Bahamas Not Ready For WTO

Wednesday 22nd, September 2010 / 10:29 Published by

The Bahamas is a rogue nation when it comes to the enforcement of intellectual property rights.

With a reputation for piracy dating back 500 years, both the government and a majority of the Bahamian public are complicit in the violation of copyrights.

Cable Bahamas, the nation’s cable TV monopoly, has for years made a profit reselling stolen television satellite signals.

Pirated DVDs and CDs of music and movies are avilable on street corners throughout the country.

Straw market displays are draped with fake designer bags and jewelry.

Yet, boldy and foolishly, the Bahamas is seeking full World Trade Organization membership.

As a straw vendor would say, “ya mussy jokin!”

This past weekend, nine Bahamian straw vendors were arrested in NYC on charges of trafficking in counterfeit goods.

The arrest of the vendors is more proof that the Bahamas is not serious in enforcing its intellectual property rights (IPR) obligations and is nowhere near living up to the commitments that would be required for acceptance into the World Trade Organization.

For years, manufacturers and the United States government have been warning the Bahamas that it must comply with agreements that it signs.  Yet, for years, the Bahamas has hidden behind its veil of sovereignty as the government and the police continually look the other way on trade violations.

In fact, foreign law enforcement officers have gone so far as to accuse the Royal Bahamas Police Force of being “complicit” in the violation of intellectual property rights.

Not surprising given the fact that police and defence force officers are also involved in auto theft, drug trafficking and human smuggling.

It is unlikely that the Bahamas government will get around to enforcing intellectual property rights anytime soon, when they do not even take action against rogue officers involved in other more heinous crimes.

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