By MALCOLM STRACHAN
THE scene on Saturday morning was beautiful to see. Crowds turned out in force to either take part or volunteer to organise the Road to 50 road race.
Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis took part, with pictures of him posing with participants or onlookers posted to his Facebook, smiles everywhere to see. Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper took part, running a 10k and posting a picture of a post-run rubdown from volunteers afterwards and confessing his exhaustion.
There was a feel good atmosphere in the air, and perhaps best to see young families everywhere – children out wearing their Road to 50 T-shirts.
Those children are perhaps the most important people of all in attendance – for 50 years from now, they will be wearing their Road to 100 T-shirts. What will be the state of The Bahamas that we leave for them? What must we do to still build our nation?
There are some elements that are already on our agenda. It has faded a little from the headlines in recent times, but the issue of gender equality is one that remains to be dealt with. As long as one Bahamian has different rights from another Bahamian, we are not a truly equal nation for all. The progress towards that goal seems to have been hampered by delays for a seemingly endless amount of consultation, often with one religious group or another.
The same could be said of the effort to introduce legislation outlawing marital rape – once again, that seems to be slowed down by more consultation, as if there hasn’t been ample opportunity for people to have their say on the issue by now already. Again, this latest consultation seems to involve another religious group. There seems more momentum on this issue, however – with the Senate president, LaShell Adderley, speaking up on the matter in a joint sitting of Parliament, and former Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson suggesting there is the political will to see this through. Positive words – but it looks like the year will end without any further progress. Will legislation be passed before we reach our 50th anniversary? As it stands, if a married woman is raped by her partner she does not have the same legal options as an unmarried woman raped by her partner. Again, there stands an inequality.
In what other ways would our society be improved? Well, transparency of government would be a start – and that’s going nowhere fast. The current administration has failed to report a host of contracts that have been issued, and the Freedom of Information Commission’s ability to respond to requests still isn’t going to be until at least sometime next year. We’ll see if that slips any further, but it betrays an absolute lack of priority for the issue of showing the people what their government is doing.
Another issue that mires our nation is the lack of speed with which court matters are dealt with. I was having a drink with a friend who had taken a company to court and still had no resolution six years later. My friend is far from alone. So many issues remain before the courts – some with a judge’s ruling but still waiting years on for the written ruling. It can be exhausting, and it can be a disincentive to those who would invest in our country. Whatever the outcome of any particular ruling, at least people can get on with dealing with the decision. Being left in limbo helps no one.
That extends most of all to the coroners courts, where people still have no resolutions to what has happened to their loved ones. In the case of police shootings, it is being left unresolved for years whether an officer was justified in their actions or not. That is an ill fit for both sides – the family wanting justice if it was an unlawful killing, and the officer being able to move on with their career if it was appropriate. Justice must be fair, but it must also be timely. Not for nothing is there an old saying that justice delayed is justice denied.
Then there is the biggest question of all – how much of our nation will still be here in 50 years?
The effects of climate change are predicted to leave large areas of our nation underwater – and even more areas at risk from deadly storm surge in hurricanes.
We are lobbying the international community for support – well, let’s face it, money – to help deal with the increasing problems we face, but what are the steps we are taking here at home?
To be a leader on the issue of climate change, we also need to be a leader in reducing our own footprint? As a nation, our emissions are not huge but on a per head basis, we are as complicit as many other countries.
We must look to reduce our contribution to climate change – be it through turning to more renewable sources, or through other measures.
When developers ask to build a property throughout our chain of islands, are we properly asking them to consider their climate impact in their proposals? And if they overstep, figuring once the place is built, no one is going to stop them – are we properly holding them to account? Does our legal process even make it a simple matter to hold them to account?
In the various maps that show prospective flood zones, are we limiting developments in areas estimated to be underwater in 20 years? Are we taking into account how much water such developments will displace, pushing flooding into other areas?
Beyond the immediate, what happens in the future to refugees from such areas – because that is what we will have. What happens to those who will become homeless and landless, our fellow Bahamians? In extreme circumstances, what will happen if people need to uproot from the nation entirely?
These are just some of the questions facing us as we look to our landmark 50th anniversary. Personally, I think transparency is the key. Truly transparent government allows us to tackle all the other issues. I would love, however, to hear from readers as to what change they would like to see as we reach our half-century.
• Readers can comment at www.tribune242.com or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
sheeprunner12 3 months, 2 weeks ago
Pindling met many of the problems here ........... he left many as he met them .......... the other 4 PMs have done the same .............. the "next generation" don't seem too motivated to change anything ........... the millenials and GenZ crew are leaving for greener pastures.
Our present adult population and leaders are good at talking, pomp & pageantry, and setting up committees, but lousy at planning for REAL progress and change.
DonAnthony 3 months, 2 weeks ago
In a word..bleak.
sheeprunner12 3 months, 2 weeks ago
If Haiti, USA, or Cuba was to invade The Bahamas, as Russia invaded the Ukraine ........ what will we do?????? ........... The similarities are very eerily similar.
That seems to be our imminent future ................. to be expunged from the records of History
SP 3 months, 2 weeks ago
Correct, and with the full blessings of these idiots we call politicians!
birdiestrachan 3 months, 2 weeks ago
JER 29 V 11 FOR I know the plans I have you plans to prosper you and not harm you plans to give you hope and a future , our problems are not that difficult to solve, no need for gloom and giving voice to folks who wish the Bahamas evil
With Jesus in the vessel there will be calm in all of our storms we will over come
Sickened 3 months, 2 weeks ago
Correction - we ALL want the very best for our once great nation. Unfortunately, year after year, administration after administration, we only get worse and worse. Evil has taken a hold of our civil service and our mediocre MP's find it easier to turn their eyes and ears to the side so as to ignore the huge problem ahead of them. At some point we're going to have to fire the thieves and liars. I would prefer to do it now because it will only get worse.
Bonefishpete 3 months, 2 weeks ago
Learn Creole, English or Spanish? Well you could pick up the English part.
SP 3 months, 2 weeks ago
Better learn Creole, cause the proud and useless Haitians aren't going to learn English!
SP 3 months, 2 weeks ago
Bahamians proudly celebrating 50 years remind of all the Haitians, Jamaicans, and other ex-pats that always brag about how great their country is....but won't go back!
These clowns are proud of our country that obviously cares more for taking care of foreigners being employed and doesn't give a damn about unemployed Bahamians!
Commenting has been disabled for this item.