Beyond Election 2012
CFAL Economic View
On Monday past The Bahamas held its eight election; an event which is best described as perhaps the most pivotal election since independence and the manner in which it was conducted took the process to a new level. It also resulted in the changing of the guard and will no doubt usher in a new cadre of political leaders.
We wish to congratulate Perry G. Christie, the new prime minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, on his election victory.
The election was a hard, tough and rugged battle for all the contestants. Much resources, man-hours and capital were expended in the process. It is behind us now and nation building requires all of us to join Team Bahamas and put our full support behind Christie as we move this country forward, onward, upward, together.
What are we to expect in the next five years? To begin with, there are many challenges as well as opportunities to face over the coming years and our success as a country would demand full engagement and co-operation by all. It’s up to the new administration to chart a course for “Bahamas Incorporated” in order to ensure a safe journey on our destination to a prosperous Bahamas. It must be an all-inclusive plan for the entire Bahamas involving all political groupings; an undertaking which we believe Christie can fully support.
It is our hope that the new administration will seek out and use the talents and intellect of all Bahamians from anywhere but especially, bright, smart young Bahamians, no matter what their political affiliations may be. In the past, immediately following an election, it was not unusual to see the usual list of suspects being appointed either as consultants or heads of various government boards irrespective of their credentials or even a track record for successfully managing anything. The almost deliberate oversight of young people in the past was not helpful to nation building and we are hopeful that going forward, our young people will be given opportunities to serve in a meaningful way in government agencies and institutions and on government boards and committees.
Perhaps the single biggest issue facing the new government is that of job creation. This matter is particularly challenging because it is highly dependent on external factors over which we have no control. In this regard, it would be useful for us to begin to focus quickly on a “plan” for Bahamas 2020. This would enable us to determine our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) and develop a plan which maximizes our strengths, minimizes our weaknesses, while taking advantage of the opportunities and appreciating the threats to our economy. In the short-term, we need to continue to grow and diversify within our two major financial pillars while at the same time, developing new pillars to minimize any future external shocks to “Bahamas Incorporated”. We need to continue to encourage foreign direct investment (FDI) as well as to provide appropriate opportunities (incentives) for increased local direct investment (LDI).
We also need to explore new industries and build upon some of the less successful industries to date, which for whatever reason, were left unattended or not pursued. We need to focus on industries such as agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture, light manufacturing and high-end service centers, while continuing the “oil drilling” dialogue. We must be mindful that it is a mistake to believe that oil drilling will be the panacea for wiping out the national debt and a solution to all our problems. The reality is that it would take years to see any sustainable economic impact on The Bahamas. Based upon the information available to us, it would appear that the current structure needs to be re-negotiated more favorably in the economic interest of The Bahamas. We have no doubt that Christie and his government would act in the best interest of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and do the right thing in this regard.
We take this opportunity to congratulate the new Cabinet and we look forward to seeing any new policies and programs unveiled by the new administration.
• CFAL is a sister company of The Nassau Guardian under the AF Holdings Ltd. umbrella. CFAL provides investment management, research, brokerage and pension services. For comments, please contact CFAL at: firstname.lastname@example.org
May 09, 2012