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News Article
The Bahamian fiscal cliff

Dear Editor,It is my sincere hope thatmost Bahamians, if not all,will enjoy the upcomingChristmas season and willfind time for recreation,prayerful sessions and qualitytime with family and friends.We have much to be thankfulfor despite the personal andcollective challenges.After the festivities are concludedand all of the hamsand turkeys eaten, the nationwill have to confront some seriousfinancial and fiscal issuesin January 2013. Playingpossum and seeking to buryone's head in the sand like thefabled Ostrich will not cut it.Successive governments,headed by prime ministerswho are lawyers by professionand who would have served asministers of finance, aidedand abetted by ministers ofstate for finance, who know orknew nothing about big business,have led us to our ownlooming fiscal cliff.Sir Lynden, God bless hissoul, was the most successful,visionary and pragmatic ministerof finance this countryhas seen to date. Say what youmay about Sir Lynden but healmost single-handedly createdall of our national organizationssuch as: the NationalInsurance Board; the Royal BahamasDefence Force, the firstgovernment subdivision, etc.At least if he spent the moneyone is able to actually seewhat he spent it on. Contrastthe other two prime ministers,also lawyers. Hubert Ingraham,a good Bahamian,may have meant well I amsure during his various termsin office. The question whichbegs an answer however is:Did we get value for the massiveamounts of money hewould have spent on our behalf?The purchase of the socalledBlake Road buildingwas a boondoggle and onewhich I submit was done as a"favor" for the boys. It shouldnever have been purchasedwith NIB funds, as it was nevera viable building. Millionshave been poured into thepurchase and never-endingrenovations to the extent, allegedly,in excess of $25 million.Successive governments"stopped, canceled and reawarded"the renovation contractsto their alleged politicalassociates and that buildingstill appears to be in its originalstate.Governmental operationsand ministries are housed inleased and rented propertiesat great expense, allegedly, tothe public purse. For instance,the Immigration Departmenthas been in rentedpremises at Hawkins Hill forgenerations.No one that I know of in thepublic domain knows exactlyhow much is being paid inrent and certainly not theterms and conditions or eventhe lifespan of the rental contract.The old City Meat MarketBuilding on Market Streetwas purchased to be used, allegedly,as the site for The RegistrarGeneral's Department.A renovation contract wasgranted and the building wasduly gutted. Nothing hasbeen done from then to nowand the forlorn building remainsa stark reminder of thewaste of public funds. Yet anothergovernment-ownedbuilding is located on John F.Kennedy Drive to the immediatewest of the Ministry ofWorks compound.Constructed to the tune oftens of millions of dollars andlit up to the highest everynight, it is under-occupiedand under-utilized. Yet, majorministries, inclusive of ourcourts, remain in leased,cramped and totally inadequatequarters.The Ministry of Tourism ison George Street downtownwhere staffers are obliged towork in an outdated environment.Potential foreign andlocal investors who are desirousof meeting with theminister of tourism and hissenior officials would not beimpressed with the ambience.The ongoing roadwork herein New Providence is the singlelargest cause for the massivefiscal deficits we are saddledwith. That this work hadto be carried out cannot be deniedbut the cost overruns tothe tune of $100 million areunbelievable. In too manycases, remedial work will haveto be done costing tens of millionsof dollars in the near future.The civil service is top heavyand there are too many individualsdeployed in ministriesand departments doing absolutelynothing of value. Arationalization must be doneand done soon. It has been estimatedthat 50 percent of theannual national budget goesto salaries, pensions and gratuities.Another 40 percent isrequired to actually run thegovernment leaving less than20 percent for infrastructureand other much needed societaland cultural works.Yes, dear friends, countrymen/women and enemies weare between a rock and a veryhard place due to the fiscalmismanagement of all of ourgovernments to date. It is nouse now, of course, engagingin a blame game as the Androsianbuzzards have alreadycome home to roost. It iswhat it is.The gold rush administrationmust reach out to allstakeholders regardless of politicalpersuasion and certainly,regardless of age. Early inthe new year the prime ministerand his economic teamshould convene a secludedconclave with business professionals,accountants, lawyersand the media to hash out viablesolutions to our own fiscalcliff. There can be no otherway.Failure is not an option andwe are in this slow boat overthe cliff together. If it succeedsin averting this loomingdisaster, the gold rush administrationand Perry GladstoneChristie (PLP-Centreville)could go down in our historyas the government that madea difference. In conclusion,then, I wish all a Merry Christmasand a prosperous NewYear. Despite it all, I submitthat our best days are yetahead of us.To God also, in all things, bethe glory.- Ortland H. Bodie Jr.

