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For several hours last Monday, we were forcefully reminded exactly what is meant by an essential service and what it feels like to go about our daily lives without not just one essential service, but minus a pair of them. Today, we would like to Consider This ... what do we have a right to demand from those who provide us with these important services and what should we do if those providers don't live up to their end of the bargain?
Each of us enters into contracts during our lives - contracts with our bank, our employer, even our spouse. Those contracts have very definite parameters, giving us things in exchange for our promise to give something in return. After receiving what we have contracted for, whether it is money, employment or a faithful, loving spouse, if we fail to live up to our end of the bargain, loans get called, jobs are lost and sometimes, marriages wind up on the rocks.
Then, there are the other kinds of contracts where those with whom you have the contract must continue to provide that for which you have contracted as you agree to fulfill your part of the agreement, also on an ongoing basis. These contracts are the kind we have with our essential service providers: The companies from whom we get electricity, water and telephone and, to some degree, cable television and Internet providers, although some would argue the latter are not essential services. However, after being prevented from using ATMs all over the island last Monday because of Internet related problems, many would unquestionably classify them as essential services.
So we innocently sign up for these services, being duly informed about what will happen to us as customers should we breach our part of the agreement but never asking what compensation we could expect should the service provider fail to deliver the contracted services. It rarely occurs to many of us to ask "what happens if the lights go off?" or "what do we get back if the phones fail to work?" or "what can we expect if we have to do without water?" It is almost unthinkable that things like that would happen on a protracted basis. At least it used to be.
We are now a different kind of people. We have shown that we have little patience for politicians who do not live up to their promises. We are becoming a people whose patience is wearing very thin.
We are beginning to awaken to the fact that we do have rights and that an agreement should be taken seriously - by both parties. We are embracing the idea that we do not have to settle for whatever service we happen to get, whether it is good, mediocre or downright absent, as it was on Monday past. We are starting to ask about the fairness of having to pay the same charges whether we get what we pay for or merely a pale shadow of the promised service.
Why, for example, do we have to pay the same price for rusty water coming through the taps into our sinks and washing machines that we agreed to pay for what we were assured was a clear, clean, potable product that would not ruin our clothes and force us to buy bottled water to use for what tap water is supposed to provide? Moreover, when we signed up for water, we did not expect to have good pressure sometimes and dribbles or nothing at other times.
Yes, things happen. Emergencies occur. But emergencies are becoming so commonplace that having a good steady stream of water from your tap for some areas of the nation is now the exception, not the rule. Most just suck it up, so to speak, and pay the full water bill for the less than full service they have received.
And then we have the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC). While we are growing, we were used to power failures because of "generation problems", this past week's massive outage was caused by a "surge on its system", as BEC said in its press release on the event that crippled the capital for hours on Monday past.
But, month after month, consumers who are being asked to pay astronomical bills in return for what is anticipated to be a steady supply of current are being shut off because of non-payment. Business growth is severely handicapped by the cost of electricity as well as its unreliability, caught between going broke paying for it and going broke because you can't open your business because of a power failure - a real example of being damned if you do and damned if you don't.
And what are you offered when their part of the bargain is not fulfilled and the lights kept on? True, we only pay for the power we use, but the problem is much more complex than that. We have contracted for a 24/7 supply. We construct our lives around that understanding. Our business hours rely on that. We buy our food and plan our day around the belief that we will have power. If the contract told us we would have 12 hours of electricity every day, we would plan differently. But it doesn't. And we should have a reasonable expectation when entering into a contract that it will be carried out, just as the other party expects payment. Fair is fair and it's time for BEC to level with its customers, tell us what that contract really means in terms of supply and, instead of charging us for a reliable supply of electricity, bring down the rate for the UN-reliable supply of electricity accordingly.
And then there is BTC. Today it seems as though we are held together and linked to the world beyond with our landlines, cell phones and smart phones. We conduct business, parent our children, sustain our relationships and expand our social life within and outside our communities, all via the miracle of telephony. Without it, the nurtured networks of our lives crumble. We experienced that on Monday as everything ground to a halt when, for reasons that have yet to be discovered, our telephone system failed.
