On July 10, 1973, the Islands of the Bahamas, became an independent state, while, too, remaining, as a part of the British Commonwealth. The nation began, with limited finances, and so on, and little infrastructure. However, it also, fortunately, began with a focus, vision, goals, priorities, and marginally, visionary leadership. In the early 1980’s, when I was involved in managing and operating, a tourism industry, focused on the Bahamas, I had the pleasure of meeting, for the first time, this awesome individual. We had several conversations over the following, almost – two years, and I developed a much better understanding of what our Founding Fathers, and those of most countries, must have, to some degree, underwent. There were certain decisions made from the start, which directed 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.. This guide will try to apply, some of the lessons learned, in terms of what, the rest of the world, might benefit by.
- Mission and vision of Founder: Since there are limited natural resources, and the ability to compete, in terms of exporting goods, is limited. This meant focusing on friendliness, service, and attracting tourists, to come back, repeatedly. There were many challenges, but when one finds, the amount of amazing restaurants restaurants, shops, and so on, and also the short – life of this nation, is inspirational!
- How mistakes/ challenges are handled: Things did not always go, as easily, as the government hoped. In the mid – 1980’s, the Cable Beach Hotel, and then, Crystal Palace, were built, in addition to several other major projects, but lots of these, were adversely impacted, by the downturn in the world market. 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 greater future. When the largest project, ever intended, for the Caribbean region, was proposed, and began, about a decade ago, hopes were high, but the first developer faced economic difficulties, there were many legal battles, etc, but the $4.5 billion, Baha Mar Resort opened, and afterwards, visiting last week, exceeded anyone’s expectations!
- Encourage foreign investment: When the Bahamas, became a country, one of the principal objectives, was to ensure qualified Bahamian workers, received the majority of the tasks, in any project, etc.. That nation recognized, the need to promote foreign investment and investors, but, to also, protect citizens. Major projects like the Atlantis, the Towne, the Baha Mar, along with many others, followed these principles. Many nations and banks, have a substantial economic presence on those Islands, such as: China; the United States; Canada; United Kingdom; etc..
- Infrastructure needs: Roads have been designed, and improved, constantly, throughout the nation’s history! Bahamian Pride is real, and has been, throughout, and its flag, as explained to me, by Pindling, included 3 colours – blue, for the color of the sky and water; yellow, for the sun; and, black, to represent the skin color, of the huge majority of its citizens. In a country, representing various races, and nationalities/ ethnicities, there’s a relevantly low amount of racial biases, etc..
- Overcome challenges: 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, though, still having to face many future challenges, should not all people learn some courses? I have witnessed many changes in the almost 40 years, I have visited, and must admit, I am motivated by the progress, to date!