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News Article
Is there political ideology or philosophy in Bahamian politics

We now know almost all the election candidates of the three parties with representation in the House of Assembly.  The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and Free National Movement (FNM) have selected all the men and women who will run under their respective banners.  The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) has a few more to chose.
What is interesting is that each of the parties have a few candidates who have run for, or been supporters of, other parties.  There are some interesting examples.
For the PLP, Dr. Andre Rollins was a candidate in 2010 at the Elizabeth by-election for the National Development Party, and Dr. Bernard Nottage (the current Bain and Grants Town MP) led the Coalition for Democratic Reform against the PLP in the 2002 general election.
For the FNM, Cassius Stuart was the leader of the Bahamas Democratic Movement.  His colleagues on the FNM ticket Kenyatta Gibson, Edison Key and Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham are all former PLP MPs.
Dr. Madlene Sawyer, the DNA candidate for Southern Shores, was a former head of the PLP women's branch.  Her DNA colleague Wallace Rolle ran for the PLP in the 2007 general election.  The DNA candidate for Bains Town and Grants Town, Rodney Moncur, was the leader of the obscure Worker's Party before joining the DNA.  And Branville McCartney, the party's leader, was a former FNM MP and Cabinet minister.
These are just a few prominent examples of the flow of people in Bahamian politics.  There are other candidates in the major parties who have been strong supporters of organizations opposed to the groups they are currently with.
What does it all mean?  Well, some would say nothing, as politicians in countries around the world change party affiliation all the time.  But, it could also be argued that the flow of people from party to party, running under any banner, exists here because there is little to no philosophical difference between the organizations.
In fact, it would be hard to use any traditional economic or political philosophy to describe any of the Bahamian political parties.  Could you describe the PLP, DNA or FNM as left or right wing, conservative or liberal?  No, you could not.
For example, in the 2012 Republican presidential race in the United States candidate Ron Paul is a libertarian.  Paul has a very different view of the world from 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, who is a social democrat.  Libertarians are suspicious of the state and argue for small government and low rates of taxation.  Social democrats think the state and taxation should be used to advance social justice.
It is important to know the political philosophy of parties and their leaders.  When parties and leaders have strong beliefs, they bring forward policies that change the lives of people in distinct ways.  A libertarian would essentially eliminate welfare.  They do not think the wealth of individuals should be taken away by the state to be given to others with less wealth.
Social democrats always want more taxation to advance some Utopian social program to 'help' people.  The business climate changes significantly when one of these politicians is elected, as opposed to the other.
Is Hubert Ingraham a conservative?  Is Perry Christie a liberal?  Is Branville McCartney a centrist?  Who knows?  Lately, our elections have been run on management style.  Essentially, this is the essence of the debate: "I am a better man than you.  Vote for me."
A cynic could argue that it is difficult to pin down the political philosophy of our parties and politicians because they have none.  Instead, they simply seek power to dispense the authority and wealth of the state.  The voters then choose the person they think most able, and that's that.  The better manager manages things in a better ad hoc manner not under any recognizable system of ideals.
If this type of politics is good enough for the people, it will continue.  For something else to evolve, the people would have to demand more of the process and the people involved.

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News Article
Ed Armbrister has lofty 'teaching' goal

Ed Armbrister observed some of the eight-nine year-olds on the field at Windsor Park recently and firmly nodded his head. His plan to teach fundamentals of the game, particularly, to the youthful players in the Ed Armbrister Baseball League, is solidly entrenched.
"This is where we have to go. We have to make sure that the young baseball players we can reach through our program, learn and understand the fundamentals of the game. There are so many parts of this game that must become second nature. When the situation presents itself you should automatically respond in a certain way.
"I look at the players running the bases. I look at fielders not making sure they get out of the way of batters when the ball is not coming to them. The youngsters don't have the proper balance at the plate. I am very pleased with where we have gone in just the short time since we opened and I am even more encouraged to meet the challenge of making sure the players really learn the game," said Armbrister.
His philosophy is to imbue the basic skill sets into the players. It's a long-range concept Armbrister has in mind.
When he was getting into the game as a young lad in the Nassau Street area Sherwin 'Sea Egg' Taylor and others preached the fundamentals to the younger set. When Armbrister got into the Houston Astros system as a young Minor League player, he understood the game. What he didn't quite have clarity about, there were the quality professionals around to further educate him.
Presently, the Bahamas Baseball Federation (BBF) through its member organizations has a vibrant teaching program which prepares their young players for scholarship opportunities. There was a time when a certain political party used Windsor Park as the prime location for getting its message over to the general public during mass meetings.
They called Windsor Park the University of Wulff Road.
Well, Armbrister hopes that his forum will be the kind of appropriate learning foundation that will springboard young inner city boys into U.S. colleges and universities and ultimately professional baseball.
"There is much work to do. I am up to the challenge. This is what I have wanted to do for a very long time," Armbrister said.
The action at Windsor brings a special excitement. To see the fabled venue come alive with baseball is a thrill. There is indeed a long way to go. The desire is for the EABL brand to evolve into a sustained part of the national baseball development process. The EABL is on the right course.
Congratulations are due the Junior Baseball League of Nassau (JBLN). The JBLN has embraced the EABL in a big way. Two teams are a part of the mix, supported by parents and guardians. It's a very special dimension at Windsor Park.
It's a clear indication of some within the country's baseball family recognizing that togetherness makes a difference.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at frobertsturrup@gmail.com)

