What is the measure of success? I would argue that there is no specific destination for success. Success is overcoming obstacles and growing. It is one foot in front of the other. In that sense, is Abaco successful?
Context from history is critical when talking about our future. But we are also witnessing many things happen for the first time that we must grapple with now.
The question we all must grapple with is should we accept success in baby steps? And if so, how small of steps are we willing to accept?
Are those we elect leading with timid baby steps, afraid to overstep the stride of those next to them in their political party? If so do we want this crawling conformity?
The crawling conformity that we have accepted for so long now has provided our basic infrastructure: electricity, running water and roads. But it is also the reason power cuts are unquestioned and authorities are unpunished. It is why water supplies get cut because one public utility company doesn’t know where the pipes of the second one are. And why it takes just short of rioting to make a main thoroughfare in town drivable.
Our leaders, for a long time, have come to think that we should expect and accept a slow drive of progress with many detours. They make sure the right pockets are filled with kickbacks and favours before any work is started. They make the process a political theater. They wait until the eleventh hour to put out fiscal fires and then say we the people have to front the cost.
Sad thing is it seems we do accept it. We like our bumbling baby steps, the government can argue. “Surely a population serious about its own economic well-being,” they may say, “wouldn’t let the running joke that is the unopened new airport stand. They would be protesting at the site every other weekend.”
They may say about us, “if they are really so unhappy with paying that much for electricity with so little to show for it they would be demanding reform.”
They may look at us and remark to each other, “they enjoy the political blame game just as much as we do. As long as they never hold government accountable as a separate entity, and instead treat us simply as political parties, we can do anything we want for five years.”
We like our success but only when it is comfortable. When we don’t have to work for it or make any noise. But I think that can change. We in Abaco have the historical context that shows we have the willpower and pride to pave our own future. It flares from time to time.
Baby steps may be necessary sometimes. But it is high time we learned how to run.