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Editorial: Are We Out Of Our League?

There is often talk about trying to get The Bahamas to emulate Singapore as a financial success story – but for those dreaming of such things, the words of Gregory Pepin, of Deltec Bank & Trust, are an awakening. A rude one at that.

He dismisses such talk as being as ridiculous as dreaming of becoming a Manchester United in English football terms when in reality you are a Dover Athletic. Who are they? Well, that’s the point. We are not anywhere close to the big league, says Mr Pepin.

It’s hard to argue with him – with the ease of doing business in The Bahamas having long been an obstacle, and the difficulty of trying to generate investment.

He also pointedly refers to the major service providers – BPL, Cable Bahamas and BTC – as “a joke” for their unreliable or costly services.

Some will bridle at such criticisms, but we know our own problems. It’s not as if we have been able to count on reliable electricity as a constant, for example. At the weekend, there were two major power outages in New Providence, one of them island-wide.

You can’t appeal to major investors and say come and build your empire here and then say oh, but our power supply is unreliable.

Time and again, we hear stories of investors finding it difficult to cut through red tape. Where is the investor culture to help people start businesses? Where is the information exchange between fellow entrepreneurs to help develop a different outlook, and to learn from one another to help everyone grow?

Where, for that matter, is the money being put down by the government to encourage financial training, development of essential skills and more? That money is like planting a seed, in the hope it will grow and bring new life to the economy. Instead? We can’t even give out student loan money because previous students haven’t paid theirs back.

So it’s a harsh truth we hear from Mr Pepin – but it’s a truth nonetheless. If we want to play in the big leagues, we have to make changes.

A scam, not an investment

FAMOUSLY, the phrase “There’s a sucker born every minute” is associated with one of the greatest showmen of all time, PT Barnum. Ironically enough, he never did actually say those words.

For those who do prey on suckers, however, or the gullible or worse, those in desperate need, there is never a shortage of schemes that can be used.

The Securities Commission has warned, yet again, of the danger of Ponzi and pyramid schemes. What are they? They’re schemes that promise a big payout for a small investment. They generally require people to recruit two others (or more) to join the scheme. That’s why they call it a pyramid – because starting at the person at the top, the base keeps getting wider, and the money flows from those below to those above. The trouble is, there reaches a point where you cannot get enough people to expand the base – even if you had the whole planet investing. That’s when the money runs out, tempers get frayed, promises get broken and the whole scheme falls apart.

Such schemes rearing their very ugly head again at a time when so many are short of money is even worse. These schemes capitalise on people’s desperation. When you have only $200 to feed your family and someone tells you how you can turn that into $2,400, of course people at the sharp end are going to hold onto hope that it works out for them.

Sadly, the truth is that these schemes always end with more out of pocket. They end friendships. They cause fights.

There’s an old saying and it holds as much truth in it today as it ever did – if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Don’t be a sucker, and don’t fall for these scams.

Comments

benniesun 1 week, 6 days ago

The Bahamas is not ready for the big time as its leaders are insecure psychopaths who surround themselves with sycophants and others who are of lesser intellectual capacities. When succession in leadership positions in the political circle and high level managerial positions in the government owned corporations occur, the position is normally filled by a person with lesser intelligence than the person making the appointment. This ensures that the BOSS is always smarter than his underling. Consequently, after decades of this type of appointments, the leaders of both political and corporate have gotten basically dumber and dumber. Today, these supposed leaders do not truly know, would not recognize, and could not appreciate a naturally intelligent person. By excluding intelligent Bahamians who would question and improve the system, the entire Bahamas has been dumbed down.

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Porcupine 1 week, 5 days ago

Hey benniesun, I hope you keep writing. Obviously, you get it. I am not blowing smoke up your arse. Your words are worth reading. Please keep it up. People often don't like hearing the truth. However, we can't just hope and dream and pray that things will get better. We need to educate ourselves. "By excluding intelligent Bahamians who would question and improve the system, the entire Bahamas has been dumbed down." This is a sad, but true statement. Thanks for your comments.

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BaxterH 1 week, 5 days ago

Having been to Singapore, I can say firsthand that none of the criteria for such a goal exists within the Bahamas. The people thrive on a culture based on the glorification of mediocrity and ignorance. The Government thrives on a culture of leasing their resources for pennies to foreigners whilst keeping the average Bahamian in a state of stupidity. Instead of developing your own facilities , the Bahamas is too dependent on the faculties of the foreign investor. Singapore learned the software and shipping industry from foreigners, then after mastering it told them to go to hell. Something the Bahamas wouldn't have the gall to do in a million years.