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News Article
Considering the alternative

Undeniably the most discussed and debated topic during the past months has been gambling. Unfortunately, it would seem to be polarizing the nation. Arguments have been made for and against the legalization of numbers houses and also a national lottery. As such I weigh in on the debate by sharing this article, calling all citizens and residents to consider alternatives. Therefore, it is hoped that this article will help to elevate the discussions beyond just the yes/no debate.
Adventists' view of gambling
The Seventh-day Adventist Church stands opposed to all forms of gambling, inclusive of raffles and lotteries to raise funds for charitable organizations. It views gambling as a paid game of chance - winning at the expense of others, not comporting or lining up with Christian values and principles. For example, consider the principle of love for neighbor. How can one who loves his brother feel good in winning knowing that it is at the expense of his brother? Additionally, stories of how addiction to gambling has negatively affected and continues to affect families and societies that exist all around; therefore we cannot turn a blind eye. Accordingly, the following questions are most appropriate: What is the alternative? What can one do to raise money in place of gambling?
Consider some alternatives
As The Bahamas marks its 40th year of independence, I am informed that nearly 40 years ago the late Carlton Francis appealed to his political colleagues to shun what I term the easy way out or short cuts in building a new independent nation. Said Carlton Francis, the then minister of development, "We are a small nation that can be easily permeated by any pernicious influence." He added, "I am saying that where we are aspiring to the disciplines of hard work and industry, we are not yet off the ground."
Also, I read with interest an interview with former Minister of Immigration Loftus Roker, as recorded in The Nassau Guardian, December 24, 2012. He recalled that when the PLP campaigned in '67, "it was against casino gambling". It was not until they won the government that some in the party felt that the closure of gambling casinos would have a negative effect on tourism; therefore casino gambling was allowed. Concluding from these and other records, it is clear that the subject of gambling in one form or another has been with us many years. Nevertheless, 40 to 45 years later where are we in discipline and industry as touted by Carlton Francis? In fact, Roker in his interview with The Guardian did not see the need for legalizing gambling some 44 years later. Therefore, whether the pending referendum on gambling receives a "no" or "yes" vote, the need for alternatives must not be ignored. Life continues and the nation needs to continue building.
Deliberate and intentional ways must be sought to further empower our people regardless of color, politics, gender or where they were born if the nation is to truly develop maturely. People need to be taught how to survive -- not to be dependent on government. It would seem to me that with the pooling of ideas through discussions and town meetings, and even the talk shows, ideas can be gotten that will serve to inspire and motivate our people as well as result in strategies that can impact the economy positively. Consider the example and by extension the principle of 2006 Nobel Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus. Muhammad pioneered what is referred to as microcredit. Using loans of tiny amounts, he sought to transform destitute women into entrepreneurs thus creating economic and social development from below.
It was the first time the committee for the Nobel Prize was awarded to a profit-making business. It was because "the selection seemed to embody two connected ideas that are gaining ground among development experts: That attacking poverty is essential to peace, and that private enterprise is essential to attacking poverty."
Dr. Yunus, founded the bank in his native Bangladesh to lend small amounts of cash -- often as little as $20 -- to local people, almost always women, who could use it to found or sustain a small business by, say, buying a cow to sell milk or a simple sewing machine to make clothing.
It was observed that the traditional banks considered such people too risky to lend to, and the amounts they needed too small to bother with. However, Dr. Yunus thought otherwise. He reasoned that, "the poor could be as creditworthy as the rich, if the rules of lending were tailored to their circumstances and were founded on principles of trust rather than financial capacity." Additionally, he found out that "they could achieve lasting improvements to their living standards with a little bit of capital." Isn't that amazing? Drawing on this principle, could we not take some examples from the Grameen Bank? Though Bangladesh may be different from The Bahamas in some ways, isn't there a definite need to continue the fight of the early fathers of this country in empowering people as opposed to making them dependent on others?
So, rather than setting up numbers houses in close proximity to each other, creating a sense of false hope and not lifting the values and morale of our people, let's seek ways to empower them. There must be local Muhammads existing throughout the country. Let's harness, process and implement some of the doable ideas resulting from our think tanks, radio talk shows and town meetings. Even the ideas of those Bahamians outside the country as well as the non-formally educated ones must not be ignored; for God does not discriminate in blessing people. To me, this is better than hoping for a certain number to fall, or hoping to win a lottery. Yes, some will win, but too many will lose. I must also mention the likely vices that could result from gambling, especially when one loses. Our people must be innovative and not just follow-along consumers.
The church is to play a role
While the church has received much criticism, it is to play its role. Using the Bible as its guide, it realizes that according to Genesis 1-2 man was made in the likeness of God and endowed with much potential and usefulness. Accordingly, the church seeks to get the message across to all mankind explaining that God has a purpose for one's life. He/she was designed for more than waiting and just hoping for something to happen. God wants all to recognize what He has already placed in man to help him realize his design for greatness.
At the same time, employing the example of God, the church recognizes that God gave man a choice; and as dangerous as that ability is, God empowered human beings with it. There was that risk that man would choose to go contrary, but God still gave the choice. However, the church observes that the gift of choice does not mean that the church shirks its responsibility of teaching and informing mankind of consequences of decision-making. In fact, it is more incumbent on the church to instruct and inform but never to force one against his will. Therefore the Seventh-day Adventist Church will not argue against one's right of choosing, but seek aggressively to inform and instruct in the ways of God. We have been doing this prior to the announcement of the referendum, and even after it, we will continue. However, as this article is about alternatives, I turn to a biblical example in summing up.
Recall the Joseph principle
The world of Joseph, as recorded in Genesis 41, was headed for the worst recession to be brought on by a seven-year famine. Nevertheless, God in His own way chose to communicate in a dream, a plan to a heathen king -- one who did not worship Him. However, He would give the ability to interpret that dream to a young Hebrew prisoner in Egypt named Joseph. I noted that the plan He gave Pharaoh through Joseph was a simple but powerful life-saving one. It required planning and discipline. Pharaoh was encouraged to collect 20 percent of all the produce during the seven years of plenty in order to prepare for the seven years of famine. The rest of the story reveals that people from everywhere came to Egypt for sustenance during the lean years. Now think about how many would have died had God not provided the plan! Fast forward from then to our time. Is there no God? Doesn't the same God exist in The Bahamas today? I declare that He does. He wants His children to recognize that which He placed within each of us. Says the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7, "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all." Were it not for this hope being revealed to me some 35 years ago, I would be hopeless and lacking in my interest and concern for others. There are alternatives; and they will be found when we seek God. Also, this example teaches us the value of saving for the lean years. The country during its prosperous years must learn to put aside for its not-so-prosperous ones. It is simple but calls for discipline!

