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Editorial: The Confusing Tiptoe Back To Normality

RESTRICTIONS are easing again – but not by much.

An extra hour before curfew will hardly be greeted with a great cheer, while we wait until next Monday for beaches and parks to reopen, just a couple of days before we’re inviting tourists to use them.

We do wonder particularly how the conclusion was reached to shift the curfew by just an hour. We’re not sure COVID-19 is any more dangerous at 10pm than it is at 9pm. Is it a matter of dealing with crime? If so, ShotSpotter technology has shown the sound of shots tends to be heard more often earlier in the evening rather than later. Besides, as we’ve said before in this column, if it’s being used as a tool to prevent crime, then it’s blurring the use of the emergency powers.

Still, there are other ways in which the reopening is slowly edging forward. Taxi services resume on the same day the country reopens – we would think doing so in advance would help drivers get their safety measures in place, though.

Jitney drivers too can resume running, although with only half the seats filled. Half the seats will be filled too inside restaurants – although not at Arawak Cay. We’re not sure what the difference is between distance measures at the Mall at Marathon compared to Arawak Cay, though.

That’s the curious thing about this piecemeal process to reopening. A wedding can now have as many people as the bride and groom like – as long as everyone keeps their distance in the same way as at church services – but no more than five people are allowed to gather or exercise together on the beach.

The Bahamian people are doing their part and following the instructions as best as possible – that can be seen by the lack of cases of COVID-19 – but it’s a bit of a headscratcher as to why one activity is deemed safe while another is considered dangerous.

One thing we can agree on – we want to drive out the last of this virus, and put as many measures in place as possible to prevent its spread when visitors arrive.

Those masks we’re all wearing, that distance we all ought to be keeping, the regular handwashing – all of that can prevent catching the disease if anyone inadvertently brings it to our shores.

We all want that same goal – it’s just how we get there that sometimes seems confusing.

Hear the whole story

It appears there is a rush to judgment taking place with regard to proposals for developments in Andros.

It is early days indeed for the three proposals that have been put forward for the island – the most eyecatching being the free trade zone project put forward by US-based billionaire Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong.

Since that proposal was put forward, it has drawn opposition from the local MP, Carlton Bowleg, who complained of the “high disrespect” in brochures being put forward before consulting him. The PLP has come out against the project, saying it is not environmentally sustainable. And in today’s Tribune, the Bahamas National Trust sounds the alarm about all three proposals on the table for the island.

There is a long way to go before these proposals come close to being turned into reality – so why not pause before judgment? Let’s see more details of each of these proposals before we dismiss them so readily. There may very well be issues that need to be tackled before any approvals, but that’s a conversation to have rather than shouting “No” at the start.

There is a process – and that process includes protections for the environment. Let’s follow it.

We wonder how many people are responding before they know the full details. Once we hear them, then if a particular scheme is inappropriate, we can always say no then, once all the details have been considered. Deciding without the full information is a sure way to make the wrong choice.

So more information, please. And a good deal more patience.

Comments

tribanon 1 week, 3 days ago

New Providence used to have three very prominent and distinct ridges running from east to west before The Symonette Family decided to get into the business of selling land fill. These ridges now have gaping gaps everywhere notwithstanding that their importance to the island's water table in many areas was well known. The Symonette Family have apparently decided Andros is not ripe for the pickens given that the Minnis led FNM government is so desperate to show and lay claim to any kind of economic activity even if it's the worst possible kind from an environmental standpoint. The Tribune of course will dutifully walk the plank as it has always done for The Symonette Family.

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proudloudandfnm 1 week, 2 days ago

Um they were digging those ridges for quarry since the 19th century. WHat are you talking about????

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K4C 1 week, 2 days ago

The Symonette Family ?

You'd be smart to brush up on your Bahamian history a tad

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tribanon 1 week, 2 days ago

I suspect most of you are probably too young to know most things about The Symonette Family.

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ThisIsOurs 1 week, 3 days ago

"here is a process – and that process includes protections for the environment."

No there isn't and no it doesn't.

Anyone who believe private discussions haven't been going on before these proposals were submitted is fooling themselves.

If the public hadn't gotten wind if these proposals we would have had another Oban moment right in time for a grand announcement in the budget. Minnis proclaiming he has to save us again from being like Haiti. Then it's off to the family islands to tell old grannies how they'll be able to sell coconut tart to all the construction workers.

