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Following a demonstration at the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) yesterday, its chief executive officer is charging that a change in its business conduct is essential for success in a competitive environment.
In a press release, Geoff Houston said he remains optimistic that the company and its union partners will "shape a way forward" that is beneficial to all stakeholders. He was responding to the Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union (BCPOU) demonstration in front of BTC's headquarters, protesting its management contract proposal.
Half-a-year into its three-year mobile exclusivity contract and with competition in the landline market, the company faces the prospect of "strong mobile competition" by mid 2014, according to the release. Houston said that while BTC and its union partners have "accomplished much" since Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC) secured the majority ownership in April, the company wanted a better relationship with them to be prepared for the environment ahead.
"We have indicated to the unions our desire for true partnership to move BTC forward in this increasingly competitive environment," Houston said. "Our shared desire must be to create an environment where our team members can grow and flourish professionally - a setting where all staff are empowered and can advance based on their own skill and preparedness to excel."
The BCPOU is the non-management bargaining unit for BTC. Guardian Business understands that its concerns about the new management contract involve little or no salary increments, the elimination of Christmas bonuses, and non-redundancy clauses it says are too general.
In its release yesterday, BTC said the company did not want to negotiate the important agreement '"in the press", but expressed understanding that the two sides would not always be in agreement. He also said he understood that the union would use the channels it could to communicate its message.
The new business environment BTC seeks focuses on customer care, improved quality of products and services, freedom to innovate, and internal and external accountability, according to Houston.
"Provided that we can, in good faith, continue our discussions based on these core principles, I am convinced that we shall find common ground and shape an agreement that will serve the interest of all parties," Houston said.
Central and South Abaco;
You know, sometimes your own supporters get too enthusiastic and say things or play songs at rallies that are really ‘over the top’.
Cable Bahamas Ltd announced today that it is implementing a major increase in its international connectivity to the rest of the world as part of its ongoing network optimisation plans. On Monday, May 13 it will boost its capacity between The Bahamas and its primary and secondary connection points to the global Internet in the United States by over 220 per cent, or a more than six-fold increase since its undersea fibre was launched over ten years ago. On April 22, Cable Bahamas formally launched an increase in subscriber bandwidth speed between 500 and 1,000 per cent, moving its former speed levels of 3, 6 and 9 megabits per second for residential subscribers to 15, 30 and 50 megabits per second respectively.
The new president of the Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA) says there is "no question" that the hotly criticized stamp tax needs to be revisited under his administration.Franon Wilson was sworn in as the new president with more than 100 BREA member in attendance at the Nassau Yacht Club last week. He brings to the table considerable experience, including his current position as president of Arawak Homes.
He told Guardian Business that working with government agencies to bring about positive changes in the property market is top of his agenda.
"I look forward to having a dialogue and lead a discussion to make our point. There is no question on that. The stamp tax needs to be revisited," he said. "At the end of the day, we all have the same goal. The more activity in real estate, the more the country benefits. Since we all have this same goal, it's just a matter of aligning."
Continuing to work with agencies such as the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB), and reaching out to the Fiscal Planning Committee, for example, are key to developing the right relationships to move the sector forward.
"It's not about giving us money. It's working with us to go out and sell and be competitive. We do want the stamp tax to go down. In terms of how far down, we need to sit down and talk,"he added.
The agenda set by Wilson should come as welcomed news to many local realtors.
John Christie, the vice president of HG Christie Limited, has remained vocal on the subject of stamp tax. Now standing at 12 percent, he felt the additional expense was a major deterrent for international investors or buyers looking for second homes.
"It pulls down what the owner is going to get, it eats into commissions, and it makes buyers think once, twice and three times about whether they want to invest,"Christie told Guardian Business.
Mario Carey, the CEO of Mario Carey Realty, has gone so far as to say the property sector"gets no respect"from the government in terms of contributions to the economy.