Before Monday, we have been experiencing less than stellar service with our phones. Cell phone systems are being upgraded, we are told, so we are becoming used to large gaps in our connectivity. Our landline system, when it has problems, is now subjected to a new and much more rigid repair protocol that results in a longer wait-time to be resolved. Once again, we did not sign up for this when we entered into an agreement for telephone service. And we certainly did not agree to pay for mediocrity and a constantly evolving system, subject as it seems to be to a trial-and-error kind of level of service.
BTC has provided financial consideration for those who suffered through Monday's debacle but very little reassurance that things will get better as they continue to charge for connections that often do not connect. Fair is fair. As long as BTC is in the upgrade mode, tinkering with systems and fixing platforms, the rate charged the consumer - who really is becoming more of a BETA testing participant - should be adjusted accordingly - and not just for 24 or 48 hours. As with Water and Sewerage and BEC, we are paying BTC for something we are not getting, so that payment structure needs to be addressed in the name of fairness.
Until we can get what we are paying for where our utilities are concerned, being a First World nation will continue to be an elusive dream. But once we are treated fairly by those we contract to provide these services, the sky is the limit and our admission to the First World and the 21st century will be assured.
o 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.
After a grueling full day of intense auditions, the judges of You Got Talent? have determined the 18 finalists that will move on to the live stage show on Saturday, November 22. It was a challenging task of choosing the most entertaining acts that will compete next weekend for the cash prize and the opportunity for major international exposure.
On a recent morning radio show on the new Guardian Radio station, a host chastised politicians for lacking the will to address various issues concerning young men. The fact that in that morning's Nassau Guardian was a story on the government giving $1 million in grants for urban outreach programs targeted mostly to young people, young men in particular, seems to have eluded the host.
Perhaps it was too much to ask that the host read even the newspaper owned by the company operating the station on which the host blabbered the vapid commentary.
Here again we were treated to a shop-worn cliché about politicians. It is one in a collection of clichés and lazy thinking. Others include, "the country (it could be any country) is going to hell", which has been a refrain since the Treaty of Westphalia codified the nation-state in 1648.
Alas, with notable exceptions, this is typical fare on talk radio where fact-checking has also become a dying art. This medium of mass communication is littered with channels of mass misinformation and downright disinformation by some.
More distressing is the uninformed commentary by those one assumes should know better. Recently, there was an unexpectedly disappointing letter to the editor on the state of political affairs in the country including the 2012 election cycle.
As society holds academics to a high standard of intellectual rigor, one expects more balanced and substantive analysis from someone in academia. One also expects analysis that is fact-driven and properly researched.
The letter was not a well-crafted intellectual argument. It was disingenuous. Not because the individual is ill-willed. Indeed, the writer appears well-meaning in terms of concern for the country. It was disingenuous because it indulged in a series of gross overstatements and cavalier disregard of readily available facts.
The letter was lacking in historical and global perspective, yet another example of navel-gazing with little contextualizing of domestic affairs within the broader scope of global current affairs.
The letter writer posited: "One could argue (and I certainly would) that for four of the past five years, there was no governance at all, but just more of this sparring in the House of Assembly, just more trading of insults back and forth across the floor, while the world got on with changing its foundations all around us and the ground on which our society and economy rest crumbles away."
Such commentary is neither convincing nor dispositive. Any casual observer of the fierce parliamentary debates in a host of parliamentary democracies including the UK would view our political back-and-forth as tame.
The often vituperative nature of Australian politics would make the heads of many Bahamians spin. This is not new for Australia. It has a history of rough-and-tumble politics. Yet, Australia is often viewed as one of the better run countries.
To provide as evidence for our supposed lack of governance, the fierce nature of political debate would mean that Great Britain has not been governed for centuries. In democracies like South Korea and Japan, parliamentary sessions have degenerated into fist-fights. Are these countries also without governance?
