By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
FORMER Attorney General Alfred Sears has articulated a bold plan to make Andros the political capital of the country.
In a new piece, he argues that focusing on Andros could spur Bahamians to design a capital city that embraces Bahamian designs and character, eschewing the colonial infrastructure rampant in New Providence.
“The weak, inadequate and archaic physical architecture in which the political administration of The Bahamas operates is in crisis,” he said. “The 19th century physical infrastructure of our national institutions contributes to inefficiency, discriminates against persons with special needs, inhibits economic development and does not reflect the sovereignty of a striving independent country that takes itself seriously. The quality of governance in The Bahamas is compromised by the obsolete physical architecture. We take more pride in foreign touristic enterprises and resort structures than in the national institutions to manage the public goods and services of the Bahamas and provide social, economic security services for Bahamians and residents.
“This project will create a design and innovation opportunity for the Bahamians to design a Smart Capital City Master Plan, with iconic architecture rooted in Bahamian culture and imagination, incorporating sunlight, topography, drainage system, IT infrastructure, road network, official sector, commercial sector, residential sector and recreational and green areas. There should be spacing between blocks and sectors to prevent overcrowding, with an equilibrium between construction costs and sustainable development goals.”
To facilitate a transformation, Mr Sears cited Freeport and said the government could vest 50,000 acres of Crown land into a “Capital City Investment Corporation” to be leased to entrepreneurs “for periods up to 50 years investment in the public, commercial and residential zones of the capital city, in accordance with a Capital City Master Plan.”
Incentives would include exemptions from custom duties, real property tax and value added tax, among others. Mr Sears, pictured left, wrote: “I call on the government, the official opposition, the DNA and the Bahamian civil society to collaborate in establishing a national commission to study the feasibility of building a capital city outside of New Providence. The construction of a smart political capital city in Andros will enable the Bahamas to build stronger governance institutions fit for the future, create a model of small island sustainability, stimulate economic growth outside of Nassau towards the Family Islands—based on Bahamian ownership, innovation and initiative—, reverse internal migration from Nassau to Andros, inspire young Bahamians to engage in the national development project, mobilise the Bahamian diaspora in the nation building process and improve the Bahamian brand for innovation, sustainability and diversified development.”