JR. Thank you for the clarification. You make a good point that more often than not good planning of and the setting of parameters do not go into the mix when programs are put in place. Social Services was swamped because no one anticipated that so many would be seeking assistance. Our country appears to have no mechanisms or statistics in place to be able to make educated guesses. As to hotel ownership, again you are right. The government of that day made such a mess of ownership because they thought they could run the show. We certainly wasted a lot of taxpayer money on that fiasco. And a lot of mistrust was involved because it was plain to see political patronage and the resultant graft was the order of the day. However, if we could be assured that the government would remain a SILENT partner your suggestion would probably work. It is a little late in the day but it is worth a try. To be successful we have to bring our tourist numbers up though and with what is hapening in the world that is going to be difficult to do. It is my belief that we must now stop the constuction of any more mega hotels and concentrate on small resorts on each of our family islands. The government must make it a lot easier for Bahamians, with good plans, to access land and be given adequate concessions and the expertise help that will ensure their success. Bloggers can influence the “powers that be” but only if they give constructive criticism followed by good doable suggestions. Thanks for your imput and I look forward to more of the same.
And I do believe that because the politicians from both sides read this blog, whenever they push an issue and we comment on it, the government and opposition do take notes. i’ve watched channel 40 a number of times and heard points raised by BP and the rest of the bloggers come up in the House of Assembly by members so that means they are watching. If they are watching, they can be influenced and I think BP is doing it slowly but surely.
Hate em or love em, you have to give BP props for that effect.
Joe, you didn’t clarify what programs you were referring to so i simply concluded you were talking about the same programs the PM had mentioned in his various public statements. These are programs he mentioned but never gave details on and no matter how many times he has been asked, he failed to give details. But lets take your examples anyway. The assistance program that was announced over a couple of months ago by Mr. Ingraham is a classic example of him not thinking through an idea that is good in concept and poor in execution.
People flooded the social services offices looking for the handouts and the system was abused because nothing was done to make sure people got what they were supposed to get, who was qualified, what the qualifications were, etc. Now how can the media make a difference with any of this if there was poor planning to begin with? Same thing with the mortgage assistance the PM mentioned. No details. You can’t expect the media to tell the public what they themselves don’t know. That was my problem and that is what I addressed.
Now if you wanted a discussion on solutions, all you had to do was say so. I won’t bring up an original idea but I do understand the reasoning behind the idea of buying Royal Oasis back and will share that in this post.
I think that there can definitely be a form of government participation in the hotel business from an ownership perspective. Unlike the generalized repeats of political talking points that you and Thomas gave that “the government needs to get out of the hotel business”, I feel differently. I think the mistake of the 80s when the government got into the hotel business was they dug in too deep as far as the operations aspect of hotels is concerned. That was a big mistake and one that I doubt any future government would make. Governments own hotels all over the world and there is no reason we can’t do it again either. Where governments fail is in trying to run them.
There is nothing stopping government however, from taking an ownership stake in these hotels and then partnering with well financed, reputable, recognized and competent hotel management partners to run the hotels. The country will make money from the branding licenses of the properties and from the associated licensing fees generated and its take as a partner. The management partner wins because they don’t have to invest as much money as they would have building a hotel from scratch plus we get to say how long they can stay here and if there is a problem, we can move them out and pick a new partner.
I think the safety net of the government owning these properties will also take the land issue off the table as far as campaigning is concerned because no foreign company would own the hotels. Whether a government does this or not remains to be seen but my view is we have nothing to lose and if nothing else, they should study the option because what happened with Royal Oasis should never happen again.
YOu don’t need smarts to own a hotel, just a lot of money to hire the smart people to run them and the government can certainly do that.
Thomas, I agree with you. Now is the time for action. The opposition for the most part have jumped on this crisis and everyone interested in being leader are having their say. We need solutions. Government has tried to run hotels before, a big disaster. The key is getting people to visit and spend money, if they don’t come it really doesn’t matter who owns the hotel.
Mr. Mitchell’s own party ( The PLP ), does not support the government getting into the hotel business again. We have been down that road before. The government is still bumbling and fumbling with the drivers’ licenses,and e-passports. Please; the government is failing at its primary responsibilities as it now stands.
