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From the Editor’s Desk: What We Need

I don’t know about you, reader, but I’m still sorting out and digesting the new budget. Here are some of the things Abaco needs to see, as both a sign of good faith from the government regarding how it intends to do business going forward, but also, I feel, out of necessity for our community’s continued success.

Reliable Utilities:

Abaconians feel like a broken record at this point. Not much I can say that has not been said regarding the discrepancy between Abaco’s status as a producer for the Treasury vs. what we get in return. If there’s one easy thing to point to when highlighting this discrepancy is our basic services. BPL has been doing well the last few weeks (knock on wood) but we have a long track record to review when it comes to power supply and the summer months. But as of this writing much of town has been struggling with the running water. It’s 2018 and we’re paying 12% VAT plus duty – I think we should expect these problems to become less and less frequent.

Empowered Local Government:

By my accounting, our local government bodies spend our money better than central government. The committees and councils should not be having to scrounge for scraps to complete necessary capital works within their communities. These people live here, know what’s needed and have for far too long been hung out to dry, sitting on their hands because their entire budgets are eaten up with trash disposal or regular maintenance projects. Let them build something that will benefit our communities. A good example, in my view, is the new libraries being finished. More of that, please.

Streamlined Government Services:

Our people should be able to apply for and receive a driver’s license on-island and not have to wait six weeks for Nassau to print them. When we take time out of our day to go PAY THE GOVERNMENT (be it business license, NIB, or some other fee) we should not be turned away because the only person who seems to know how to do anything is out to lunch. We need a more earnest push towards digitizing how we apply for, pay and receive government services. Besides being easier it would save the government money – and it’s safer. Need I remind readers of the several thousands of dollars in cash that was “lost” from the Port Department a few years ago?

Infrastructural Improvements:

I know we’re trying to pay off debt and that we’re broke. But help us help you. Better public docks and roads help facilitate the transport of taxable goods. Better maintained airports and immigration waypoints invite more tourists. Better schools train a smarter, more capable future for our country.

I know it is unreasonable to expect everything at once. I know we’ve struggled with these problems as a nation for many years. And I know continued spending is part of the problem. But these are a necessity if we are to grow the revenue pie – which in turn helps all of us.

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