“But what if Columbus was wrong?”

Whenever I start to get a little hot under the collar about our begging while in the midst of a field of missed opportunities, a good friend of mine reminds me that Columbus could have been wrong, and that that thought still keeps a lot of people stranded on the beach. They think that speculation is for the wealthy, the Kings and Queens who can always refill their coffers if and when Columbus returns.

The Bahamas truly is the land of opportunity. As a primary business we have chosen a business that thrives on us telling our own story, a story rich with the adventures of slaves and their ancestors, pirates, Europeans looking for a new life, bootleggers and their clandestine vacations, invasions by Americans, Spaniards and Frenchmen, revolts by slaves and forts that have never seen combat. That magnificent story takes place on a stage with the most colorful corners, with a multicultural cast, including Loyalist ship-builders, a community of Seminole/slaves, pineapple growing adventurers, sloop racers, Franciscan monks building exceptional stone structures, all on three dozen of the most beautiful and different islands on the planet. All of it set in the clearest waters in the world.

Yet, with all this treasure, Bahamians have by and large neglected to share their story. Rather than building their primary business by creating businesses that share their story (called attractions), they have chosen to become beggars, deepening a poverty mentality by encouraging the populace to beg the government while the government begs every agency they can, driving the country deeper and deeper into debt. When asked why there has been so little investment by Bahamians in their own story, most say it is too risky. They feel it is better to wait for the wealthy foreign investor to take advantage of the more obvious opportunities, then complain that they could have done the same “if they had the support”. If someone would have insured them against failure they could have succeeded as well. Never mind the fact that every single book on business success at some point advises that failure is an important part of learning to succeed, Bahamians, by and large, think business failure is not an option.

“What if Columbus was wrong?”

We might all fall off the edge of a flat world.

Pat Rahming

September 30, 2015