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News Article
The Success Of Urban Renewal 2.0

Dear Editor, It is my humble submission that Urban Renewal 2.0, despite the occasional hiccup, is working and is succeeding within the inner city areas of New Providence. Some of the detractors and others who may subscribe to a politically different view than PLPs are quick to condemn and criticize the value and benefits of the same.

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News Article
Unions make push for legal gambling

The National Congress of Trade Unions of The Bahamas (NCTUB) has recommended to the Constitutional Commission that Bahamians have the right to participate in any form of gaming in the country.

"The constitution should be so amended to reflect that all Bahamians should have the right if they so choose to participate in any form of gaming within The Bahamas and any law that discriminates against any Bahamian and restricts such rights should be voided," NCTUB President Jennifer Isaacs-Dotson said.
Isaacs-Dotson presented the recommendation during a meeting of the Constitutional Commission at the British Colonial Hilton hotel yesterday.
Trade Union Congress (TUC) President Obie Ferguson, who also made recommendations yesterday, said he supported Isaacs-Dotson's proposals.
Prime Minister Perry Christie previously told The Nassau Guardian that the question of casino gambling

would be a part of the constitutional referendum promised by the government for later this year if the Constitutional Commission recommends that it be addressed as part of broader constitutional reforms.

The gambling referendum is set for January 28, but the casino question is not on that ballot.

Many Bahamians, including former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, have said the question of whether Bahamians be allowed to gamble in casinos in The Bahamas should also be included.

"The Government of The Bahamas when it appointed the Constitutional Commission knew that the Constitutional Commission had within its remit the question of looking at the constitution, listening to people and taking all of the issues that will be put before the people in a constitutional referendum," Christie previously told The Nassau Guardian.
"And so, we did not want to mix up the two, and so in the general election campaign we put into our platform, which we called the Charter for Governance, that we will deal with this issue of web shop gambling and lotteries and that's where we are.
"And so, I expect the other issue (the casino issue) to come about under (Sean) McWeeney's commission. McWeeney and Carl Bethel (the opposition's representative) and others are on that.
"And then we will take a look at that (the casino issue) as to whether that will be a question on the referendum that will follow. They have until the end of March to report, so it's not long."
Isaacs-Dotson appeared before the commission during its latest round of consultations, which involves discussions with the leaders of the country's major political parties, leaders of civic groups and other organizations in the country.
She also recommended that the constitution be amended to eliminate discrimination against women; to provide for the ability for constituents to recall their member of Parliament, and a fixed election date, among other recommendations.
The commission is expected to present its recommendations on or before March 31, 2013. Former Chief Justice Sir Burton Hall also made recommendations yesterday.

