Imagine you are witnessing swarms of snakes jumping and attacking naked sinners where their souls instantly catch fire and burn up, only to rise from the ashes to return to the pit of serpents…… OKAY, maybe that was a bit melodramatic, what can I say I have a vivid imagination.
As Bahamians we live in a high-income country, based on our Gross National Income (GNI) per capita we are likened to the United States, Germany and Australia. I am not going to discuss how our GNI is not an adequate representation of wealth distribution in The Bahamas because that is a story for another day. But if you can humour me for a minute lets pretend that we are like Dante and Virgil and we are within the 8th ring of The Bahamas. Let’s pretend the sinners have no faces and we are focusing on the “snakes” that plague this country. As Bahamians we have to move beyond this passive life that we live and kill the “metaphorical snakes.” (Metaphorical because you should never kill real snakes. We have no venomous snakes in The Bahamas and the snakes that we do have help to control the rat population, but I digress).
I am going to take the liberty and assume that you are familiar with the “snakes” that plague the 8th ring of The Bahamas and that we can agree that as a country, we are in a state of crisis, economically, socially and environmentally. That as a nation there is no room left for vacillation. We need to take a top down bottom up approach. The government does not have the sole responsibility to solve our problems. Private entities have to work with and support the government because the government cannot build a nation by themselves.
We as citizens have to invest in our country, and in our future. What this means is that we have to put youth development at the forefront. The government must put education first. The reality is if we want a better Bahamas we need an educational system that builds better citizens. This is where we struggle as a nation because we don’t know what it truly means to be active citizens. We have not been equipped with the skills to rationally solve our problems or to build a life that doesn’t depend on hand outs.
The empirical evidence exists, nations that put education first and make education a priority prosper economically and are in a better position to deal with social issues. As a country in crisis we don’t have time for games. If you want to play the odds there are number houses on almost ever corner of this island, good luck.
What we need is to implement the universally tried and tested solution of equitable and quality education for all. We cannot continue to teach using the same methods as the years before and be surprised when the results don’t change. We cannot continue to put a Band-Aid on a tumour and wonder why we are not getting any better.
As a young Bahamian I refuse to let this country spiral into a 9th ring of hell. In Dante’s inferno the sinners that live in the 9th ring are the most evil sinners, the traitors to Benefactors, like Judas, who betrayed Christ. In my youthful eyes the greatest betrayal to Bahamians and the future of The Bahamas is that if you are in a position to influence the development of this country and you don’t demand for education and youth development to be a priority.
Building a brighter Bahamas is not the sole responsibility of the Government and as Bahamians we have to work together but I am humbly asking the decision makers in our country that if you are working on new and innovative programs that will change the face of this country then share that information with us and give us hope; present opportunities for able bodied citizens to work with you. But the reality is this country cannot continue with the status quo. Nation building isn’t about creating a personal legacy. How I see it, those of you with real power have two options, the first is to step up and be radical and work with us to change this country for the better, or to humbly step aside.