On July 10, 1973, the Islands of the Bahamas, became an independent nation, while, too, staying, as a part of the British Commonwealth. The nation began, with limited finances, etc, and small infrastructure. But it also, fortunately, began with a focus, vision, goals, priorities, and somewhat, visionary leadership. Sir Lynden Pindling was the George Washington, of the nation, and served as Prime Minister, for its first 25 years, of its existence. In the early 1980’s, when I was involved in managing and operating, a tourism industry, focused on the Bahamas, I had the joy of meeting, for the first time, this awesome individual. We had several conversations over the following, almost – two decades, and I developed a much greater understanding of what our Founding Fathers, and those of most countries, must have, to a degree, underwent. There were certain decisions made from the onset, which directed the Bahamas, in the future. These included: 1) Capping the Bahamian dollar to the United States dollar; 2) Mandatory education; 3) A parliamentary, democratic government; 4) An infrastructure program; 5) Commitment to employment; and, 6) a main emphasis on banking, tourism, etc..
1. Mission and vision of Founder: Since there are limited natural resources, and the ability to compete, in terms of exporting products, is limited. This meant focusing on friendliness, service, and bringing tourists, to return, repeatedly. There were many challenges, but when one finds, the number of amazing restaurants restaurants, shops, and so on, and the short – life of the nation, is inspirational!
2. How mistakes/ challenges are managed: Things did not always go, as easily, as the government hoped. From the mid – 1980’s, the Cable Beach Hotel, and then, Crystal Palace, were built, in addition to several other significant projects, but many of these, were negatively affected, by the downturn in the world economy. As opposed to give – up, or move, negatively, they faced the challenges, admitted there were issues and challenges, but continued, in a focused way, towards a better future. When the greatest project, ever intended, for the Caribbean region, was planned, and began, about a decade ago, hopes were high, but the first developer faced economic difficulties, there were many legal battles, etc, but finally, the $4.5 billion, Baha Mar Resort opened, and after, visiting last week, exceeded anyone’s expectations!
3. Encourage foreign investment: When the Bahamas, became a nation, one of the principal objectives, was to ensure qualified Bahamian employees, received the bulk of the jobs, in any project, etc.. That country recognized, the need to promote foreign investment and investors, however, to also, protect citizens. Major projects such as the Atlantis, the Towne, the Baha Mar, along with many others, followed these principles. Many banks and nations, have a substantial economic presence on those Islands, such as: China; the United States; Canada; United Kingdom; etc..
4. Infrastructure needs: Roads have been designed, and improved, 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 challenges: This country has proceeded, and overcome many obstacles, because it proceeds, with an attitude and attention, o challenges, rather than problems!
If the Bahamas, in its brief history, can be, where it’s, and, although, still having to confront many future challenges, shouldn’t all of us learn some lessons? I’ve witnessed many changes in the nearly 40 years, I have visited, and have to admit, I am motivated by the progress, so far!