We are a country discovered by the Spanish, reformed by the British, paid by the Americans and courting the Chinese. We are a necklace of 700 jewels that other nations have either taken from us or we have sold off willingly. And we never seemed to learn that they actually belong to us.
We were reared on a duality of colonialism and entrepreneurism. Distant royalty ruling us; home-grown go-getters building us.
When we decided to be free; our politicians had choices to make.
Twenty years under one Prime Minister, then juggling between two ever since. I’m not taking away the good they have done for our country or their years of service, but it is clear who our politicians have modelled themselves after.
Our politicians fancied themselves as the colonial rulers the Bahamian people decided to shed on July 10, 1973. They still do. They feel they are above reproach. They feel we don’t have a right to know what they are doing with our money. They feel the only time the Bahamian people deserve to be acknowledged is when it is time to vote.
And, boy, do they sucker us.
Despite the protest of the business community, the government went ahead with the Value Added Tax. Now, the business community did not disagree with new taxes, it’s just that VAT is particularly burdensome on an economy such as ours. Regardless, the government enacts VAT the first of January and what do the national headlines read shortly after? “PM Plans to Ask China for Funds.”
But we as “small Bahamians” seemingly have no power to investigate our own monetary policy. You need the Freedom of Information for that, and colonial rulers don’t give the masses Freedom of Information.
And the next election won’t be fought on these points, sadly.
Both parties have an equally atrocious track record. Before Mr. Christie’s VAT it was Mr. Ingraham’s 40% Duty hike. And both parties are notorious for their off-the-record bidding process for projects.
They bleed the Bahamian people dry, but at least our politicians can now afford homes on Paradise Island AND still have enough for a little place in Atlanta.
No, our next election will be fought via proxy. Who can find the most dirt? Who can afford to give out the most free beer at rallies? Who can pay for my ma’s new washing machine? Who can get the most musical artists to write the catchiest song for the radio?
I hope I’m wrong.
We are a necklace of 700 jewels that other nations have either taken from us, we have sold off willingly, or, recently, been a prize for whatever the ruling party is to wear as their own. And we never seem to learn that they actually belong to us.
But I believe we CAN learn.