The Bahamas At 45: 5 Lessons We Should All Learn

On July 10, 1973, the Islands of the Bahamas, became an independent nation, while, also, remaining, as a part of the British Commonwealth. The nation began, with limited finances, etc, and little infrastructure. However, it also, fortunately, began with a focus, vision, goals, priorities, and somewhat, visionary leadership. Sir Lynden Pindling was the George Washington, of this nation, and served as Prime Minister, for the first 25 years, of its existence. In the early 1980's, when I was involved in managing and operating, a tourism business, focused on the Bahamas, I had the pleasure of meeting, for the first time, this amazing individual. We had several conversations over the following, nearly - two decades, and I developed a far better understanding of what our Founding Fathers, and those of most nations, must have, to some degree, underwent. There were certain decisions made from the onset, which directed the Bahamas, into the future. These included: 1) Capping the Bahamian dollar to the United States dollar; 2) Mandatory education; 3) A parliamentary, democratic government; 4) An infrastructure plan; 5) Commitment to employment; and, 6) a primary emphasis on banking, tourism, etc. This article will try to apply, some of the lessons learned, in terms of what, the rest of the world, might benefit by.
1. Mission and vision of Founder: Since there are limited natural resources, and the ability to compete, in terms of exporting products, is limited. Mr. Pindling determined, the emphasis should be on education, employment, banking, pegging currency/ money, and tourism. This meant focusing on friendliness, service, and attracting tourists, to come back, repeatedly. There were many challenges, but when one observes, the number of amazing hotels, restaurants, stores, etc, and the short - life of this nation, is inspiring!
2. How mistakes/ challenges are handled: Things did not always go, as smoothly, as the government hoped. In the mid - 1980's, the Cable Beach Hotel, and then, Crystal Palace, were built, as well as several other major projects, but many of these, were adversely impacted, by the downturn in the world economy. Rather than give - up, or proceed, negatively, they faced the challenges, admitted there were issues and challenges, but continued, in a focused way, towards a better future. When the largest project, ever planned, for the Caribbean region, was planned, and started, about a decade ago, hopes were high, but the original developer faced economic issues, there were many legal battles, etc, but finally, the $4.5 billion, Baha Mar Resort opened, and after, visiting last week, exceeded anyone's expectations! Persistence, etc, mattered!
3. Encourage foreign investment: When the Bahamas, became a nation, one of the primary objectives, was to ensure qualified Bahamian workers, received the bulk of the jobs, in any project, etc. That nation recognized, the need to encourage foreign investment and investors, but, to also, protect citizens. Major projects such as the Atlantis, the Towne, the Baha Mar, and others, followed these principles. Many nations and banks, have a significant economic presence on these Islands, including: China; the United States; Canada; United Kingdom; etc.
4. Infrastructure needs: Roads have been designed, and improved, constantly, throughout the nation's history! There is now, an International airport (Sir Lynden Pindling International Airport), which is modern, and a quality one. Bahamian Pride is real, and has been, throughout, and its flag, as explained to me, by Pindling, included 3 colors - blue, for the color of the sky and water; yellow, for the sun; and, black, to represent the skin color, of the vast majority of its citizens. In a nation, representing various races, and nationalities/ ethnicities, there is a relevantly low degree of racial biases, etc.
5. Overcome obstacles: This country has proceeded, and overcome many obstacles, because it proceeds, with an attitude and focus, o challenges, rather than problems!
If the Bahamas, in its short history, can be, where it is, and, although, still having to face many future challenges, shouldn't all of us learn some lessons? I've witnessed many changes in the nearly 40 years, I have visited, and must admit, I am inspired by the progress, to date!
Richard has owned businesses, been a COO, CEO, Director of Development, consultant, professionally run events, consulted to thousands, conducted personal development seminars, and worked on political campaigns, for 4 decades. Rich has written three books and thousands of articles. Website: and LIKE the Facebook page for common sense current events:
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