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September 13, 2006


Etienne Christen

The funny thing is, Mitchell flies around and talks as if he were a leader of some 'great power'. The reality is that the Bahamas is very small and should really be focused on expending the limited resources it has on bettering the lives of its citizens using a far more focused agenda. You want to nail foreign relations better - deal in a focused manner with the immigration issue. You want to improve trade, then deal in a more focused manner with the investors we have already and try to encourage new investors to come. Most importantly, address the tourism issues. Fix the airport! How is that for foreign relations improvement! Grand principals are not going to be determined by the 'voice' of this small nation. We are not here to tell Cuba they are 'wrong', nor are we here to tell the USA that they are 'wrong'. That is all just hot air. Let the Cubans and Americans sort that out on their own.

larry smith

Thanks for weighing in Etienne. You are right that our interests are far more limited and local. It is only one man's personal ego.

Etienne Christen

Glad you liked the comment. I find that particular aspect of our foreign policy - the literal grand standing - incredibly silly. The most amazing thing about being small is that the scope of your problems can be confined to focused issues. Switzerland and Singapore do this very well. They let the great powers fight their wars and do the ideological thing, while they quiely try to figure out how to improve their own economies. We should be dynamic and forward thinking by now, but we are still stuck in this reactive rut. This country is optimally positioned for trade and for tourism from all corners of the globe, but our politicians are completely unable to tap into that competitive advantage and appear to be obsessed with making the Bahamas less competitive in the internaional arena. We have a choice: embrace globalisation and make it work for us, thus becoming stronger and defining our agenda, or trying to fight against it with reactive policies and being sidelined and eventually skipped over by others who did it better. Ultimately, this means explaining to all Bahamians that more is expected from us: that if we want the good life that we have managed to eke out so far to continue and if we want it to only get better in the Bahamas, then we are going to have to push our governments, our society and our children to higher policy, value and education levels and raise the standards - not lower them. That is the focus on the Bahamas that is needed - forget aligned or non aligned.

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