But there was a bit of good news at the annual general meeting for BREA. Next month, multiple listings throughout The Bahamas will be fed onto Realtor.com, a company taken over by Move.com.
Patty Birch, the outgoing president of BREA, said getting local listings on this site is one of her greatest achievements during her two-year term.
By going onto this database, Bahamian real estate will receive unprecedented exposure to buyers in North America.
"That website gets three million hits per day,"she said.
"Our properties will now be fed into the international side of the website. It could definitely have a broader exposure to the international market for properties all over The Bahamas. It's an amazing opportunity for us to get out there."
Birch also noted that it could open the door for possible buyers in Latin America as well, many of which frequent the Realtor.com. Direct flights through Panama with Copa mean investors and second-home buyers can begin to consider The Bahamas as a viable alternative to the southern U.S.
Wilson, the incoming president, praised BREA's inclusion on the website, calling it "huge" for the sector.
In terms of getting out of the recession, he toldGuardian Business the widest possible exposure is needed to generate sales. He said it will likely benefit both large and small members of BREA.
"The main thing about real estate, is the more people that see what you have, the more chance you have to sell it. Especially for the smallest embers of BREA, such as those on the Family Islands, people can now look at these options at a greater scale," he explained. "The main thing is to continue to work across the board on these fields to do what we can to get out of the recession."
The election season is well in full force in The Bahamas. All of the major political parties have cranked up their machinery and politicians are making their presence felt on the talk show circuit. No one would argue that crime and the economy are two of the biggest concerns on the electorate's mind as we move toward the 2012 general election. However, politicians should not make the mistake of campaigning on these issues alone. The Bahamian electorate want answers and proposed policies on a multitude of issues including immigration, exploration of natural resources for economic benefit and future plans to address our failing education system. One of the issues that the next government of The Bahamas must confront is the more than half a century topic of gambling by Bahamians in The Bahamas.
Gambling no doubt is one of the most controversial topics of discussion in The Bahamas. There are many proponents and critics. It remains uncertain, however, what percentage of the Bahamian population is for or against legalizing gambling by Bahamians. The reality is that we as a nation continue to go round and round in circles on this matter, while thousands of Bahamians patronize the multitude of what are commonly referred to as 'number houses' in The Bahamas.
An argument against the legalization is that it will bring with it a myriad of social issues that are opposed to Christian values and will cause a decadence in Bahamian society. While it is accepted among some that gambling may not be an outright sin in the Bible, gambling done in excess is sinful.
Others opposed to the legalization of gambling have put forth an economic argument claiming that gambling is an open form of regressive taxation that will affect those of the lower income brackets more than those of the middle and upper class. As a result, those of the lower income class will fail to take care of their financial obligations at home such as paying necessary bills and caring for their families. A perception exists that individuals below the poverty line gamble more than persons who are not poor. However, studies in America suggest that the reverse is true as it was found that more persons of the middle class played the lottery as opposed to those of the lower income class.
Proponents of legalizing gambling assert that government cannot legislate morality. Further, proponents claim that there are many potential benefits including an increase in government revenue which can contribute toward charitable purposes, infrastructure and most notably education. Advocates of the legalization of gambling also argue that it is another legitimate source of income for a government that has limited ability to increase its revenue intake. Although this argument has been successful in persuading a lot of Americans to vote in favor of a national lottery, it was found that the eventual revenue was not utilized in the manner that many had hoped for. For instance, the additional revenue from the lottery did in fact go towards education; however, many states reduced or offset the allocation to the educational budget against revenue received from the lottery. Hence, the education budget was not increased overall but education was merely funded by another source of revenue. To remedy this effect, a few states in America have passed legislation to ensure that a certain percentage of revenue received from the lottery is allocated for the specific purpose of education. This ensures that the funds are used for the purpose intended on the one hand, and on the other hand it ensures that the states do not decrease their allocation to education.