I want to see men like Mitchell doing more and not just talking.That will impress people like me. Anyone can talk. Put together the financing and buy the hotel yourself is all I am saying and stop relying on others whom you have no confidence in anyway, based on the public record.
JR: A certain segment of our society has long been able to access the services of the Social Services dep’t. I was speaking about those who have never had to use this avenue. Protocols for access were established long before now, so your observation has no merit. If you are referring to the unemployment plan ,though not new to industrialized nations, it is a new concept here and I commend the government for taking some time to think it through and they have a little time as most redundant persons were given a package that should see them through till the New Year. BP has nothing to do with the sense of urgency they are feeling. It has to do with the crisis we are all faced with. I notice you come up with no possible solution to our problems and like so many in your party have an agenda only to “blame and shame”. I say Knock it off! You and your like are just making certain “fence sitters” like me will never be tempted to vote for your party of choice!!!
Joe, the media can’t tell people how to access the assistance the government is promising if the government hasn’t figured it out yet. That was a part of Mitchell’s criticism. Mr. Ingraham should have figured out how he was going to help before mentioning it because hurting people can’t wait for him to figure it out after the fact. Thanks to Bahamas Press, the sense of urgency may be hitting these politicians and if nothing else, this may be the time we see the good ones (Fred) step up and the bad ones (Carl, Laing) stall and do nothing.
Mitchell has some good points.
Mid-term suggestions. 1. Here is where the government of the day needs a select committee made up of members from both sides, as well as union members and business people to immediately set forth the governments’ idea of a temporary unemployment insurance scheme. There should be no more than 2 persons from each discipline, as a committee of more than 10 seldom gets anything accomplished. Even if they have to work 10 hours a day, they need to work out the perameters within a 3 month’s period. This, in the first instance’ being just for those made redundant due to the economic downturn.(They can afford that much time because the unemployed workers received redundancy packages that should carry them through for a period of time.) A second committee can work out a country wide scheme and this will be seen as a long term suggestion. 2. Proceed with the infrastuructural projects as suggested by the Prime Minister even if monies must be borrowed. Contracts should be veted carefully and go only to smaller Bahamian companies who are qualified to take on the projects. No favouritism allowed! 3. A priority must be to make our schools safe and sound. A specially hired team who work early evenings and week-ends be hired(qualified Bahamians of course) to put in a 40 hour week doing repairs with a view of being hired on a full time basis to make school repairs all year round. 4. All public service personel be put on a 4 day week. The savings to be put into the unemployment insurance scheme in the first instance. 5. Anyone who holds more than 1 taxi licence must give others up to be distributed to individuals who are now driving under lease. I believe this was the intention in the first place. 6. All elected officials, permanent secretaries,assistants and department heads be prepared on Jan.1 to return 10% of their salary for the duration of the crisis to be used for relief by the Social Services Unit. 7. Unions set up programs at their expense to retrain unemployed workers who are registered with the Department of labour, in a secondary field. 8, Churches organize to provide free daycare centres for those mothers who are actively seeking work or who are doing their hours of community service. Long term solutions to come next.
Joe Blow I see you have come up with some good solutions again, you are really making a lot of sense as usual.
F.M. makes some viable suggestions in his report. However, at present, people are looking for ways in which they can access some short term assistance. 1. We need to have newspapers, churches and ZNS develope an immediate stategy to let hurting people know how to access Social Services help. 2. Every school which doesn’t yet have a lunch program needs to institute one, free of charge to those children whose parents are unemployed so that they have at least on hot meal a day. 3. All food stores should ask their customers to purchase at least one non-perishable item to put in a bin to be delivered to a church in the area. The church can then pack up and deliver items to those families who are in dire circumstances. This could apply also to clothing items. 4. Service Clubs should begin an “adopt a family” program. Individuals as well as the club can be encouraged to participate. 5. Banks have been co-operating with the government re: mortgages and those accessing this interest only service need to understand that any relief they receive will have to be paid back as things get better. 6. Counseling needs to be offered to all those who acquired home mortgages, beyond their means to repay, as they may need to revert to renting. The government can assist by identifying units suitable for their needs and paying the security deposit and first month’s rent. 6. All able bodied persons accessing any of these services should be required to serve a set number of hours a month doing community service work. This will help with self-esteem as no one wants to receive what they might perseive to be charity. Mid term assistance next.