But the claim of "no governance" belies other realities. That not a single civil servant was laid off during the Great Recession was not an easy feat. If more academics and civil servants were laid off in The Bahamas over the past five years, as has been the case in other countries, perhaps more of them would have a deeper appreciation of how tough it was to hold the country together.
Not only were no civil servants laid off. There were also no cuts in salaries and benefits, and increments are on the horizon. It is shocking how cavalier is the analysis of some when they are not daily confronted with the enormous challenges of governing including prioritizing the apportionment of limited resources.
This supposed period of "no governance" achieved: $25 million more in scholarships for students attending The College of The Bahamas, the retraining of nearly 4,000 moderate income Bahamians, the introduction of a prescription drug benefit, the introduction of a landmark unemployment benefit, millions invested in new health facilities, new entrepreneurial programs for young people, and the most comprehensive upgrade of critical infrastructure in the nation's history inclusive of potable water and infrastructure urgently needed by Family Islanders.
None of these accomplishments magically appeared. They required leadership and governance. That the writer mentioned not one of these is more than being uninformed. Intellectual honesty requires an acknowledgment of facts.
The writer declared: "I have heard absolutely nothing from any party about what the future holds... The FNM has focussed very much on vague generalities like proven leadership and deliverance, and what has been done, largely in material, infrastructural terms, in the very recent past (one or two years at most)."
"Absolutely nothing"? This is intellectually disingenuous. Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham's over two dozen rally addresses since the beginning of the year contain considerably more than the usual political boilerplate. They are dense with policy and programmatic proposals.
Of note is a discussion of his vision for The Bahamas including his party's philosophy of development and ideas for urban redevelopment. His remarks in North Eleuthera addressed the balancing of domestic and foreign direct investment.
Either the letter writer has not bothered to research these or is being purposely misleading. If one has a view of the prime minister's proposals that would be fair commentary. But to claim that his speeches are mostly about sloganeering and infrastructure is exceedingly unfair and disingenuous.
The prime minister has proposed the development of Jubilee Bahamas (a 10-year National Plan), the Public Arts Project, a Parks and Recreation Authority, the Summer Institute for Boys, the Youth Development Centre, a Heritage Tourism Initiative, a Native Food Market for Over-the-Hill, an Economic and Development Council of Bahamians Overseas, an expanded mission for BTVI, and a further upgrade of post offices to government service centers.
The FNM's manifesto details proposals ranging from increasing the minimum wage, introducing National Catastrophic Health Insurance, the promotion of aquaculture and mariculture, the development of head start programs to improve literacy, numeracy and fundamental computer skills for all children by age five, the provision of "a school place or a stipend of up to $1,500 for all five-year-olds in approved educational institutions", a large-scale program of return migration to the Family Islands, a Bahamas Youth Development Corps, and others.
Again, not a single one of these was mentioned by the letter writer. What conclusion might one reach about the utter and wholesale exclusion of these facts?
Leaving aside the letter writer, it seems the self-imposed burden of some of the supposed cognoscenti and literati in developing countries is to decry the backwardness of our governance.
There is the regular excoriation of our politicians, our political process, our elections and our governance. There is the "dismay" and "outrage" at the way opposing political partisans tear the other side down.
How different this must be from more civilized countries supposedly so much better governed than The Bahamas? Perhaps these countries include a hyper-partisan United States or European Community states in the midst of a dire economic and political crisis related to their supposedly superior governance even as they slash their budgets and look to the International Monetary Fund for help.
In the frenzy of the enlightened denunciation by some of our supposed backwardness, perhaps they can offer more credible and cost-accounted policy prescriptions. Some of them might even enter frontline politics and discover the demands of governance.
There should be an immersion program called "Prime Minister for a Day". One imagines that just a day in the prime minister's chair would give rise to more insightful and convincing commentary than we are daily treated to in various media.
Politicians deserve neither pity nor unfettered adulation. But neither should they take seriously the simplistic assaults on their service in office, and the lack of acknowledgement of their accomplishments by those who do not accord them such common courtesy and basic fairness.