The greatest issue with gambling in The Bahamas is the fact that there is much hypocrisy surrounding the point. Several decades ago, the government of the day approved policy for hoteliers and casino operators to provide gambling services, however casino gambling and 'playing numbers' was outlawed for Bahamians. It is interesting to note that civic organizations, churches and schools still have the ability to distribute raffle tickets as a major fundraiser. However, provisions have been made for such activities under the Gaming and Lotteries Act. Over the years, law enforcers have conducted random raids of 'number house' establishments in an attempt to discourage the practice of gambling by Bahamians otherwise called 'buying and selling numbers'. However, the truth of the matter is that neither the government nor the law enforcers have done an adequate job 'shutting down' the number houses.
There is widespread hypocrisy in that the government allows foreign investors to enter the country and provide amenities for casino gambling for their guests, but Bahamians though guests of these hotels quite often are unable to utilize these gambling facilities. It is unclear whether the operators of 'number houses' want gambling by Bahamians legalized. Any potential legalization will certainly decrease their profits, reduce market share and relinquish their current control to a government authority. Liberalization of the gambling market will foster competition and encourage the entrance of more competitors. Hoteliers and casino operators may not prefer any gambling policy that allows Bahamians to gamble not because of a threat to their market share, but because it will provide Bahamians with the licence to enter these establishments and patronize all the amenities just as the foreign tourists and non-residents do. Arguably, hoteliers and casino operators may not find such a policy good for their businesses.
It appears that there are arguably many special interests who prefer to keep the status quo. However, maintenance of the current state of affairs will increase hypocrisy and anarchy among Bahamians. It is advisable for the next government of The Bahamas to ascertain the gambling appetite of the Bahamian population and propose a referendum on the matter. We must take a "what is good for the goose is good for the gander approach".
Legal gambling in The Bahamas should benefit both Bahamians and non-residents alike. The same is true for illegal gambling; neither Bahamians nor non-residents should benefit. If Bahamians agree to legalize gambling, it follows that the government must take the necessary steps to comply with the wishes of the people. However, if the overwhelming response is to keep gambling by Bahamians illegal, the government and relevant government agencies must enforce the law and uphold the provisions of the Gaming and Lotteries Act. This is the essence of democracy - a government of the people, for the people and by the people.
Arinthia S. Komolafe is an attorney-at-law. Comments can be directed at email@example.com.
"We must never lose sight of the fact that the student, as the learner, is not only the center of the school system, but the only reason for its existence." This quote by R.B. Jackson gets to the heart of why schools exist.
Despite the new initiatives, the fancy educational terms, and the ever-expanding responsibilities of schools, we miss the point if we forget that students give schools its purpose. With this in mind, the foundational consideration of all educational institutions must be how best we can serve students. An equally foundational response must include adequate preparation for success in the wider world upon completion of school. Doing this in the 21st. century, however, continues to shift from creating workers with basic proficiencies for inevitable placement in monotonous, factory-type roles, to preparing students for innovative, creative, imaginative, ideas driven work, with the skills, competencies and attitudes which engender incredible flexibility and resilience. The former characteristics are decidedly fundamental for survival in our new and ever changing landscape.
However, creating the programs and the curricula necessary to achieve the above is secondary to success in education. Understanding and respecting the individual needs of each student is primary. Underpinned by the aforementioned, education, by its very definition is about eliminating barriers to student success. In short, education requires education practitioners to do all possible to ensure the success of students -- a complex and grand responsibility indeed.
One mandate of any education system must be to get students into and out of the system as expediently as possible. In order to do this, educational institutions must be focused not only on high impact teaching and learning, but also on understanding and eliminating the many barriers to student success. For example, that positive parental involvement increases a student's performance and success in school has been proven time and again in many different education systems and countries. Concomitantly, that the lack of positive parental involvement can be a barrier to student success is also true. More importantly, however, that multiple strategies have been innovatively employed, by many different education systems and countries, with great success, to overcome the barrier of an uninterested and or unable parent have also been proven.
