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Editorial: Sensible Policies Show Path We Should Follow

FIRST, there was a proposal by the FNM to provide free food in schools for all children at government schools.

Now, there is a plan to provide concessions on housing construction for all first-time Bahamian homeowners building a house valued at $300,000 or less.

We welcome both of these proposals – as long as they can be afforded, of course. Each gives a step forward to different sections of our community. The children who might go hungry or who could do with being set on a better path for their diet, in the first case. And a chance for those Bahamians who haven’t been able to get their foot on the property ladder in the second.

The plan would see no customs duties on building materials, and no VAT on building materials or the value of the construction contract. Plus, no real property tax for five years.

It can be hard to get started as a homeowner. It seems there are all kinds of costs and fees that inflate the amount you have to pay. It might even be a factor in the brain drain we see where young professionals uproot and go to the US to work instead, and get their first home there instead.

Giving people a chance to have somewhere they belong is a tempting prospect indeed. These are the kind of sensible, forward-looking proposals that, frankly, we would have loved to have seen more of in Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis’ first term in office. If he’d introduced these earlier, we suspect many would have felt more warmly towards his candidacy for re-election.

As it stands, that re-election is up in the air. We shall find out after Thursday’s vote who the next government will be. If it is the FNM, we look forward to the implementation of policies such as these. If it is the PLP, we would equally encourage policies that look to lift sections of our society, to offer a helping hand where needed.

Too often, policies don’t really touch too many of those in our country – so it’s good to see this kind of thinking on show. We would absolutely prefer to have more of this kind of debate on the campaign trail than the playground pettiness on show too often.

When it comes to casting your vote, you ought to be able to judge not just on which leader you like more, but on what each of them is really offering in terms of change for the better.

If a leader isn’t clearly spelling out ways to take the nation forward, are they really the person who deserves your vote?

Clear the waters

There’s treasure in those waters!

At least, that’s the thinking of explorers who think they have detected 13 shipwrecks in Bahamian waters, with one of them a billon-dollar find.

And yet, despite such a potential bonanza, very little fanfare was made when a different explorer was issued a licence. That went to Carl Allen, the owner of Walker’s Cay, and his company.

As one source told Tribune Business yesterday, “That’s crazy. There’s no news to the public.”

The potential for retrieving salvage is a good thing – companies take on the risk of exploration and the public purse gets a cut of the proceeds.

What is not good is when this kind of thing takes place in silence. There are already enough worries about transparency with government, and our place in the corruption index. When one hears about a potential treasure trove of five tons of gold on one ship, one worries whether such profits would indeed ever end up in the public purse.

This should be a good thing for the country – and a good thing for the private companies involved in the exploration.

All that is required is for everything to be above board. Clarity over the process of issuing licences, clarity over who the government contacts are dealing with these bodies, and clarity over how the salvage will be presented for valuation and assessment. There is no reason for any of this process not to be conducted in the light of day. So let’s do just that, shed a little more light – to get rid of any shadows of suspicion.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 4 days, 10 hours ago

What's it to us anyway, just another foreign investor taking our treasures out the country. The real question is how did we ever find out?

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mandela 4 days, 9 hours ago

PM Minnis promised to tackle the innercity OUTSIDE toilet problem, this is also desperately needed, before COVID-19 came, the FNM promised free internet for the inner city, and that was when in schooling was the norm, now COVID is upon us hygiene is a must, school classes are now being conducted virtually over the internet with this now becoming the norm, and in schooling being almost in the past, if the PM really cared, he would have made sure that the schooling populace was being taken care of so more and more young professionals to be would make it through and become first-time homeowners.

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carltonr61 3 days, 22 hours ago

We took the FNM bait during the last election enmass. Its bait is hot air of a dieing despot Hitler who cared little wheather a coconut man sold them to build a house. Now he is offering help! He should apologize for locking up a coconut man. That will forever be his enduring legacy. It could have been me or you facing hard times and just trying not to starve our babies. That is where we see his true heart, or heart lacking. Alligators always show their teeth in smiling graciousness before they tear you apart, let you rot to tenderness then devour your remains. We pray that Brave could march us through this red sea of pain, curruption and new found hot belch. We guess the day before election he will promise free land also or anything to keep secret billions in hiding behind their backs. Transparency would have shown their hands lamentable that Inca and Aztec gold was only glossed over while the nefarious issue is the principle of this now old government.

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carltonr61 3 days, 21 hours ago

After the total destruction of this nation we face the prospects of great, sobering, painful realities that is better dealt with in the sunshine and behind the red darkness vale of cloaks and hidden hands. Once we have sunshine we will have clarity then know which direction to take. For now where there is fire that blinds there is smoke, clouds underhanded non democratic one-man-law of clandestine operations, and fog. We pray the sun shines after Thursday.

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Dawes 3 days, 21 hours ago

They should also get rid of the duty free rates places like Albany get as the whole places is considered a hotel, thanks to Perry. These people can build multi million dollar second and third homes over here and not pay one cent to the Govt. A Bahamian ca just about afford a $200,000 home and has to pay duty to the Government.

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tribanon 3 days, 21 hours ago

The headline to this editorial article is a shining example of The Tribune's efforts to keep steam in the engine of the sinking SS Minnis.

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truetruebahamian 3 days, 20 hours ago

Whatever happened to the large silver bar that was on display in Nassau I believe that it was foound and retrived by one of the Thompson brothers. I remember going down town and looking at it and wondering what stories it could tell - the government changed and not too long afterwards it disappeared. Is there an official accounting as to where it might be or was it just stolen and hoarded away. I hope that someone somewhere has some photos of it to share.

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carltonr61 3 days, 20 hours ago

I never heard of the silver bar. We are just sick and tired of this totalitarian FNM regime that took us too far below the hole in principle, finances, hope, sorrow and darkness with only assurance of more to follow under his most inhuman style of dictatorship.

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birdiestrachan 3 days, 19 hours ago

There is already free meals in school for those underprivileged children, what the doc said is give free meals and snacks to all even those who can afford to buy their own food.

There was a plan in place where persons could build homes in the family islands duty-free so doc has no new ideas no visionary plans. it is all right. the PLP built the collage of The Bahamas and worked hard to make it a university of the Bahamas.

He is busy riding on PLP ideas.

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