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News Article
The fiscal reform series: Political music chairs

The game of musical chairs has been around for quite some time and is often played at functions to the delight of both participants and spectators. The game begins with a number of players and a number of chairs which is one less than the number of players. Music is played and while the music is on the participants walk or dance around the chairs. However, when the music is stopped, the players must race to find a chair to sit on and the individual without a chair is eliminated. The game continues until the chairs are reduced to one and last man or woman sitting when the number of chairs is reduced to one wins the game.
The vital topic of fiscal reform over the years can be likened to the game of musical chairs. The metaphoric reference to this game is an interesting one albeit the only difference is that the last man or woman standing in this instance has been left to address this matter and must face the music. In essence, fiscal reform had become a game of political music chairs but now the music has stopped and chickens have come home to roost.
The participants over the years
The public discourse on the issue of fiscal and tax reform has rightly highlighted the fact that successive administrations have contributed to the current state of our financial affairs. The main players of the fiscal reform political music chairs have been the administrations of both the Progressive Liberal Party and Free National Movement. However, it would be disingenuous not to state that the levels of prudence and/or extravagance exerted by each administration have differed.
The fact that the percentage of our revenue obtained from taxes is one of the lowest in the world suggests that we have not sought to keep up to date with global trends and the changing landscape of our country. Additionally, the reality that we have depended heavily on custom duties and import taxes for so long shows our level of planning in a world of globalization and free trade.
The Band-Aid approach
The lack of courage to make the difficult decisions on fiscal reform over the years led successive administrations to use quick fixes to plug holes in our finances. Hence, the government adjusted tariff rates year after year in attempts to raise sufficient revenue to cover its expenditures. Additionally, some fees were increased sometimes to the detriment of businesses and private individuals in order to minimize recurrent deficits.
It is apparent that the plan of the current administration to curb spending, improve revenue administration, implement a more progressive form of taxation and spur economic growth should have been implemented several years ago. Had such a plan been developed when it ought to have been done, we would have had the luxury of phasing in our fiscal reform plan without our backs up against the wall. We chose to cover fractures with Band-Aids knowing full well that casts were required to fix the structural fiscal problems of The Bahamas.
The delight of the spectators
It is important that the private sector and we the Bahamian people take responsibility for our role as spectators in this game of political music chairs. The danger of political tribalism could not be better shown than in this instance as we failed to adequately hold successive administrations accountable for the management of our financial affairs. While the music played, we were entertained as we demanded more from the government on the expenditure side without considering the consequences of spending more than we earned.
On the part of the private sector, it is encouraging to see the current level of engagement on the proposed implementation of value-added tax (VAT) in The Bahamas. However, this also begs the question as to where the leaders of industry have been hitherto. Unfortunately, the discussion is being held at a time when the country is at a crossroad; at a period of desperation for our commonwealth. While the tax concessions were being given, tariff rates were being reduced and we amassed considerable debt, it seems that we were comfortable as long as there was no direct threat to our profitability or survival.
The hypocrisy of opposition parties over the years is even more profound due to the contradictions of positions taken. These positions were accompanied by complaints against and criticisms of the government of the day for not doing enough (which requires spending more or giving up more revenue in concessions or tax breaks), overspending and not having a comprehensive national economic plan. Sadly, upon assumption or regaining political power, the former opposition parties chose to maintain the status quo. It is therefore mind-boggling to see that we are only just considering fiscal reform in 2014.
The stoppage of the music
There is no doubt that the music has now been stopped and the current administration has been left holding the proverbial bag. Unlike the traditional game of music chairs, the government of the day in winning the competition and being elected is constrained to confront the important issue of fiscal reform under the watchful and prying eyes of international rating agencies and multilateral organizations.
This is indeed quite a time to be the government and a convenient period to be the opposition party. Long overdue discussions are being held and recommendations are now being made while the clock is ticking. We must face the fact that the downgrade of our sovereign rating and potential devaluation of our currency in future is imminent if we do not act now. We must remain cognizant that we do not have the luxury of time and the urgency of now demands calculated action in the short term.
Conclusion
There must be full acknowledgment by our political leaders across the various political parties that they have all failed over the years to put country first on the issue of fiscal reform by the reluctance to make the tough but right decisions on this issue of national importance. The rationale for their inactions may not be fully known but it is clear that political self-preservation was a major contributor. The fear of repercussions at the polls appears to have crippled successive administrations in this regard.
Once they admit this failure, it is incumbent upon them to now work together to address this matter.