Therefore, the tendency to blame parents for poor student performance rings hollow in an age where access to information and the huge potential for local and international collaboration exist. Moreover, it can be argued that today's pervading parental indifference is in itself due to the underperformance of our education system. Indeed, the education "crisis" has been long in the making.
Let's briefly examine another measure -- school dropouts. How many students drop out of Bahamian schools each year, and what are the main reasons? While accurate statistics appear in short supply in the Bahamian education system, according to a 2006 report by the ABC News Corporation, American students were dropping out of high school at a rate of 2,500 per day. A later report by the New York Times, estimated that 1.2 million American students had dropped out of high school in 2010. While we may not know the exact number in The Bahamas, we do know that both government and private organizations engaging in work with marginalized youth are being overwhelmed by the numbers of citizens requiring services as a result of dropping out of school. We can deduce, if only anecdotally, that we have a similar school drop-out issue in The Bahamas.
The reasons students drop-out of school can be multifaceted and complex. Sometimes though, the reasons are rather simple. According to the National Drop Out Prevention Centre at Clemson University, the top four reasons students drop out of school were -- they did not like school, they were failing and didn't feel able to catch up, they did not like their teachers, and they felt that they did not belong at school.
Other published research points to identical factors in jurisdictions outside of the United States and highlights that dropping out of school is more of a process than an event. That is, students experience feelings of inadequacy over time. When looked at together, what becomes clear is that schools have a lot of control over maximizing and or minimizing opportunities for student success and graduation rates. To state it in a more challenging way, schools have to decide whether their modus operandi create or eliminate barriers.
Unlike poverty, unstable home environments, drugs, violence, abuse and other insidious factors that can also play a role in students' decisions to leave school, the leading factors as mentioned above are within the realm of schools to address. This in no way underestimates the importance of positive parental involvement and community support. It is understood that in the best circumstances, students and schools would have a broad support base of parents and social partners. However, the absence of these supports does not have to be a fatal barrier for student and school success. In the absence of home and community support, schools must put their shoulders to the plough and bear the responsibility of securing the future of the society. Schools are best positioned to do so. Few other institutions have access to students in the same numbers or for the same length of time. Few other institutions can have the kind of impact schools can have on deciding the direction and influencing the degree of success enjoyed by a country. Key to success in this area is being bold enough to accept the full depth of the responsibility.
Of course, when dynamics such as presented above are at play, policy makers have to dig deep to ensure that schools are fully supported, both in terms of legislation, and human and financial resources. It is fully recognized that financial resources are in short supply all over the world, and so emphasis must always be placed on developing and supporting robust human resources, ensuring that the best people are in positions of power, and that professional development holds a privileged position in the organization. Indeed, in the end, it will be the people who get the job done.
So, what are the most important lessons here?
1. The old saying still rings true, even with the best educational programs, the most futuristic curricula, and facilities with all the bells and whistles, students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Education is doomed to failure if anything/anyone other than students gives it purpose and motivation.
2. The most successful school systems around the world create trends rather than follow them. Industries adapt to the innovations of schools rather than schools adapting to industry, and successful school systems have a no-excuses approach to student success, embracing the mantra as was done in Ontario, that schools control the conditions for success. If schools are to be more successful, they will need to embrace the full responsibility of motivating the country and giving themselves permission to take the leadership role and set the trends of tomorrow.
3. Barriers to student success can be obvious external impediments such as drugs and poverty, but even more often, they are the intangible attitudes and feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness held by students, that cost nothing more than a positive, attentive, and caring teacher to address.
This is our full responsibility.
Makia Gibson is a passionate educator, working to improve education for all Bahamians! More at www.yestoeducation.com
The Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) is accepting entries for its annual Essay and Speech Competition, hosted as part of the National Career Awareness Month.
The 2011 event is being co-sponsored by Bahamas Business Solutions (BBSL), Rotary Club of Nassau Sunrise and KPMG.
