As sure as the sun rises and sets (seemingly hotter every day) so does the cycle of preventable crises that Abaco faces. There are a handful of issues that rear their heads every few years. A reliable cuckoo clock of misfortune. Demons whose names we know well but cannot seem to exorcise. You know them too: fires in the shanty towns, summertime blackouts, dilapidated public buildings, disaster at the landfill.
As I write this we face one more… again: the potential closure of our shipping port.
After failing the Coast Guard’s and International Ship and Port Security’s (ISPS) “mock” inspection on June 18 we had until July 17 to bring the Port up to code or risk losing trade with the United States.
I don’t need to go into detail about how this would be crippling.
Some people close to the situation are fairly confident that the list of deficiencies have been properly addressed. I am going to assume, and hope, that we pass inspection. As you read this we will know. However, I’m working against a publication deadline and can only be hopeful in my writing.
Regardless if we pass the follow-up inspection, though, the fact that it could come to this is an absolute failure.
Government (and by extension all Bahamians) benefit immensely from Abaco’s resiliency and contributions to the Treasury. Yet we’re always having to put out fires and it often feels like we’re having to do it ourselves. The efforts of businesses and individuals on Abaco to correct inefficiencies is an informal tax.
Nassau knows Abaco can take a dollar and turn it into ten. They know we can squeeze every drop of juice from a fruit. They know we’re a reliable builder.
But we’re given pennies instead of dollars. Instead of mangoes we’re given manure. Instead of trusting us to help continue building our country we’re treated like we’ll steal all the copper piping as soon as they turn their backs.
I’m strangling the metaphor of strangling the golden goose.
I’m assuming we will pass the inspection tomorrow because Abaconians will see to it that we will. At great expense. Let’s hope the government remembers for next time that it’s their job, actually.