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May 07, 2013


Harcourt Bethel

...after 40 years, no change; politics as usual!

Rick Lowe

It would be interesting to know how many work permits are issued for Government employees besides teachers. Judges, Doctors, Lawyers, Directors etc, etc.

Sherry Albury

Succinct and beautifully constructed/constructive article. There are many Bahamians eager to engage in the sensible and constructive debate.


There are a number of qualified young Bahamians who cannot find a job in this country -- but the problem is far less likely to be immigrants holding those jobs and far more likely to be the pervasive and general lack of vision throughout this nation, which has not invested, either on a public or a private scale, in industries other than real estate, banking, finance, and the ubiquitous tourism. There is a knowledge and skills gap at work which means that those young Bahamians who have qualifications that would enable them to work in/invest in/develop other sectors of the economy -- for instance, marine science fuelled by agencies other than mega-resorts, for instance, or sustainable development, or agriculture, or maritime law, or international relations, or the cultural industries, or scientific research, or aeronautical studies, or cyber studies, or any of the other thousands of industries we do not make room for in our nation -- those young Bahamians are unemployed and even unemployable in our country. And the difference between them and the generation before: they are not going into teaching. Instead, they are leaving. It's not the expatriates who are at fault here; rather, it's the generation of Bahamians who think that the world stops where it did when they came of age in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Immigration is the symptom. Our small minds are the problem.

larry smith

And does political tribalism play a role?


If you're asking me, then the answer is that political tribalism plays a role but far less today than it did under our fathers' PLP (and FNM). Tribalism or no, young Bahamians are disadvantaged more than any other group of Bahamians for the reasons I mentioned above. They are our most qualified and best educated group of Bahamians and the most underemployed, for many of the above reasons. The rest of us are stuck on the Stafford Sands model of our economy; they have moved beyond that. We have yet to design the society in which they have their place.

larry smith

Well that's a chicken and egg conundrum. The intellectually maligned "sands model" has conferred enviable prosperity on the Bahamas compared with the rest of the region for many decades. Our grandfathers would not have conceived of such prosperity, white or black. And if there is a better model - or a more promising business option - why don't we move in that direction?

I agree that in some things an accommodating government policy framework is necessary (such as renewable energy). I also agree that incentives can be given in some cases. And setting realistic goals would be a good thing too.

What will the Bahamas at 40 committee be doing in this regard?

larry smith

Are the inequities in our society the result of our economic model? What would change if we tried to encourage the activities you suggest?

drew Roberts

I have a question.

When one applies for a business license these days and the form asks for the nature of the business, is there a place for "Other" yet?

all the best,



"There are a number of qualified young Bahamians who cannot find a job in this country -- but the problem is far less likely to be immigrants holding those jobs and far more likely to be the pervasive and general lack of vision throughout this nation, which has not invested, either on a public or a private scale, in industries other than real estate, banking, finance, and the ubiquitous tourism. "
This is unbelievably dead on. The idea that there are qualified Bahamians unable to find jobs is certainly not a social media myth because I have been living that for the last 6 months since I returned home for the first time in about a decade and I know of many others who are underemployed for the reasons expressed above. The most common greeting I have gotten since returning home is, "go back!". Finding a job for the sake of a job is easy; creating a career in the Bahamas can be incredibly hard outside of the typical job scope. The other pervading issue is the accessibility to opportunities as "who you know" still takes precedence. The company website for one of the jobs I applied to still reads "no job opportunities available". I only knew of the opportunities because I was fortune enough to know someone in the organization and found out there were 3 positions available in the department of interest. So I sometimes scratch my head when I hear the business community complain about the lack of skilled Bahamians when they do not take a proactive approach in the recruiting process and still only advertise jobs in newspapers like it's the 1990s. I had two offers in a foreign country within a week of graduating from grad school because it was accessible. This is one of the reasons why we have a human capital flight problem in the region. The appointments by the PLP post-election further shows that there isn't a concerted effort to "bridge the gap" for the long term sustainability of the Bahamas. Fresh ideas, innovation & entrepreneurship is unfortunately not celebrated here, it is stifled.

Some of the things I would like to see done:

Smaller government by getting rid of the main boondoggle government agencies and privatizing them.

Reduce the amount of MPs twiddling thumbs.

Appoint Senators who are the future visionary leaders of the country rather than the rejects of the party.

Restructure our education system by implementing a combination of ideas suggested by The Coalition for Education Reform so that we can shift into a knowledge based economy to complement our service sector and diversify our labour market. (eg. voucher programs possibly starting in the family islands as trial(Special Education Zones) and add vocational education streams with a general academic base and a entrepreneurship focus; connect with independent contractors, plumbers etc. etc. to set up apprenticeship programs upon successful completion.

Digitize...Digitize...Digitize like its 2013

Stop pandering to the voters about creating jobs when we know governments do not create job, private firms do. Promote entrepreneurship and make the process and regulatory environment for entrepreneurial activity and investment more efficient in order to absorb shocks to the economy.

Set term limits for elected officials, to reduce corruption

Freedom of Information - transparency

Implement community policing initiatives (something similar to Chiles Safer Communes program)

Promote the civil liberties of all Bahamians regardless of religion, ethnicity, social class and sexual orientation

Land registry and properly securing property taxes before thinking of implementing consumption taxes.

explore renewable energy opportunities to reduce oil dependency, starting with regulating net metering and net billing

Legalize webshop gambling, because at this point its just silly not to.

Proper drainage systems in residential areas.

I believe a more free society will create wealth rather than jobs, which would improve the quality of living and reduce interpersonal violence, nothing is isolated.

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