Participating students from Grades 10-12 will have a choice of two topics: (1) Bahamas tax system reform; and (2) Was there a silver lining in the global economic recession? They can also choose either one or both of the competitions.
Participating schools use an internal process to select winners (one each) in the essay and speech competitions, to be judged by an Industry Panel that selects the overall winners.
"Look around. Think about what you see. Give thanks."
A month ago, we paid tribute to Fr. Bonaventure Dean who died in Canada on May 16, after a protracted battle with prostate cancer. That column covered his life in The Bahamas, focusing primarily on his career which spanned the period beginning with his ordination as a Roman Catholic priest in 1963 up to the time that he left St. Augustine's College and Monastery, the priesthood and The Bahamas in the summer of 1971. During his brief, but meteoric career in The Bahamas, he rapidly rose from history teacher to Dean of Discipline at St. Augustine's College, finally becoming, from 1967 to 1971, the first Bahamian to simultaneously hold the positions of Headmaster and Prior of St. Augustine's College and Monastery, respectively.
Therefore this week, we would like to Consider This... what became of Fr. Bonaventure Dean, in the four decades after leaving The Bahamas in 1971 until his death, during which period he reclaimed the name given to him at birth: John Dean?
Perhaps the most immediate question that many persons familiar with that tumultuous era would want to know is why did he leave? His dazzling spectacular rise at St. Augustine's was legendary. At the exceptionally tender ecclesiastical and secular age of 31, he had become the leader of the Monastery and the College and also during that period he served as the President of the Bahamas Christian Council. Without a doubt, he was on a rapid trajectory that probably would have catapulted him to become the first Bahamian Catholic bishop had he remained, potentially accelerating that historic moment by three decades from its actual realization. So why did he leave?
The most succinct answer can be found in the words of John Dean himself, who in a Canadian publication in 1977 asserted that: "We have the tools to live in the way that [humans] can live most richly and in the way that may well become inevitable--i.e. communally, where the individual has privacy and at the same time he shares with his friends so much of life which is meant to be shared. I did not find this in religious life. I realized in 1968 when all the Benedictine abbots met in Rome that the answer was not there. That is why I am here [in Canada]."
John Dean's decision to leave Holy Orders was not an easy one. In fact, everyone with whom this writer has spoken about Dean's decision to leave his religious vocation has characterized that decision as a profoundly and excruciatingly painful one, particularly in light of the changes that were in train during the latter years of the tumultuous 1960s. In short, it appears that Father Bonaventure felt irretrievably and inescapably trapped "between the ocean and the deep blue sea" -- torn on the one hand, believing that the hoped for changes in the Catholic Church would not happen soon and, on the other hand, fearing at the same time that leaving the priesthood, particularly after attaining such an historic and lofty position, could be interpreted as incompetence and failure of another black man, yet again. But as we all know, he did leave and began another, very different chapter of an already eventful life.
John Dean's love of community and living in a community of like-minded souls prompted him to move to Therafields, one of the largest psychoanalytic communes of the 1970s in North America. Therafields, which was located outside Toronto, was a ground-breaking community of lay therapists. Interestingly, almost half of them had also belonged to the Order of St. Benedict and had left the religious life to found a radically new form of communal life. The commune involved individual and group therapy, endeavoring to empower people to explore their lives deeply and sincerely. To live at Therafields, individuals were required to commit to living together honestly and to struggle with the challenging realities of complex human interactions. Therafields seemed to so naturally match the ideal type of communal life John had been envisioning and searching for at the time.
At one point there were over 800 people involved in Therafields. It was an amazing experiment in communal living, organic farming and psychotherapy. John Dean and Ann Cowper Green, a former English teacher and librarian at St. Augustine's College, were married after leaving The Bahamas and settled at Therafields. In 1977, John's and Ann's daughter, Jerusa Lea, was born.