It is unhelpful and counterproductive to simply disagree without offering realistic alternatives. In the midst of this debate, we must also not forget that tax reform is not unconnected to the globalization effort and the move toward trade liberalization with our accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Hence, commentators must consider the bigger picture and resist a myopic view to simply avoid VAT.
In the final analysis, it would seem that the game of political music chairs is a permanent fixture of our politics, and Bahamian politicians have mastered the art of finger-pointing. Regrettably, this game is played out on every issue of national importance in our nation. However, as is often said, when you point a finger at someone, the majority of the other fingers are pointing at you. The only saving grace for the individual pointing the finger is that when the music stopped, he/she was only watching as a spectator even though he/she had his/her day at the reins of power.
o Arinthia S. Komolafe is an attorney-at-law. Comments on this article can be directed to a.s.komolafe510@gmail.com.

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News Article
Make money while saving your soul

With many Bahamians continuing to worry about the global economic crisis, robust and transparent decision making has become critical, given the potential loss of trust in the capitalist economic system. This is even more pronounced among the unemployed and those suffering financial hardships.
"The Dharma of Capitalism" is a plea for ethical behavior in business and challenges the 1980s-style ethos that "greed is good". Nitesh Gor argues that "doing the right thing" is more than a noble idea and can be both practical and profitable. This is based upon his experience and findings in developing the Dow Jones Dharma index, a global stock market index benchmarking companies that meet high standards of ethical behavior.
The author suggests we should look to blend the best from East and Western styles of business as outlined in the "The Dharma of Capitalism". Here Gor presents a model of righteousness, correct action, behaviors codes and ethics to redefine business practice. This is underpinned by the three Modes of Dharma, providing tangible guidelines for making good decisions and includes:
1. Mode of Goodness.
2. Mode of Passion.
3. Mode of Ignorance.
Gor is concerned about the failure of western businesses to take a long-term view and asks what have we learned from the collapse of Wall Street institutions like Lehman Brothers, the failure of the AOL Time Warner merger and questionable ethical standards within the banking industry. He claims that capitalism has been discredited and business and political leaders must attempt to win back the "soul of capitalism" by good works and ethical behavior.
"The Dharma of Capitalism" builds on the idea that corporations can simultaneously create value and social justice. Gor suggests that there is a higher purpose to business than simply profit, and believes that it is time for organizations to change by adopting the Dharma. He adds that by using its three Modes, widespread benefits can be realized including a happier and more committed workforce, greater profits, reduced staff turnover and improved communication.
Although I doubt the "The Dharma of Capitalism" provides the answer to world peace, economic abundance or will appeal to committed capitalists who see their key goal as maximizing shareholder dividend, it does provide an alternative way forward at a time when many would argue that capitalism needs to change and evolve.

The Dharma of Capitalism by Nitesh Gor
Published by Kogan Page and available from www.Amazon.com

With many Bahamians continuing to worry about the global economic crisis, robust and transparent decision making has become critical, given the potential loss of trust in the capitalist economic system. This is even more pronounced among the unemployed and those suffering financial hardships.
"The Dharma of Capitalism" is a plea for ethical behavior in business and challenges the 1980s-style ethos that "greed is good". Nitesh Gor argues that "doing the right thing" is more than a noble idea and can be both practical and profitable. This is based upon his experience and findings in developing the Dow Jones Dharma index, a global stock market index benchmarking companies that meet high standards of ethical behavior.
The author suggests we should look to blend the best from East and Western styles of business as outlined in the "The Dharma of Capitalism". Here Gor presents a model of righteousness, correct action, behaviors codes and ethics to redefine business practice. This is underpinned by the three Modes of Dharma, providing tangible guidelines for making good decisions and includes:
1. Mode of Goodness.
2. Mode of Passion.
3. Mode of Ignorance.
Gor is concerned about the failure of western businesses to take a long-term view and asks what have we learned from the collapse of Wall Street institutions like Lehman Brothers, the failure of the AOL Time Warner merger and questionable ethical standards within the banking industry. He claims that capitalism has been discredited and business and political leaders must attempt to win back the "soul of capitalism" by good works and ethical behavior.
"The Dharma of Capitalism" builds on the idea that corporations can simultaneously create value and social justice. Gor suggests that there is a higher purpose to business than simply profit, and believes that it is time for organizations to change by adopting the Dharma. He adds that by using its three Modes, widespread benefits can be realized including a happier and more committed workforce, greater profits, reduced staff turnover and improved communication.
Although I doubt the "The Dharma of Capitalism" provides the answer to world peace, economic abundance or will appeal to committed capitalists who see their key goal as maximizing shareholder dividend, it does provide an alternative way forward at a time when many would argue that capitalism needs to change and evolve.

