In a recent post, I admitted my regret at my generation’s role in the raising of almost two generations of spoilt, entitled young Bahamians. Several of the responses indicated tht many of you agreed, and were pleased at the admission. So, what now?

Well, rather than trying to be more adult than we were, our children (you) have chosen to approach nation-building as though it is someone else’s job. Based upon your behavior, you apparently assume you are SUPPOSED to have systems in place that create good governance, a “level playing field” and your fair piece of the pie. And when you find   that they are not, your response is to throw a tantrum. None of it is your responsibility.

For example, you demand accountability (and are prepared to give your support to any politician that promises it to you) but take no responsibility for your role in establishing it. When you hire someone, YOU are first of all responsible for their performance. The only way you can live up to that responsibility is to have consequences in the employment contract, including the power to fire them. Otherwise they are not accountable to you and you can’t be accountable to your organization. So how you can demand accountability before demanding the inclusion of consequences in the contracts you sign with your political representatives is a mystery. In fact it’s just plain irresponsible. Your responsibility is to demand better contracts, not stand in the doorway screaming that your employee is not being accountable.

Another of your demands is that your voice be heard. Most people who know me are painfully aware that I believe the Bahamas is the ONLY country ON THE PLANET that has no device for the inclusion of its citizens in the governance of their country. That is the primary role of local government. That, and training people for involvement in public life. It is the curious that almost everything the “We March” effort wants is accomplished by the introduction of an autonomous system of local government. It is your responsibility to control the political agenda, but to do that you have to be adults, making strategic demands that lead to important goals. Are the goals laid out in political party platforms your goals? Most are not my most urgent. For example, most of your current demands are only realistic in the context of a system of local government, and it’s not possible to have accountability without recall. While several parties may have mentioned these, none has made it a major part of their platform, just an afterthought. Those are the pivotal issues for the present, and they are required if you are to live up to your responsibility to ensure a future for your children that is better crafted than the one we crafted for you. No real forward movement is possible without these two factors.

There is no such thing as a level playing field. The only people looking for one are those destined to be the losers. Excellence will always be more favoured than average, and it is your choice which to be. You do NOT have the right to own a house, a car or property. You either pay for them with your own sweat or with the power you give away to politicians. Wealth creation will always be more sustainable than job creation, but it is easier to choose the latter, and to support those who promise you the easy way out. On the other hand, you must eventually come to the realization that there is no such thing as job security (although government jobs may come close) or free lunches.

It is time to build a nation. If we did a poor job, that is not a good enough reason for you to accept that you have no responsibility toward your children. You clearly have no clear idea what building a nation requires, and hope some “leader” will do the research for you, and all you have to do is get him elected. You ignore the key functions needed to create or sustain a country as if you are exempt from needing to develop them. The reason for creating a country is the satisfaction of a whole array of human needs, not the admission to International bodies. How are you addressing those needs? Not very well, I believe. Your complete focus appears to be on basic survival. Despite being the richest nation in the Caribbean, your entire focus is on begging for hand-outs, whether from Government, rich people or the IDB. Learning how to run the family business (Tourism) is not one of your concerns. As my friend Eddie Minnis says, “We’re living in a “me” generation”. Sadly, you are raising your children to be more dependent and bigger bigots than we raised you, teaching them that race, class, party affiliation and national origin are more important than responsibility.

It is time to grow up. Get over your youth. For every Mark Zuckerberg there are a billion ordinary, waiting-to-be-responsible young people just like you. Thinking that your superior tools make you superior to your parents has so far only gotten you a place on the corner begging. 90% of all progress is plain old hard work. We may be sorry we’ve left you a poor inheritance (that appears to be the way you see it) but that is not an excuse to do the same to your children.

It’s time to get over yourselves and get down to the job of building the nation you inherited. No political regime will do it for you. No “leader” will do it for you. You have to ask yourself, “What must I do to build the greatest little country in the world?” Then get off your arrogance and do it.

Advertisements