It is an intellectual conceit and a conceit of ignorance to fail to acknowledge such contributions by those politicians who love The Bahamas no less than those who breezily opine on affairs of state in pursuit of a hypothesis unconcerned with facts.
FREEPORT – Less than two hours after signing a contract for the construction of a Ferry Terminal at the McLean’s Town Dock in East Grand Bahama, Public Works and Transport Minister the Hon. Neko Grant signed four additional contracts for works throughout the rest of the island Thursday.
Kidney disease refers to any condition that damages the organs and results in impaired kidney function. Normally, the kidney works as an organic filtering system that screens waste products from the blood stream and excretes them into the urine. Kidneys also regulate the body's fluid composition and the nutrient content of the blood and produce hormones that control red blood cell production and blood pressure.
Kidney disease is characterized as a cube (of recent origination) or chronic (of long duration). Acute kidney disease affects animals at any age and is caused by trauma, disease or poison that damages the kidney. Common causes of acute kidney disease include chemical toxin like antifreeze, certain prescription drugs or infectious agents like leptospirosis.
This refers to the diseases or conditions that interfere with any of the liver's normal functions. The liver is a large organ located in the most forward part of the abdomen, resting against the muscular portion (the diaphragm) between the abdomen and chest cavities. The liver is essential for life and performs over 100 important functions, such as detoxifying poisons and drugs, metabolizing fats, storing carbohydrates, manufacturing bile, plasma proteins and other substances, and assisting in blood clotting. The liver is essentially an organic filter that removes waste and detoxifies drugs and poison, and acts as a factory that manufactures and process nutrients and enzymes.
Food in the intestine is absorbed into the blood which then ferries specific components to the liver. There, sugars and fats are processed, amino acids are produced and certain vitamins and minerals are stored. The liver also manufactures hormones important blood clotting enzymes and a substance called bile that allows fat to be absorbed. Other substances such as drugs that are carried by the blood are metabolized or altered by the liver into other forms. Foreign materials, including viruses and bacteria or poisons, are filtered out in an effort to protect the rest of the body from damage. It is for this reason that an animal's liver is exposed to diseases and injury more than any other part of the body.
Other conditions affecting liver function include birth defects, parasites and cancer. Liver disease is serious and often life-threatening to your pet.
Liver disease is often difficult to detect until the illness becomes severe because there is an over-abundance of liver tissues, and the liver can partially regenerate itself. The signs of liver disease vary with the degree and location of damage. However, whatever their causes, the signs are remarkably similar. Commonly, liver diseases result in anorexia (lack of appetite), vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and lethargy. When bile backs up in the circulation it can turn light-colored areas of the animal's body pale yellow or tea-colored. This is called jaundice and is most easily seen in the white of the eyes, gums or inner surface of the ear flap. Increased pressure of the veins that drain the liver may result in ascites, which is an accumulation of fluid in the abdomen. The animal's abdomen will appear swollen or bloated. Hemorrhages are another sign of advanced liver disease, with bleeding into the stomach, intestines and urinary tract.
Various blood tests are necessary to discover the extent and nature of liver damage. In many cases, surgical removal of small pieces of liver tissue (liver biopsy) is the only way to diagnose the type of liver disease.
Treatment depends on the specific causes of the disease. Some types of liver diseases can only be treated in the hospital, while others are treated on an outpatient basis. Some liver diseases can be cured while in others, the goal of treatment is to control the disease.
Chronic hepatitis is the most common liver disease in dogs. Feline Hepatic Lipidosis also called fatty liver disease is the most common liver disease in cats. Overweight cats are at highest risk for this condition, and the definitive sign is when an obese cat suddenly stops eating. For reasons not completely understood, fat is moved into the liver and becomes trapped, resulting in compromised liver functions. Chronic hepatitis cases are idiopathic, which means that no definitive cause can be determined. When a cause can be determined, it is often due to another generalized disease such as cancer, kidney disease or an infection such as Leptospirosis. Treatment consists primarily of supportive care (IV fluids, antibiotics, etc.) Prognosis depends on the cause, but usually is not too good. About 30 percent of animals suffering from hepatitis will die within one week of diagnosis, despite treatment.