The Dharma of Capitalism by Nitesh Gor
Published by Kogan Page and available from www.Amazon.com

Keith Appleton JP, BA (Hons), N.Dip.M, MInstLM has extensive experience within a managerial and strategic leadership role. His academic background and membership in the UK Institute of Leadership & Management underpins this and he can be contacted at KeithAppleton@Hotmail.co.uk.
n JP, BA (Hons), N.Dip.M, MInstLM has extensive experience within a managerial and strategic leadership role. His academic background and membership in the UK Institute of Leadership & Management underpins this and he can be contacted at KeithAppleton@Hotmail.co.uk.

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News Article
Interference in Bahamian politics by the Haitian president

Dear Editor,
 
This [past] week Bahamians witnessed what may well have been overt interference by the president of the Republic of Haiti, Michel Joseph Martelly, in the internal politics of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.  It has been reported that the president 'encouraged' his country men/women to vote 'as a bloc' for the Bahamian political party that had their 'best interests' at heart.
The recent 'rush' to regularize and to grant citizenship to foreign-born residents of this country by the FNM administration and its retiring minister of immigration has caused grave concerns among many indigenous Bahamians.  It is almost as if the prime minister and his colleagues could care less about the concerns of 'real' Bahamians over this bogus exercise.
Brent Symonette (FNM-St. Anne's) has an in-your-face attitude to many of the concerns of the unwashed masses.  His smug persona has not served him well during his soon to be concluded, mercifully, foray in frontline politics.
Martelly's alleged remarks are tantamount to direct interference in our political process and are to be condemned.  It is a disgrace, in my view, that the leader of the opposition would have actually met with the president just for a photo opportunity.  If I were Perry Christie, I would have delegated Frederick Audley Mitchell (PLP-Fox Hill) to receive him.
Are you able to imagine what would have happened if a Bahamian prime minister had gone down to the Republic of Haiti and made such alleged remarks about how Bahamians in Haiti should vote and support a political party, keeping in mind that not a single Bahamian would have been granted Haitian citizenship must less would be eligible to vote in Haitian elections.
Martelly, obviously, came to this country late at night on a private jet to work the local Haitian community on behalf of a certain political party in the few short weeks before The Bahamas goes in to its general election.  The recently 'pauperized' Bahamians have now received their marching orders.
While we need foreigners to assist us with nation building and in certain areas of our economic fabric, it is astounding to have witnessed the speed with which the FNM administration 'regularized' many of these people, mostly of Haitian descent, just before a general election is scheduled.  Why now?  This government has been in place for almost five years and did nothing, apart from a patently bogus exercise, years ago, to regularize them.
Indigenous Bahamians need to wake up and look around.  Look around within our educational plant and you will see that over 65 percent of the students in our primary schools are of Haitian descent. Look around at our medical health institutions and you will see that more than 50 percent of the patients who visit these institutions are of Haitian background.
Go over to the clinic at Marsh Harbor, Abaco and you will see that 70 percent of live births are to mothers of a Haitian origin.  Scattered throughout our militarized organizations are persons with Haitian surnames.  Where will this madness end and who will have the political will to stop it?
I have absolutely nothing against legal migration and the front door entry of any nationalities, inclusive of Haitians.  What I do have a serious problem with is the massive and seemingly unchecked migration of illegal nationalities with the complicity of Bahamians.
A few months ago, the leader of the opposition 'admitted' that it was not 'politically' expedient to appear to be targeting persons of Haitian descent, especially during electoral exercises.  Christie is a friend, sometimes, but he could not have been serious.
It is of little surprise that Martelly could have entered our nation, in the dark hours, and talked his shaving cream.  He may well be the president of the Republic of Haiti and the dependent territory of The Bahamas.
To God then, in all of these things, be the glory.
 
 
- Ortland H. Bodie Jr.

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News Article
Plantation politics in the Caribbean