While he was at Therafields, John was hired as the manager of Therafields Farm, which was comprised of 400 acres and included five houses and a renovated barn complex that included dormitories for weekend guests, a large kitchen and dining-room, a loft with a stage, a construction workshop and John's office. During the time that John and Ann lived on the farm, Therafields grew to include a school, a book store, an organic vegetable enterprise, and an arts centre. According to Ken Plotnik, a former schoolmate of John at Saint John's University who had also become a priest, left the priesthood, married and lived at Therafields while John and Ann were there, Therafields "was a vibrant place that attracted young people who were learning to live emotionally, healthy and ecologically respectful, purposeful lives."
Eventually as people and events moved into the new era of the 1980s, which focused more on the more self-centered outlook of an individual's wants and needs and less on the idea of gaining self-fulfillment from working together, Therafields disbanded. In 1984, John and Ann divorced. Ann and Jerusa returned to The Bahamas, where Ann taught at The College of The Bahamas and Jerusa attended St. Andrew's School.
Shortly after leaving Therafields, John married Margaret Weiler. Margaret, a native of Thunder Bay, Canada, had worked in The Bahamas in 1971 for one year as a nun at St. Cecilia's Catholic School. In 1986, Margaret and John had a daughter, Katie Rose.
Also after leaving Therafields, John returned to teaching, this time in the Toronto Catholic School District, as he had done at St. Augustine's many years earlier. Thus began the third chapter of John Dean's life story, a chapter in which he resumed a familiar role -- Roman Catholic school principal. There he worked until his retirement in 2001. Following his retirement from the Catholic School system up to the time of his second bout with prostate cancer, which had first surfaced a decade earlier, John worked as a consultant in the Toronto Catholic School District.
So what conclusions can be derived from the life of the man we first knew as Fr. Bonaventure Dean and later simply as John Dean? Several characterizations are pervasive, regardless of who one talks to. He was a deeply spiritual individual of immense intellect, a life-long Catholic, warm, charming and charismatic, a consummate educator, one who sought through a philosophical and inquiring mind to honestly confront the conflicts in his life, and above all, one who strived to achieve his destiny.
There is more, much more, to this enigmatic person who walked this way and impacted so many lives. His ability to touch lives profoundly is a gift not often seen. His gargantuan intellectual thirst to understand the divine complexities of life, while living a simple and what could be characterized as an old-fashioned life, amongst his brothers and sisters and close to the soil, illustrate a fascinating dichotomy that is unique. His consciousness as a black Bahamian pushing the boundaries of a heretofore white world at a time when the struggles of the black Bahamian were matching those of other men and women of color the world over was also a distinctive part of his character. And his decision to walk away from a position of power and influence in his church and in his country also marks this man as one with an exceptional and extraordinary moral compass that bears much more examination so that future generations of Bahamians can learn from his example, as did so many of his students. The formative years in The Bahamas, as well as the forty-year sojourn in Canada that morphed Fr. Bonaventure once again into John Dean, from priest and educator to husband, father and educator, continue to be a fascinating story which needs to be and will be told in greater depth and detail -- sometime in the not-too-distant future.
As we remember Fr. Bonaventure of an earlier era or John Dean of the recent past in a Memorial Service and Memorial Mass at the Emmaus Centre and St. Anselm's in celebration of his life this Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, his family members, friends, students and acquaintances will take a moment as he admonished us more than forty years ago to "Look around. Think about what you see. Give thanks."
Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament.
Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out.-- Winston Churchill
As we rapidly approach this silly season, we have to begin to listen carefully to what our politicians say and, probably more importantly, what they don't say. Never was this more crucial than during the speech delivered by Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham at the Grand Bahama rally held Sunday evening before last when introducing his Grand Bahama candidates for the upcoming general election. Therefore this week we are going to Consider This...exactly what was said and what was left unsaid by the prime minister and what does it reveal about the impending campaign?
