0

Editorial: What Opportunities Are We Missing Out On?

The bid by Bahamas Hot Mix to raise up to $750m in cheap British government loans is certainly an eye-catching one.

Not once but twice did the company – one of the foremost in its field in The Bahamas – try to access British loans that would have strengthened its hand in sealing projects here on our shores.

The idea is quite clever – the company used its British subsidiary, BHM Construction International (UK) Ltd, to qualify for financing from UK Export Finance.

That is a fund in place to help British companies compete internationally for the services and products they offer. For BHM, their UK division would qualify them for funds that could be used back here in The Bahamas by the parent company.

Of course, in return for securing such investment, BHM was hoping to be chosen as the main contractor on any infrastructure projects financed by the proposal.

As it is, both the current FNM and the previous PLP governments passed on the proposed projects – but here’s a question.

Why did it take an individual business to go and seek out such funds if they are available? If money is available in a pot that can be used for projects here in The Bahamas, why isn’t the government themselves going and lining it up for businesses that qualify here?

It’s no small sum that BHM lined up - $750m could make a huge difference in a host of projects. Surely the Ministry of Finance ought to know about such available funds, and how Bahamian companies might be able to make use of them.

If it takes a UK-based company to be able to apply for them, then the government should be encouraging local companies to open UK subsidiaries to access such funding.

Did the Embassy in the UK know about BHM’s approach and assist them in the process? If not, ought they not to know about such opportunities and strive to both make Bahamas businesses aware of them and support them each step of the way?

In short, are we missing a trick? One that BHM did not miss.

And if we’re missing this trick, what others are passing us by? Are there opportunities for our students? Our young entrepreneurs?

For many, the focus from this news will be the expectation that BHM might have had that in the wake of gaining such funding, it would have had the lion’s share of construction work. BHM could have further cornered the market should this have gone ahead. It didn’t, for whatever reason, but that won’t stop people who use BHM as a political punching bag taking it for another round.

But perhaps what we should be looking at is what else is out there that could help our businesses – and just why it is that it’s a company that found this opportunity, instead of the government forging a path to help us all.

Young athletes have been let down

It must have been heart-breaking.

The nation’s under-18 boys water polo team took part at the 28th Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation in Barbados last week – and the boys shone.

So good were they that they reached the final. A gold medal was in their sights. And then… it wasn’t. The team did not have the funds to stay another day – so home they came, unable to stay and contest the gold medal.

Algernon Cargill, president of the Bahamas Aquatics Federation, is full of bluster saying the government is not to blame for the boys’ early return. Shadow minister for sports Picewell Forbes is also quick to point fingers for the premature end. Neither one’s comments will help the boys turn back time so they can compete.

So rather than get tangled up in the blame game, let’s welcome the returning team as the gold medal heroes they might have been. Let’s celebrate them regardless. Bring them to Government House. Bring them to the PM’s office. Let’s applaud them at this year’s Independence events.

And then let us make sure this never happens to them – or any other athlete - ever again.

Comments

observer2 6 days, 6 hours ago

These deals are only available to the select few like “you know who” and the Government. Small black Bahamian businesses need not apply.

BEC/Government is getting $650 million from Wall Street to pay off thier old debts, and buy new Bunker C Diesel engines which is horrible for the environment with generators that always break down to buy the diesel from “you know who”.

Then they put BEC/Shell in charge of solar energy for the Bahamas. This will ensure the our push to renewables will get mess right up and we will have to continue to use Agrekko crappy generators for generations to come. bEc bills are now as big as a house mortgage payment.

Change will only come when the general public stops listening to the PLP and FNM and fighting each other and work as a team to stop the exploitation.

Maybe we as a general public can practice “peaceful resistance” by having a “lights out day” where we turn off the lights In our homes for one day to save. And then we move on from their increasing the pressure on bec until they are forced to stop these generator purchases, sweatheat gas purchases and the sabotage of our push to renewables. Forget the PLP and FNM and the new talking heads at bec.

0

tom1912 5 days, 19 hours ago

I think, that bearing in mind the austerity the U.K. is going thru, as a result of short term thinking career and mealy mouthed politicians as well as Bankers and Fund managers acting as casinos bosses, which we all know came to light 2007/08 along the blooming of Food Banks all over the UK, State pension are not enough for people over 65 to afford the average rent despite paying into the system all their lives. [And they don't have VAT on all food or children's cothes] the average U.K. citizen would be very concerned that their Governemt is prepared to give almost interest free loans out to UK subsideries of foreign companies, when those loans are to promote employee UK citizens and U.K. products! Yet that same government's tax authorities charges 8% interest on overdue or delayed tax payments. Or could this be construed as reparations :-)

1

Dawes 4 days, 18 hours ago

Its really just a way for the UK to make sure their companies get the jobs. Every country does it. When China gave the loan for the airport highway it was on the provision that their countries companies got the work.

0

mckenziecpa 5 days, 13 hours ago

No everything have to be about the rich, this editorial piece provided some good insight on the possibility of getting financing offshore. I would have never though such an opportunity exist until now.

1

observer2 5 days, 12 hours ago

It’s not just about the rich. It’s about the exploitation of the poor and gross conflicts of interest of the privileged leading to systemic corporate dis functionality at BEC.

Why is thier silence in the major newspapers on the $100 financing of the new generators, board appointments, Lyford Cay and legal representation of the vendors,

Couple this with putting BEC in charge of the implementation of renewable energy and utility bills as large as a mortgage and we have a truly nightmarish scenario for all Bahamians, don’t loose sight of the $650 million Wall Street financing of BEC’s past incompetence which will push our national debt above $10 billion to unsustainable level.

Also don’t forget the badly designed on constructed electrical grid which goes down for the country due to “illegal dumping ??? What’s up with that stupid explanation.

Then the minister said electricity is better under the FNM than under the PLP. I never thought electricity was political.

0

observer2 5 days, 11 hours ago

Couple all this corporate greed with one family benefiting with a strangle hold on the importantation of fuel for bec and all of use, massive VAT and duties on fuel and very soon electric bills, which have doubled in the last year will move to unsustainable levels.

Either we as Bahamians do something or it soon even the rich will not be able to afford electricity.

0

Chucky 5 days, 13 hours ago

Those type of deals are offered by all developed governments. They are a form of economic terrorism.

You know this, your comments/article is nothing but a voice lobbying for the capitalists of BHM.

And what could possibly be gained by borrowing more, we can’t pay our bill now.

All the infrastructure in the world will not raise the bar for our citizens. Feeding the rich is just that!

What we need is to starve the rich, keep their hand from the government coffers, and find and implement initiatives that directly benefit the every day Bahamian, and get them into business.

0

Dawes 4 days, 18 hours ago

Wouldn't good infrastructure be one of those initiatives that would benefit every day Bahamians and get them into business? Or they just meant to be in business in the bush with now power, roads etc etc.

0

truetruebahamian 5 days, 8 hours ago

Observer should widen his/her scope of planning, resoucefuless and reasoning. Nothing is old perceived political race and bait blame, it is for best advantage to the nation - with every corner explored, every I dotted and T crossed - with no advantage to politically associated individuals no matter how many times removed from your targeted source.

0

Well_mudda_take_sic 4 days, 17 hours ago

No news here. The Tribune's owners have always kissed the butts of the Symonette family.

0

Sign in to comment