A congenital deficiency may result in portosystemic shunt, which is an abnormal connection of a vein into the liver that should normally close off shortly after the newborn is born. Surgical correction is the treatment of choice for some types of shunts.
A diet with a non-meat protein places less strain on the liver and gives it a chance to heal. However, it is best to follow your vet's advice since he or she is most familiar with your dog's diagnosis, clinical condition and dietary needs. There is no way to prevent congenial liver problems or to anticipate some immune or bacterial conditions that affect the liver. However, in cats you can reduce the risk of Feline Hepatic Lipodosis by keeping your cat slim. Also protecting your pets from poisons will help prevent toxicity induced liver damage.
o Dr. Basil Sands can be contacted at Central Animal Hospital at 325-1288.
How to care for your Poinsettia plants:
Poinsettia are green plants with long-lived bracts (vividly colored leaves) and golden yellow flowers and they need special attention.
Place in a room with sufficient natural light that you can actually read fine print in.
Avoid drafts or excess heat from electrical appliances.
Place plant high enough so that it is out of the way of traffic, and out of reach of small children and pets.
Place plant in a waterproof container to protect your furnishing.
Water plant when soil surface is dry to the touch, and remember to discard excess water.
To prolong the bracts bright colors, temperature should not exceed 72 degrees during the day or 60 degrees at night.
When the ...
Long before the checkered flag is waved and some of the world's fastest, hottest cars blur past, Bahamas Speed Week's economic impact is gearing up with nearly a dozen local businesses being fueled by event-related contracts for everything from catering to bleachers, sanitation to logistics.
"We are committed to ensuring that Bahamas Speed Week extends beyond recreation to the creation of spin-off economic benefits for the country and for local businesses," said Jimmie Lowe, Speed Week president. "We're still three months out and we can identify a number of companies that are already benefitting or will benefit during the week of Speed Week activities."
Set for November 24-December 2, Bahamas Speed Week 2012 kicks off with a concert at Arawak Cay on Saturday evening followed by a Miss Speed Week Pageant that Sunday. About 60 classic racing and sports cars, including several belonging to local drivers, will participate in time trials, an island tour at speeds of over 100 miles per hour and a hill climb at Fort Charlotte as well as other activities and exhibitions throughout the week. The event, once the supreme highlight of Nassau's social calendar, was revived last year after a 46-year hiatus, and this year's plans are far more ambitious.
For Alexandra Maillis-Lynch, whose company, Alexandra's, is providing all catering and coordination services for the VIP Paddock Club. Speed Week has also spawned new equipment, office space rental and given birth to a related business - event management with a high-end twist.
"Speed Week is an exciting project that I hope it keeps growing and growing, spilling over into other areas," said Maillis-Lynch, who expects to have a staff of more than 30 working during the event. As a direct result of Speed Week, she rented office space in historic Nassau, purchased new equipment - and most significantly, started a related business in high-end event management. "I like major projects like this," she said. "I find it thrilling."
Crispin Cleare, whose company C-Cube Seating, has the contract for bleachers to seat up to 5,000 spectators, a
media platform and more than 25,000 square feet of tenting, said he'll have about two dozen workers on-site throughout the event.
"It (Speed Week) is definitely keeping my doors open in terms of generating revenue," said Cleare. "I highly compliment Speed Week and their entire management team for believing in Bahamians and granting so many Bahamian businesses the opportunity to prove that Bahamians can do good work. This shows confidence in the Bahamian people as so many other companies and productions would out-source service companies instead."
Cleare has signed a three-year contract with Speed Week.
"Corporate Bahamian businesses should realize that by using Bahamian companies it would save them money avoiding traveling and lodging expenses and it would keep the money within The Bahamas which is a good thing."
Another contractor, Danny Ferguson, is returning for a second year with expanded logistics responsibilities.