The rousing rhetoric, besides demonstrating that the prime minister is at his best at a rally, was clearly an attempt to once again frame the debate of the campaign, to dictate the direction of the discussion that will take place on the platforms of all the parties that are contesting the election. But, when you listened closely, you will be struck by how similar it was to what the Free National Movement (FNM) said during the 2007 election campaign. However, this time, it really seems to be a blatant example of the little boy crying wolf.
Once again, as there was five years ago, there is the outcry of "hands in the cookie jar", an accusation made without naming the owner of the hands, identifying the cookie jar or telling us what kind of cookies.
This time, as before, the FNM is trying to mask the vagueness of the allegations with the repetition of the claim. This time, as before, the FNM is making serious claims without a scintilla of credible corroboration. A serious and attentive listener must ask this time around why, if the FNM really had evidence that someone 'had their hands in the cookie jar', and those claims were also made five years ago, haven't they by now as any good citizen should, taken their 'evidence' to the proper authorities and demanded that the hands - and their owners - be dealt with by the law. Or are they just crying wolf? Are they making claims that can stir a crowd's passion, hoping that those claims would not be put to the test of logical thinking?
Another 'twice-told tale' that came from the prime minister on Sunday concerned how much was done by the FNM during the past five years and how little the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) did during its preceding term.
However, a closer examination of these claims and an objective and unbiased memory will show that many of its accomplishments had their roots firmly secured in Bahamian soil by the PLP.
A further memory examination will demonstrate that some of these claims of success were in fact projects that had been much criticized by the FNM when it was in opposition.
The things that were unsaid in the prime minister's speech were far more worrying. While we all heard what the FNM believes to be its accomplishments during these past five years, we have not been offered one iota of its future plans for the nation or its citizens.
The FNM dredged the harbor, but that is a one-time task. The FNM moved the port to Arawak Cay, but, thanks to its sweetheart deal with the owners of the port, there can be no other ports anywhere in New Providence for 20 years.
The FNM has built roads and roads and roads, but how many more roads can be built as we are all inconvenienced by this vast network that is being hastened to completion just in time for election?
So what is the FNM planning to do for us, for the country and to better our future if it is re-elected? The omission of outlining any serious innovations and initiatives for the next five years was ominous to say the least. It begs the question: What exactly does the FNM have planned for its next term that it doesn't want to reveal to the voters until it's too late? Is it perhaps going to be time to pay the piper his $4.2 billion?
The unsaid plans of the FNM can be compared to the other parties that are seriously talking about changing our course and improving our institutions while the FNM is not offering any credible suggestions about what it plans to do if given the mandate for another term in office.
We also listened to the prime minister's comments to the press as he prepared to leave for Freeport to unveil yet another one of his government's edifices - the laudable improvements at the Rand hospital in Freeport. On that occasion, the prime minister asserted that "there is a disconnect between the leader of the opposition's mouth and his brain."
Hopefully this does not portend the FNM's tone for the upcoming elections. Such assertions can only be an attempt to 'dumb down' the quality of the public discourse that will characterize the upcoming campaign. The fact is that Bahamians diligently desire and should demand an intelligent discussion and debate of the very serious issues that face us now and in the years ahead and how the FNM proposes to deal with such important issues.
The prime minister could have taken advantage of the opportunity to foreshadow what improvements he has planned to revitalize the comatose Grand Bahama economy. But nary a word!
In the upcoming political conflict it is imperative, and the discerning electorate should demand, that concrete, practical proposals should be proffered by those who are seeking their votes. The time for divisive, destructive diatribes is decidedly dated and candidates seeking our support must understand that the tone and tenor of the debate should be elevated so that members of the electorate are educated in order to make intelligent choices when casting their votes.
As Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky said, "Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid."
Therefore we need to acknowledge that we are at a critical crossroads in the country and that the time has come for us to carefully and closely listen to what is said and unsaid by those who are seeking our support. It is time for us to demand substance in our candidates and in their rhetoric.
To offer us anything less insults our intelligence and even the most rabidly partisan supporter of any political party must agree that anyone doing so is unquestionably undeserving of our support.
Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to email@example.com.