Considering all that has been said and done under a PLP administration, we are looking at the possible consolidation of an enslaved state.
Over five years, the Government has reigned over worsening economic conditions, and contributed to an unfriendly business environment and growing unemployment.
In response, Government has been hiring Bahamians wholesale, after years of allowing massive foreign employment for eg, construction sites. The rate of Government hiring has increased lately in a somewhat transparent move to improve its chances at the polls. (Transparency at last!)
Here we have it: government economic mismanagement followed by government hiring the unemployed in an attempt to make them “their very own.”
Unfortunately as an economic model this does not have long term viability. Unlike colonial plantation economies, the modern state as the major employer does not produce a profit and cannot provide sustainable employment.
Mexico tried this model in the 1980’s. Over 50% of the workforce in 1984 was employed by the Mexican Government or state owned companies. This, together with Mexico’s excessive borrowing, culminated in the financial crash of 1984. The Mexican peso declined from 23 pesos / US$1.00 to 2,000 pesos /US$1. Inflation soared. The Mexican middle class diminished and poorer classes suffered – and increased.
Greece is a current example of the results of excessive borrowing and economic fall-out. In the past few years, thousands - including school teachers, have lost their civil service jobs or had their salaries and benefits reduced. Former civil servants or their widows have had their pensions slashed. And they use the remaining portion of that pension to help their now unemployed adult children.
In Greece over 1000 schools have closed, forcing students into overcrowded conditions. Hospitals and clinics are downsized or closed, and over 4,000 doctors have emigrated. But the number of tax offices have increased and taxes have diminished disposable income.
If the Bahamas Government becomes a major employer, it needs sponsors in an attempt to avoid a Mexican or Greek type fall-out. And there is no guarantee that attempt will be successful. Sponsors could be numbers men, foreign fashion designers or friendly foreign countries.
Friendly foreign countries have the deepest pockets. Thus our much vaunted national sovereignty, patriotically saved from the Delaware courts, may be genuflecting to a country that holds a place in Amnesty International’s list of “The 10 worst attacks on human rights in 2016.”
It’s another iteration of the golden rule: He who has the gold, rules.
Bahamians can still alter this course of events simply by voting this government out of power, no matter where we are employed.
The future we save will be our own.
18th April, 2017