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March 05, 2008



Excellent commentary Larry.
Privatisation inititives are long overdue for The Bahamas.
One point to take issue with and that is the growth rate in Cuba.
These numbers are not verified by any international authority so I don't think we can really use them as a benchmark.
I do understand your point that economic growth is important however.
Keep up the good work.

drew Roberts

May be relevant / interesting:


UN Makes Its Statistical Data Free and Searchable

all the best,


Wild Idea - Opt In Income Tax For The Bahamas?


Thanks Drew:
But are they audited.
Cuba reports their GDP numbers but no authority checks them as the IMF does with us for example.
I stand to be corrected.

Geoff Treco

I read your column regularly and find it very informative. However, I must say that this one is very good.

Will we find the political will to rid ourselves of the loss-making public enterprises? I hope we do. Maybe Mr.Ingraham is laying the groundwork for this by exposing the losses in his mid-year budget--it gives the public an opportunity to see the effect on the nation's budget and finances, particularly as we borrow to pay operational expenses.

Personally I see no ill effect to disbanding Bahamasair. Certainly workers can receive adequate severance, and that will be a one-time expense as opposed to the perpetual and ever increasing losses.

A proper licensing regime put in place before this happens will allow private companies to take up the slack.

With regards to existing infrastruture and its sad state, I fear that the government may undertake too much in an effort to catch up. That is, take on too much debt.

I am worried that the politicians like to talk about large projects and how these projects will "save" us. We should have a list of priorities (I am sure it exists somewhere) underpinned by a national development plan that would point the way to public investment in a controlled and orderly manner with due consideration to the current state of the public finances.

In this same vein, I support a move to Arawak cay for the shipping companies as opposed to the construction of a new port in SW New Providence - a cost of $250M plus as opposed to a significantly smaller sum.

We can digest the former rather easily. A privately funded project at Arawak Cay as opposed to the public one at SW Point.

Government's thinking going forward should be "how can we involve the private sector to help plan and finance the projects we believe are necessary".

The answer to this question may mean that where there is no support from the private sector,the planned project is not feasible and should not be undertaken.

drew Roberts

Hey Rick,

My post was of a general nature and not in response to yours in any way.

all the best,



Excellent article!
The timing is perfect for real 'Privatization". A slowing economic environment and growing pressure to make major changes. Just sell them off totally. Don't try to take a 'golden share' approach for political purposes. Don't handcuff buyers. Don't worry about employees. If they're good, they will remain employed and probably promoted. Try to outsource/sell/privatize all government services.
Concentrate expenditures on education, police and health.
By the way, get rid of all government cars for MP's, judges, etc. The PM should get a car and driver and that's it. It's a bloody waste of the people's money for a show of status. They can take a jitney or walk and rub shoulders with real people. They live in a fantasy world that we can't afford.

EB Christen

Great article. I couldn't agree with you more. I liked that you cited Cuba's growth as well. It is important that we open our eyes to the very real problem that Cuba presents to our tourism industry. They are currently doing things better on the tourism front and are reaping the rewards. We could learn a lot from them on this front. Bahamians have some hard choices to make over the next few years and we don't seem to have the political will to make them.

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