On July 10, 1973, the Islands of the Bahamas, became an independent nation, while, too, remaining, as part of the British Commonwealth. The nation began, with limited finances, and so on, and little infrastructure. But it also, fortunately, began with a focus, vision, goals, priorities, and marginally, visionary leadership. Sir Lynden Pindling was the George Washington, of this nation, and served as Prime Minister, for the first 25 years, of its existence. From the early 1980’s, when I was involved in managing and operating, a tourism business, focused on the Bahamas, I had the pleasure of meeting, for the first time, this amazing individual. We had several conversations over the following, nearly – two years, and I developed a much better understanding of what our Founding Fathers, and those of most nations, must have, to a degree, underwent. There were certain decisions made from the start, which led the Bahamas, into the future. These included: 1) Capping the Bahamian dollar to the United States dollar; 2) Required education; 3) A parliamentary, democratic government; 4) An infrastructure program; 5) Commitment to employment; and, 6) a primary emphasis on tourism, banking, etc..
- Mission and vision of Creator: Since there are limited natural resources, and the ability to compete, in terms of exporting products, is limited. Mr. Pindling determined, 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 many challenges, but when one finds, the amount of amazing restaurants restaurants, shops, and so on, and the short – life of the nation, is inspirational!
- How mistakes/ challenges are managed: Things did not always go, as easily, as the government expected. In the mid – 1980’s, the Cable Beach Hotel, and then, Crystal Palace, were assembled, in addition to 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 confronted the challenges, admitted there were issues and challenges, but continued, in a focused way, towards a greater future. When the largest project, ever planned, for the Caribbean region, was planned, and began, about a decade ago, hopes were high, but the original developer faced economic difficulties, there were many legal battles, etc, but the $4.5 billion, Baha Mar Resort opened, and after, visiting last week, exceeded anyone’s expectations! Persistence, etc, mattered!
- Encourage foreign investment: When the Bahamas, became a nation, one of the primary objectives, was to ensure qualified Bahamian workers, received the bulk of the jobs, in any project, etc.. That state recognized, the need to promote foreign investment and investors, however, to also, protect citizens. Important projects such as the Atlantis, the Towne, the Baha Mar, and others, followed these principles. Many banks and nations, have a substantial economic presence on these Islands, including: China; the United States; Canada; United Kingdom; etc..
- Infrastructure needs: Roads have been designed, and improved, constantly, throughout the nation’s history! There is now, an International airport (Sir Lynden Pindling International Airport), which is modern, and a quality one. In a nation, representing various races, and nationalities/ ethnicities, there’s a relevantly low amount of racial biases, etc..
- Overcome obstacles: This country has proceeded, and overcome many obstacles, since 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, should not all of us learn some courses? I have seen many changes in the nearly 40 years, I have visited, and have to admit, I am inspired by the progress, so far!