By Jerry Roker
for Bahamas Press
Depending on whether or not you are PLP or FNM, black or white, working class or upper class, employed or unemployed, own or rent a home, the political landscape will run the gamut of being fantastic and inspirational, even aspirational, to being darn right awful and hopeless.
Though many black Bahamians, even those closely aligned with whites, will not openly admit it, they privately complain that The Bahamas’ political, commercial, economic and, of late, recreational landscape, is hugely advantages to whites to the near exclusion of black Bahamians
Against such a backdrop, rightly or wrongly, the FNM is seen as the champion of white privilege and the business class, while the PLP is seen as the affiliate of the labour class and the majority of blacks. Perception is reality.
To be frank, the FNM, based on there recent pronouncements, would fight the present recession and budget deficit, as they did before, by employing a one-sided expenditure cutting approach, off the backs of the working class, with scant regard for gathering income from the revenue side, ie the business sector, local or foreign. This policy would result in freezing wages and or public sector redundancies, increasing unemployment, slashing scholarships, and squeezing existing workers to work more for less, in a rising price economy. The private sector would no doubt follow their lead.
Under the FNM, we had a return to the centuries-old trickle-down monopolistic economy, in the control of the numerically smaller white business class since 1729, and their continued domination resulted in the inequitable distribution of the wealth of this society. The FNM’s economic system was designed to produce that precise result ad infinitum. Accordingly, unless and until they are prepared to denounce and upend or even out that distorting socioeconomic paradigm, in my view they are not worthy of the opportunity to govern.
Moving forward, I believe that if we want to grow the middle class, and move citizens out of poverty, and generally arrest economic inequality, the solution, of course, is to reduce or remove the regressive inequitable tariff system and replace it with a more direct progressive and proportional taxation system which includes a reasonable tax on appropriate levels of capital gains, investments, wealth and the like. Yes, of lucrative companies, both local and international which manage and control billions of dollars through our country annually. While we are at it, let’s give the somnolent and relatively docile Central Bank more “teeth” and wrest control of our monetary policy from the hands of the private financial institutions which dictate our residential and commercial interest rates in particular to the detriment and enslavement of our kind.
I submit that these economic, financial, public finance rearrangements, will over time beneficially enhance the political, and otherwise, landscape of The Bahamas for everyone.