Dr. Tennyson Joseph, of the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, recently wrote that it would make a very interesting study to discover why the same groups who were opposed to independence, as pro-British anti-nationalists, are today masquerading as the most die-hard small-island nationalists, opposed to integration.
He then poses two questions. These are: Could it be that the same factors which explained their earlier anti-nationalism also account for their present day anti-regionalism? Could it be that those groups are so comfortable in their continued existence as economic masters within small island fiefdoms that they dare not risk the shift of political power to a more self-determining regional institution over which they would have reduced influence?
This is a very perceptive analysis by Joseph, and Caribbean history provides a context for his questions. Our history shows how nearly every effort to advance the welfare of the Caribbean populace has been met with resistance by a particular group, with its ancestry and ideology based on plantation politics. And this is the reason, as I have argued in another article, that plantation politics remains the operating social and political system in the Caribbean today, although its features have changed.
George Beckford, an eminent Caribbean economist, states that plantation society represents an institutional structure coterminous with the state, the objective being to make the most money for the plantation owners, not to enhance the welfare of the workers. Patterns of land and labor use are enforced to keep workers at the poverty level, and education, health and social services are minimal. Dependency is upheld and this discourages progressive values, and offers few incentives and rewards. The question is then posed as to whether plantation society reflects an image of the way economic interests are organized in Caribbean society today.
Beckford further notes that, within the plantation community, relationships reflect the authority structure of the plantation, and in every aspect of life, a strong authoritarian tradition can be observed. Anyone with power over others exercises it in an exploitative and authoritarian manner, and this deprives people of their dignity, security, and self-respect. It also saps motivation so necessary for development.
This view of plantation society mirrors its politics, since the structure of any society or system is intertwined with and determined by its politics. The plantation, the society, and its institutions were one. Plantation owners owned the politics and the economy. They were the ones with the wealth, and this shaped governance, since property was the qualification for membership of the political class and the institutions that crafted political policies. Race, class, and color were also interconnected.
C.L.R. James states with reference to St. Domingue, where the owners were concerned, that the big whites were opposed to the French colonial state since it restricted their opportunities to make profits, while the small whites opposed the big whites who lorded over them, and to whom they owed debts. Both these groups opposed the mulattoes who had inherited land from their white parents, and were therefore wealthy. Small whites hated the mulattoes, because "whiteness" alone conveyed status, but the existence of wealthy mulattoes contradicted this position. Also, the mulattoes despised the free black population, and both these groups despised the slaves who returned the hostility.
This was the structure of plantation society and politics, and in significant aspects, it remains so in today's Caribbean. This is why the UWI political scientist posed the questions he did. Generations of the descendants of these very groups over time became the economic and political power structures of Caribbean society. Those with wealth funded both parties in each country so they would continue to dominate the plantation.
Although elements of the economy have changed somewhat, the basic structure and operations of Caribbean society remain in the plantation mode. Privileged groups opposed independence because they felt their power and influence would wither away, and now they oppose integration sentiments for the same purpose. Their descendants opposed the abolition of slavery, and any semblance of a wider democracy at various points in Caribbean history. They want to exist on their separate plantations, despite the contradictions around them.
These contradictions include faltering economies, less influence in the wider world, persistent poverty, and stubborn underdevelopment. Their representatives in the political corridors increase taxes on the lower socio-economic groups, periodically offer the descendants of slaves mild incentives to manage their mood, and stage periodic political contests to give the false impression that one or the other political outfit is working in their interest.
According to one study, the economy of one Caribbean country is owned by 21 families. Certain social programs in health and education are now not so widely available as before in many others, validating what Beckford said about these goods being minimally provided, based on the plantation way of doing things, while many big commercial enterprises enjoy increased profits.
Politics has become a game, with the players on each side having their wealthy patrons to ensure their vision of politics holds. Whichever political outfit wins, their patrons win as well. These patrons, and many politicians across the plantation region secure shares in the various investments made, often have reasonable tax rates, and others are co-opted in the ranks of the plantation owners. Those descendants of the plantation not blessed with high color, continue to exist at the bottom of the economic and political structure, and are courted every election, since their support is needed to keep the plantation operatives functional.
Political institutions therefore legalize the inherited functions of the plantation, with legislation to keep others in their designated place in the structure. Their aim is to also shape a conforming, passive personality. And, as Beckford says, anyone with power over others exercises it in a most authoritarian manner. In politics it is seen where the governing party, when disturbed by critiques of its policies, often threatens its opponents. The legal system is dangled about to instil fear in others about court action. Manipulation of constituencies is done to give a particular party an electoral advantage, and, in one recent case, there is a charge of treason against a high parliamentary official. So authoritarianism is alive and well.
Even in employment in the public or other sectors, managerial authoritarianism is practiced. Many employees face fear of dismissal, demotion, or having their character commented on, so that the perpetrators can gain an advantage. Hypertension is common in some organizations, as well as stress issues. There is constant unease, and anxiety, and an atmosphere of punishment constantly prevails. Just like on the plantation. In this situation productivity and motivation suffer.
There needs to be a reformation in the way we conduct Caribbean politics. And the structure, and policies of Caribbean organizations, and the thinking that underpins them need to be transformed. Authoritarian practices also should be dispensed with. Respect for each other needs to be encouraged, and Caribbean institutions need to aim at growth and development for their owners, and for those who collaborate to run and sustain them. These institutions, and the society, will then be able to make the fundamental transition from the plantation mode to an egalitarian, more civilized way of being, and conducting its affairs. The purpose of politics will then be really about serving the people, and not about politicians being in it for what they can get.

o Oliver Mills is a former lecturer in education at the University of the West Indies Mona Campus. He holds an M.Ed degree from Dalhousie University in Canada, an MA from the University of London and a post-graduate diploma in HRM and training, University of Leicester. He is a past permanent secretary in education with the government of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Published with the permission of caribbeannewsnow.com.

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