Thomas you have no faith in the Governments Ministry of Tourism. Didnt you hear about the approach the Minister want to take in bringing Tourist back to the Bahamas or do you share the view that the Government has no interest in Tourism and indeed Grand Bahama. It was suposed to be a Matter of Trust and Therefore sinse they are the Governmnet I give the Trust Agenda the benefit of the doubt. It can work only if we all partner in this together. Thomas you also share of the view that the FNM cannot fulfill the promise to have the Royal Oasis sold and open before 2010. The FNM made some big promises here in Grand Bahama including fixing the Port Authority issues. It has been worst sinse May 2nd, 2007. I stilltoday wonder why Grand Bahamians are inlove with the FNM yet they treat us with such Disrespect. Sad to say our people can sometimes be a sucker for punishment and people like Thomas are dillusional.
Thomas, your whole post is a contradiction. On one hand you say we can buy the hotel but how long will it take to fix and bring people in, but then you suggest putting together a safari tourism product and populating parts of Andros to do it. How long do you think that will take? There will have to be environmental impact studies if you’re talking about introducing non-indigenous animals to Andros. Even the amount of animals will have an effect. What means will be used to keep a safe buffer between the animals and the general population, especially during hunts as these hunters will be using real bullets. Then there is the issue of promotion. We are not known for this kind of niche tourism so we have to create that brand. How long do you think that will take? Probably longer than it would take to open up Royal Oasis and get tourists back to Freeport.
The next big contradiction in your post is where you say the people have no money so how can they pay half the mortgages if the investment act idea is considered but then you turn around and say for this same Safari idea, that money could be raised by IPO. Excuse me? Who do you think has money to put into an IPO? The rich are the only ones to benefit from this and the people in Nassau and Grand Bahama who are seeing their homes foreclosed on are not going to have money to support that or even benefit from it.
I think the ideas Fred spoke about should be considered but only as a part of the solution and he did say in his presentation that they were not the whole answer. The point is when enough people put ideas on the table, you can then pick and choose the pieces that will help. Your ideas aren’t bad but they aren’t even remotely close to solving the problem either. You need to put your torch down and give props
to Fred for at least trying. FNM supporters complain that the PLP hasn’t offered any ideas and when you hear good ideas, you shoot them down and have nothing better to replace them.
The people in New Providence need jobs. Mitchell says that they have no income. If the government buys and refurbishes the Royal Oasis, firstly, how long will it take to close any potential deal, refurbish the hotel, and then get it open? If there are no Tourists coming into Grand Bahama, what will be the point of the Hotel? What will the folk hired there be doing? How will they pay their bills ( Hotel)?
This thing about the investment act: why does the country need an investment act to accomplish what Mr. Mitchell envisions with respect to the buying of mortgages? And, even if this approach is followed, and the mortgage is slashed from 400 dollars to half that, if one has no income it does not matter.
We may want to look at the model that Jamaica used, ie, start an import replacement programme to create jobs. We need plants to produce every day items like toothpaste, soap, edible oils etc.These will create jobs, replace imports, and keep money here in The Bahamas.
We also need to exploit tourist that are interested in Safari tourism where they get to hunt wild animals. Andros has huge ares that can be seeded, and then exploited. Money can be raised by IPO, and directly from the public to do a lot of things, but our would be leaders need to show us the way by doing some of these things themselves instead of talking and trying to boost their own image.
Excellent Job by Hon. Fred Mitchell. He is really a representitive for Fox Hill and indeed The Bahamas. I am glad he is a member of Our Parliament. God bless and strengthen Mr. Mitchell and God help and bless the PLP
Say what you want about Fred Mitchell, he’s always eloquent and represents Fox Hill well. I wholeheartedly agree with his ideas….just stating the problem as our PM has will not help anyone. We know we’re in a crisis…I’m so sick of this mediocre government with their lame ass ideas. Sure there is a global crisis, but they ran our economy to the ground in less than 18 months… And have not done anything worthwhile since they took office. Look at us now! …”A MATTER OF TRUST”
Let us start here by saying, this is firstly the most sound approach to dealing with the crisis we have heard since the CRISIS BEGAN!
GREAT WORK FRED!
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