"All I have to do," he chuckles, "is create a city within Arawak Cay." He knows it's serious business. Ferguson is the go-to guy for everything from police coordination to circles of tires, provided by Battery & Tyre, Centreville. He coordinates with the Ministry of the Environment, and with the Ministry of Works for site improvements, paving, landscaping and lighting. He will be responsible for the track, the banners, the circuit, for human safety and for the security of rare cars, some of which are priceless. He coordinates with vendors, including companies like C-Cube and the provider of Paddock Club furnishings, Oasis Chic Living, another Nassau company which will supply and staff the event. Ferguson is the point person for police.
The Ministry of Tourism, which is a lead sponsor, is involved in every facet of Bahamas Speed Week. In addition to local resources, the ministry is employing all of its agencies and Bahamas tourist offices abroad to boost business in The Bahamas during Speed Week.
Arawak Cay vendors like Dwight Armbrister have been fixing up and looking forward to the event. Armbrister has added a full wrap-around deck to his restaurant, Dwight's Place. He's employed painters for weeks on end, has begun work on a second floor, and last year, completely re-modeled, re-furnished and air-conditioned in anticipation of Speed Week. Other vendors like Scott Saunders are making shirts, caps and other logo products.
Speed Week is even bringing more than a touch of glamour to the side of the industry best glorified by the TV commercial: "Let's get serious about what happens in the bathroom..."
According to Bahamas Waste Management's President Francesco DeCardenas, the company is importing a marble and glass facility that gives new meaning to the term port-a-potty.
"It's more like a spa," said DeCardenas, describing the 40-foot trailer being imported. Bahamas Waste will have about 10 workers present to handle the less glamorous side of all solid and liquid waste removal.
Bahamas Speed Week is expected to drive up hotel bookings, taxis (most drivers don't drive those rare cars to the grocery store or coffee house), dining establishments, attractions, golfing and shopping. Bleachers tickets are $30 and can be obtained on the event's website, www.bahamasspeedweek.com. At the end of all the racing and car-related activities, a gala ball sponsored by Pictet Bank & Trust will raise funds for four Bahamian charities through its 'Auction of Promises'. This year, for the first time, it will help fund scholarships.
Nassau, Bahamas - Some 50 Bahamians
will be gainfully employed as a result of five contracts signed by The
Bahamas Government on July 28 for the repair of boat ramps throughout
Public Works and Transport Minister the
Hon. Neko C. Grant said the ramps are "crucial" to the livelihood
of many individuals and contribute to opportunities for recreation and
relaxation for the general public.
He noted that the ramps are "strategically"
located and provide access to the sea from all directions on the island.
The ramps to be upgraded are Brown's
Boat Basin, Jaws Beach Boat Ramp, Gambier Boat Ramp, Marshall Road Boat
Ramp and South Beach Boat Ramp.
Rather than take political parties' slogans at face value, it would be prudent for voters to revisit the contents of these parties' manifestos and thoroughly scrutinize them to ascertain whether they have made good on their promises. After all it is often said that past behavior is a good indicator and predictor of future performance. It is therefore necessary for the electorate to be aware that they are the true lie detectors within Bahamian democracy.
In this piece we evaluate a few areas (which by no means is exhaustive) of the 2007 manifesto of the governing Free National Movement (FNM) with a view to determining whether it has in fact delivered on promises for national development and prosperity as its slogan "We Deliver" suggests.
In its manifesto, the FNM committed, among other things, to budget deficit reduction. While it is accepted that the current economic climate would have impacted the achievement of this promise on a significant scale, the government appeared to have made no significant efforts to reduce the deficit.
The government being strapped for cash simultaneously increased taxes and engaged in enormous borrowing. The FNM government failed to carry out moderate austerity measures such as restructuring of the civil service or revising its pension scheme. This is bearing in mind that civil servants' wages account for a significant portion of the governments budget expenditure.
