In 1973, we celebrated. And we celebrated. We were now “independent”! That is, we now depended on no one but ourselves for our welfare, our direction, our dreams, our future. To confirm our independence, we began outing in place institutions that would show the world that we had accepted the responsibility for our own development. We created institutions for defense, for social welfare, for the management of the country’s finances. We established institutions for the creative arts. We changed the laws to reflect our new status.

Forty years later, there is a hollow ring to much of that drama. The social welfare institutions have helped turn us into a nation of beggars, where our children stand on street-corners begging for money to go away to play basketball wearing Nike shoes. Our financial management institutions are deaf to the cry that the vast majority of the people have no idea how to function in their own economic environment. The cultural institutions exist in name only, with none of the infrastructure that goes with their fancy names – National Dance School, National Festival of Arts etc. Forty years later, rather than a country of responsible citizens (yes, I know that’s redundant), we have become a country of dependents, begging the Government for everything. Even the Government has become beggars, begging other countries to “help us” do the things we committed to do for ourselves, or to do without in 1973. The people beg, and in response, the Government promises more and more, with no idea where the resources are coming from. So the Government begs or borrows to try to keep up.

This is a sad picture indeed. Most people would be happy to blame it on immigration policies or drugs or tourism, but it is clear that it is the result of the fact that 40 years ago, some of the most independent thinkers our nation has seen declared our independence, then placed us on the path to becoming totally dependent on their good graces.

Happy Independence Day, Bahamas.

July 10, 2013

Patrick A. Rahming

Bahamian by Commitment