There are not so many great proverbs detailing the benefits of short-sighted cash-grabs, empty promises or political tricks.
If there’s one thing the government needs right now it is cash. They implemented one new tax that’s revenue, best to everyone’s guess, is siphoned into a yellow-and-blue slush fund. And they’re doing their best to steamroll us with a new tax “for National Health.” Will that tax money go as far as the millions currently allotted for our overburdened public health system – the one with self-admitted wastage upwards of thirty percent? Seems like a fine way to collect money now and run out on responsibilities later.
However, our cash-strapped government can find the funds when it’s something they want to do that will benefit them personally or politically. They can find $5 million for Moore’s Island improvements when they can’t even afford to fix Abaco’s current, mold-ridden clinic – let alone open the new one?
Do the people of Moore’s Island deserve to feel like they live in the 21st century? Absolutely. Am I convinced this $5 million pledge (See Page 1) will be executed with even a whiff of timeliness, scruples or foresight? If history is any example (both recent and not-so-recent) I have reason to believe otherwise. Look at Green Turtle Cay. The amount of money Green Turtle alone dumps into the national treasury and they can’t even get their roads fixed? Preposterous.
Preposterous is that the people of Abaco’s shanty towns live in conditions completely incompatible with our nation’s self-image. But those living in our country seeking a better life are only remembered by government, I don’t care which government, when Ministers need to rattle their spears to announce “firm” new immigration policies to drum up support or when they need to farm them for votes – like political cattle.
It is no wonder the Haitian community finds it so hard to integrate when they are treated, at best, as inconvenient voting blocs and, at worst, like nothing.
Let me be clear. I have no horse in any race – except for my fellow Abaconians and Bahamians. I want this government to succeed in doing the best by the Bahamian people. I want successive governments to do best by the Bahamian people. But it’s draining watching promise after promise broken. It’s infuriating watching politician after politicians stick to party lines. And it’s maddening seeing hard work by good people outclassed by bureaucracy, cronyism and back-room deals.
I only see short-sightedness. I only see band aids. I only see our future being sold out with nary a whisper of protest from Rawson Square. We need to take hold of our future because it is being taken from us.
There’s another great proverb about trees and planning for the future. “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”