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jamaicaproud 1 week, 5 days ago

You know you are speaking rubbish because no one knows who is a "real" Singaporean anymore. Singapore is different in following ways.. A semi doctorial PM who allowed himself free reign to implement policies. Massive foreign investments and importation of talent? Providing a first class school system to educate those who are interested in opportunities . Most significant the Geography. It's a city State. There is no country US , Germany, Japan, no one who does not depend on foreign investments. It's new money that makes an economy grow.

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themessenger 1 week, 5 days ago

Add to that Bahamians xenophobia and suspicion of all tings furrein is just more salt in the pot. But, as we say in this country, hard head bird don’t make good soup.

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happyfly 1 week, 5 days ago

It cracks me up whenever someone in this country, whether it be a senior politician, a customs officer or a xenophobic commentator in this forum - when they compare us to the USA or anywhere else. We are the tiniest, ragtag, most innefectual little nation in the world. We couldn't defend ourselves from two boat loads of Haitians. We have negative self-sufficiency. We are in chronic debt and basically have to borrow more money every day just to keep the lights on and put food on the table. We are a sinking ship and we are about to find out who really owns our behinds once the fallout from this self imposed covid crisis sinks in. The fact that our glorious Papa Doc assumed that we could afford to keep up with first world nations by shutting down our economy for most of 2020 is testimony to the ludicrous denial of reality in this country

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tribanon 1 week, 5 days ago

Basically put, we are a failed state mainly populated by dumbed-down arses who fully deserve all of the misery they inflict on themselves by the corrupt arseholes they elect to keep them enslaved.

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Porcupine 1 week, 5 days ago

"Dumbed down" can imply an other who dumbed them down. I agree with you on many issues here. However, watching what is happening in the US and elsewhere, there is a coordinated and concentrated effort to dumb people down. Some can escape, some can't, through no real fault of their own. The amazing technological apparatus at the elites disposal is stunningly effective at bending people's perspectives, buying habits, political persuasions. It is not pretty. But, I make the same mistake myself, too often, of blaming the victim. Otherwise, I agree with you.

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Proguing 1 week, 5 days ago

Hey, what happened to make the Bahamas great again?

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banker 1 week, 5 days ago

In the almost-three years since the government announced the formation of a Tech Hub on Grand Bahama, nothing has happened. Well, almost nothing. One company moved in, made a lot of promises and moved out again. The minister responsible for making a tech hub is either lazy or way out of his league. There was good advice given on the first Tech Hub summit, and none of it happened. They tried to take the easy way out with a bit of legislation and some cockamamie ideas about Foreigner visas to live in Freeport and work in the USA.

The plan went nowhere. The committee was chaired by a bunch of people with no power and wrong ideas. In short, it was a microcosm of the government.

Bahamians are incapable of taking having an achievable vision and taking firm, productive action to achieve those goals.

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benniesun 1 week, 5 days ago

Great points Porcupine, as the average Bahamian do not understand the extent of the dumbing down. When compared to the external competition our leaders are like kindergartners competing with a professional football team - the same team that designed and created the football game (the field, the football, and its rules). The turf of the field is composed of an intricate tapestry woven with the threads of the United Nations, Secret Services, The Crown, City States, The Bank for International Settlements (Basel), Mafia and Other Criminal Organizations, armed forces, International Corporations, NGOs, etc.... The kindergartners do not even conceive that there are relationships between those threads let alone understand their true functions. The football is made of banking, capitalism and the stock market. Our ignorant ones do not fathom the functioning of the ponzi scheme called capitalism and the casino called stock market; both controlled by the competition taking the roles of houseman and initiator. Our leaders are hopelessly outclassed as the competition keeps them ignorant of the true system.

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birdiestrachan 1 week, 5 days ago

Truth the situations in the Bahamas are not getting better, they are all going downhill the power company. the phones. the FNM government. Nothing works. this is all very sad.

It is a simple matter. and there is no need for a rocket science

And there are simple solutions.

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Porcupine 1 week, 5 days ago

I'm wondering birdie, if someday in the future we may end up on the same side, on the right side of history. Daydreaming they call it.

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themessenger 1 week, 5 days ago

I don’t often if ever agree with you Birdie but things are definitely going downhill, but then thats been happening since Pindlings time. To add insult to injury we’ve had to endure your diatribe for all that time as well. As for us ever ending up on the same side that would probably be classified as a nightmare rather than a daydream.

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