On July 10, 1973, the Islands of the Bahamas, became an independent nation, while, also, remaining, as part of the British Commonwealth. The nation started, with limited finances, etc, and small infrastructure. But it also, fortunately, started with a focus, vision, goals, priorities, and somewhat, visionary leadership. Sir Lynden Pindling was the George Washington, of the country, and served as Prime Minister, for its first 25 years, of its existence. In the early 1980’s, when I was involved in operating and managing, a tourism business, focused on the Bahamas, I had the joy of meeting, for the first time, this amazing individual. We had several conversations over the following, nearly – two years, and I developed a far better understanding of what our Founding Fathers, and those of most nations, must have, to some degree, underwent. There were certain decisions made from the start, which directed the Bahamas, into the future.
1. Mission and vision of Creator: Since there are limited natural resources, and the ability to compete, in terms of exporting goods, is restricted. Mr. Pindling decided, the emphasis should be on education, employment, banking, pegging currency/ money, and tourism. This meant focusing on friendliness, service, and bringing tourists, to come back, repeatedly. There were lots of challenges, but when one observes, the amount of amazing hotels, restaurants, shops, etc, and the short – life of the nation, is inspiring!
2. How mistakes/ challenges are handled: Things didn’t always go, as easily, as the government expected. In the mid – 1980’s, the Cable Beach Hotel, and then, Crystal Palace, were assembled, as well as several other major projects, but lots of these, were adversely impacted, by the downturn in the world economy. As opposed to give – up, or move, negatively, they faced the challenges, admitted there were challenges and issues, but continued, in a focused way, towards a better future. When the largest project, ever intended, for the Caribbean region, was planned, and started, about a decade ago, hopes were high, but the original developer faced economic difficulties, there were many legal battles, etc, but finally, the $4.5 billion, Baha Mar Resort opened, and afterwards, visiting last week, exceeded anyone’s expectations!
3. Encourage foreign investment: When the Bahamas, became a country, one of the principal objectives, was to guarantee qualified Bahamian workers, received the majority of the jobs, in any project, etc.. That country recognized, the need to promote foreign investment and investors, but, to also, protect taxpayers. Major projects like the Atlantis, the Towne, the Baha Mar, and many others, followed these principles. Many banks and nations, have a significant economic presence on those Islands, including: China; the United States; Canada; United Kingdom; etc..
4. Infrastructure needs: Roads are designed, and enhanced, constantly, throughout the nation’s history! In a country, representing a variety of races, and nationalities/ ethnicities, there is a relevantly low amount of racial biases, etc..
5. Overcome obstacles: This nation has proceeded, and overcome many obstacles, because it proceeds, with an attitude and focus, o challenges, rather than problems!
If the Bahamas, in its brief history, can be, where it is, and, although, still having to confront many future challenges, shouldn’t all of us learn some courses? I’ve seen many changes in the nearly 40 years, I have seen, and have to admit, I am motivated by the progress, to date!