Jerry Roker for Bahamas Press
We are two weeks post Easter and Spring is in full bloom. But the level of uncivility and bad-boy behavior in our country is too prevalent. Be it in our Parliament, in the discourse between management and union leaders, in our workplace, or in our homes.
Despite the naysayers, and those who are seeking to benefit from us doing ‘bad’, i remain optimistic over the future of my Bahamas. The delay at Bahamar, as unfortunate as it is, will soon pass and when it does, we all will be in for a good ride.
Although we will be facing plenty of competition to our south, with the opening of Cuba, The Bahamas still has special qualities that remain appealing to visitors, especially our global reputation for some of the friendliest people in the world.
The real challenge is whether we will be able to harness all of our resources in a manner that would enhance the Island’s image as a travel destination not to be missed.
Putting our best foot forward will require a greater co-operative spirit between Government, the Opposition, unions and management in the private sector, and most of all the people who keep the Island machine running. Everyone has a role to play, no matter how small it may seem.
Keeping our Island steady is going to place heavier demands on leaders because, from time to time, disputes arise, and muscle flexing can become so heated that disruptions on the labour front leave most of the populace feeling like pawns in a chess game. Over the years we have seen countless disputes spill over into work stoppages that clog our economic machine, and this is not positive for unions or management because, in the end, before the dust settles, there is loss somewhere, and most of the time it is with the people.
Unions must be respected for the key role they play in representing workers, just as management must be respected for their role to keep an operation viable. It will never be an easy task for the two sides to see eye to eye on most issues, and that too is to be expected.
Most Bahamians are in favour of hammering out labour disputes in the interest of reaching settlements that benefit both the workers and management. However, many feel the bargaining table should be the place to deal with issues, rather than dropping tools as a form of protest.
We know that is easier said than done, but this is not a time to repeat mistakes that often make it more difficult to regain our economic footing. Before any labour dispute reaches the boiling point — and most of us are not experts on what is involved in delicate negotiations — no stone should be left unturned in the use of common sense and reason in an effort to avoid major disruptions that have a negative effect on our tourist industry and The Bahamian people.
There are many complex problems that need sorting out, but we have the ability to move forward as long as logic and common sense are core elements.
The Bahamas needs a success story and with Bahamar about to open, we need our strengths focused on keeping our Island product in the best possible shape.
One does not have to be working in the industry to be an ambassador. A warm greeting, providing someone with directions, or being more careful on the roads will go a long way towards putting our best foot forward. The ball is in our court. And if we handle it with care and don’t turn it over, the announcer will always end is broadcast with the words: Game, set, match, The Bahamas!