bring to life parking lot spaces and shopping malls, and even park spaces for clean, cultural, after dark entertainment. Further, it may also mean that our government must have the tenacity to return the downtown strip to active Bahamian ownership. The math for me is simple, we have to focus on night time entertainment in a concentrated fashion; larger groups of people, in smaller spaces, with multiple forms of entertainment.
If we are going to survive the unfortunate goings on of our neighbours to the north, we must capitalise on every opportunity we get to maximise the spend of every single tourist coming to our shores. The potency of our night life has got to become magnetic. It has got to compel people off the ships and out the hotel rooms; while simultaneously, incentivising mid-stream middle income Bahamians to leave their houses, go out and enjoy life.
Lastly, governments must realise that comfort and convenience play large parts in the development of a city’s nightlife. As such, proper lighting, public toilet facilities, and timely cleanups are required in an attempt to give our nightlife the shot in the arm it needs. I mean, for God’s sake; the Bahamas is only 46. We are old enough to hang out a little later than midnight, but we are not as old as we pretend to be. It’s time for us to come alive and realise that Nassau is not a little old lady. We owe it to ourselves to do away with this practice of being the one city in the Caribbean that simply turns of the lights and goes to bed, while the nights fade away, when they could offer so much more.
I pray we get this right, because our relevance as a destination is depending on it.
Forever in allegiance.
LEYVON A MILLER, JP
January 20, 2019