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|Bahamian Independence Overview/10 July 1973 - 10 July 2003|
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|Posted by:||Apr 7th 2003, 06:07:03 pm|
|Fig Tree News Team||April 05, 2003 - 10:23
Guest editorial, The Bahama Journal
The Building Of A Nation
Independence is not a concept of a utopian state, but a practical, achievable reality where no one can effectively dictate another's modus operandi.
As the 30th anniversary of the Bahamas' independence from the United Kingdom draws closer, we must reflect on how significantly the Bahamian nation has achieved social, political and economic development.
We have experienced methodological and systematic development of the entire democratic political process, transforming the immediate post-colonial era into one where the entire nation is unified, committed to the principle of democracy and with togetherness, hopes to achieve the dream of a nation with equal rights and justice.
Nations are modern forms of collective existence and their growth has not in history, ever followed a universal pattern, as a result of the uniqueness of each nation's culture, norms, values, political climate and persuasions.
The renowned philosophers, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, believed that an independent nation should at the onset of independence, set about formulating an independent policy on the national question that would represent the interests of the citizens, which should be based on their desire for the nation's unique development, that is in the overall interest of the entire populace.
This clearly emphasises the need for The Bahamas, after 29 years of independence, to set about reviewing the developmental pattern and strategies to ensure that it reflects the modern-day realities of our existence and the empowering of the various segments of the society of the country towards providing to the fullest extent the expectation of the citizenry.
The power of a nation lies not in the calibre of expertise available as a pool, but the effective utilization of these experts in transforming the very realities of our existing resources.
The muscle a state and its citizen can flex is derived from the buoyancy of its economy, political systems and the social stability prevalent in the society.
Thus, as we look forward to celebrating our 30th independence anniversary in the coming months, we must be concerned not only with being content with the relative development we have had over these years, but we must search for strategic approaches toward transforming our existence into one that truly ensures our independence.
Independence is not a concept of a utopian state, but a practical, achievable reality where no one can effectively dictate another's modus operandi. Hence, we must look beyond being politically independent to being truly independent in all ramifications.
We must look at, as the PLP government has promised, our constitution in order to make necessary amendments that would continue to support the realities of today.
The constitution must evolve over time and must be made a living document that should reflect the aspirations and yearnings of the people.
I commend Prime Minister, the Hon Perry Christie for having appointed members of the constitutional review commission to look at possible changes in our constitution. It is a step in the right direction. Any constitution failing to incorporate public feelings and expectations, and not go according to the principles of constitutionalism, cannot be long-lasting.
The government must aggressively develop a strategic plan to ensure that we attain acceptable levels of competitiveness to be able to stand the globalisation reality.
A reliance on the tourism and financial service sector would not keep pace with the rest of the industrialised economies we are going to be competing with.
Major policy issues need to be reviewed in preparation for the commencement of FTAA. The import duties saga must be settled and harmonised, with the introduction of appropriate tax structures to accommodate the partial or complete elimination of import duties as required by the FTAA.
It is on record that both the previous Prime Ministers and the current Prime Minister do not consider the introduction of income tax as an option for consideration, leaving us the viable option of value-added tax or sales tax.
The issue of Caribbean integration must be decided too, to ensure that we do not dabble into an agreement that would weaken our national political, social and economic structures.
Besides, the Caribbean landscape is too broad and diverse that it poses natural, political and economic difficulties to co-ordinate or attempt to integrate the various countries. The integration of different sovereign nations could only be possible if the nations could find common, feasible and sustainable ground, which can accommodate the foundation of their coming together.
The idea is a novelty, and appears meaningful to the people of the Caribbean; but looking at the practicality and logistics, it is a daunting task that would instead de-accelerate the economic and political growth of the entire region, especially the Bahamas.
Most nations within the Caribbean region have failed, or are unable to implement sustainable economic diversification policies, which would have provided the foundation for the durability of the proposed integration.
The entire Caribbean nations are still increasingly vulnerable to external shocks to the point that future economic development and economic plans are difficult to fathom and sustain.
The continued development of The Bahamas politically, socially and economically is an uphill task, to which our leaders must remain devoted and dedicated.
By Dr. Kevin Alcena
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