The next classic move is, we've discussed this long enough time to move and get the economy going, banging on the desks, Andros sold. Nope, there's not the kind of process you're referring to. Ask those people in Eleuthera sleeping in the we love Disney t-shirts.

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Hoda 1 week, 2 days ago

So do you think they had “discussions” with local govt who were the first step on the totem pole...if so then should we also be mad at our local govt representatives - if you live outside Nassau. Who clearly play roles in these decisions, low level though they may be.

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ThisIsOurs 1 week, 2 days ago

Sometimes I go on instinct, sometimes I go on what makes sense. When the rich investor comes into the country they don't know anyone. Their contact is the advisor at the bank, the lawyer or the accountant or maybe another rich friend. I am going to bet that none of those people would suggest to a billionaire, you need to go talk to the local council. They get a do not stop at Go card and are driven straight to the PM'S office. Those discussions are informal, it may be with representatives from the PM'S office not the PM himself but with weight of the office. Those persons then advise the investor, for thus to move forward you need to submit your proposal to the local council. Once you do that we can do XYZ. The local council may get a call from the PM or his rep, "approve this asap"...That is what I believe. I could be completely wrong. I'm nowhere near the boardrooms.

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ThisIsOurs 1 week, 3 days ago

What do we do with the Symonettes, Holoweskos and Wilsons? After all, they're Bahamian too... (add into that Flowers and Sebas). They should have an opportunity to invest their monies, but how do we balance that against giving regular Bahamians access, an opportunity and a hand up and prevent a single giantopoly owning the entire country?

My suggestion would be that these families, with intention, pour part of their wealth into a pool to assist Bahamian entrepreneurs. Not through the sbdc, it's clear that's become a political PR machine. They could actually dwarf the sbdc and spur real innovation in the country. They could be like the Sharks, no pun intented, on Shark Tank. A group of rich self made men and women using their own money to help others launch their businesses. I think if they did something like that people would look on them more favourably. They might also look to take an active role in mentoring Bahamians.

They have the global contacts to get a professional set of judges/advisors running an efficient operation. They could even put a 5 year limit on the program. The one thing they need to avoid is a rush of the advisors running from the sbdc to bring the same level of dullness to the new program.

My suggestion, they're free to do what they want with their money.

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Hoda 1 week, 2 days ago

Interesting proposal. Did you ever listen to the Holowesko story during the referendum campaign. Your right they are Bahamians, Pyfroms. The govt refused to give their father citizenship, I suppose for political reasons. I imagine lots of persons have that story. I only bring it up to pose a human question, not that they feel that way, would you give a rat’s ass about giving ppl “hand up” to persons who seemed to have politicized, intentional politicized, and attacked everything about your name, family, life.

Similar arguments might be applied to the numbers ppl, or a myriad of ppl. We hate them one day, we love them next. Success breeds contempt in this country - unless you giving out money and things. Wilson had an interview that was covered in the Nassau guardian interesting read. He identified a few things relative to what you are talking about. He actually thought the sbd was a good step. He also pointed out that we have some socio economic practices that we, Bahamians, also haVe to individually address: we don’t save money, our Labour/workforce is unproductive and inefficient. Also, we needed land reform.

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ThisIsOurs 1 week, 2 days ago

"would you give a rat’s ass about giving ppl “hand up” to persons who seemed to have politicized, intentional politicized, and attacked everything about your name, family, life."

You are precisely right. 100%. Why would you care? The natural tendency is to get back at or watch such people suffer for what they did to you. Everybody has to battle this tendency and for some of us it's over 5 dollars much less 500 million. I don't know any of these people personally but it would be great if they had such feelings if they were able to overcome and help anyway.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you

a very very hard thing but we're asked to do it.

Again, I didn't live their struggles or make their money. They can do as they like with their money.

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ThisIsOurs 1 week, 2 days ago

not through the sbdc. It's a political machine subject to the same issues as every govt agency.

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sucteeth 1 week, 2 days ago

Why should anyone ask Carlton Bowleg anything.. This guy is the biggest criminal around and an MP.. He just wants to get his hand in the cookie jar before anyone else beats him to it ..

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