Fiscally, the government committed itself to maintain a "no income tax fiscal regime" during this term of office. It can be argued that the current government is opposed to any real commitment to tax reform by failing to consider a progressive tax structure, which is desperately needed. A genuine and constructive discussion on tax reform should not expressly exclude any form of taxation. Rather, all options and possibilities should be explored in the national interest. The FNM's view as stated in its manifesto, could translate into the poor and working classes continuing to carry the burden of government expenses in this country.
and the economy
According to its manifesto, the FNM had hoped to foster strong economic growth through domestic and foreign direct investment. Unfortunately, little or no new major investments were secured during this term and we continue to witness an increase in the unemployment rate while the government struggled to create real job opportunities during its term in office. The establishment of a Small and Medium Size Enterprises Facilitation Center as promised in its manifesto could have arguably improved the economic environment in The Bahamas and mitigate the negative impact of the recession. The passage of legislation to address this sector could have fostered job creation and potentially an increase in government revenue from license fees, customs duties and property tax.
While the initiative on the part of the government to implement unemployment benefits to assist individuals up to a maximum of 13 weeks is noteworthy, it seems fair to state that such a program is reflective of the government's inability to stimulate economic growth and create an environment for job creation.
Monetarily, the FNM had promised to eliminate exchange control during this term in office. It is obvious that this promise was not delivered. The justification for the maintenance of the exchange control regime by proponents of the same and the government in recent times has been its role in shielding Bahamians and Bahamian entities from the full impact of the global recession. The position and actions of successive governments toward this topic suggests that they are of the view that Bahamians and Bahamian entities are unable to conduct their own affairs financially.
The crime issue
The issue of crime is one of the main topics going into the next general election. It is no news that crime levels in The Bahamas have escalated during this term of the FNM government. Arguably, the inability of the government to create sufficient jobs to reduce the unemployment rate has contributed to a surge in all levels of crime. Despite mixed reviews emanating from the recent engagement of an international consultant by the government, the fundamental issue of crime and the fear of crime can not be overemphasized and should not be politicized. The reality is that any advice given by local or foreign consultants or law enforcers are only as good as the government's own will to enforce the laws it enacts and put in place measures to reduce illegality at all levels. An attitude of no tolerance should be enforced toward minor crimes such as traffic infractions to issues of illegal immigration, illegal gambling and murder at the greater end of the spectrum. Successive governments have continued to make crime a political issue as opposed to a national issue. Crime was used as a major political issue in the 2002 general election by the FNM and not surprisingly it is back at the forefront in the 2012 election season.
The 2007 manifesto of the FNM government also promised the implementation of a Consumer Protection Agency. It is imperative to state that the legislative framework had already been put in place by the previous Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administration. The FNM also promised to push for mortgagors to transfer their mortgages between lenders at no cost. The manifesto under review also vowed to enact private pension legislation to ensure workers save toward their retirement, continue public service reform and revise the General Orders for public servants. With the exception of transfer mortgage cost elimination, it seems apparent that these promises were not delivered.
The question is not whether the FNM-led government delivered on promises it did not make as it can be argued that the FNM vicariously delivered on some PLP projects set in motion before the PLP left office. Such projects include the Lynden Pindling International Airport, the straw market, national stadium, Baha Mar, the I-Group project in Mayaguana and others. In the final analysis, we must ask the question: Did the FNM deliver on promises that it made in 2007?
All political parties and aspiring leaders ought to do right by the Bahamian people and deliver in large part on the promises set forth in their manifestos. When it is all said and done, people often forget what was said at the last rally or what was printed in the editorials. However, a manifesto must be referred to not only during the election season, but during the successful party's term in office. It is also incumbent upon political parties to distribute their manifestos well in advance of Election Day to facilitate public debates on the issues and solutions put forward. We must cross-reference today's promises with those made five years ago to ascertain whether the promises are the same and whether the promisor, based upon its actions and/or performance, will truly deliver on its promises if it is successful at the general election. The persistent distribution of manifestos just weeks before Election Day is an insult to the Bahamian people, perpetuates a society of ignorance and prevents the electorate from making an informed decision on their party of choice.
o Arinthia S. Komolafe is an attorney-at-law. Comments can be directed at firstname.lastname@example.org.