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Putting Bahamians Back to Work


A national conversation on creating jobs.

jobsPrime Minister Perry Christie says 43,000 new jobs are needed to reduce the record unemployment levels.

That figure might be based on achieving 100% employment, which, while a noble goal, may not be possible in today’s world.

If Mr Christie were able to reduce unemployment to 5-6%, even his staunchest critics would applaud him.

Jobs are important from both an economic and social standpoint. The more people who are working, the more money is being put into the economy. And when people have jobs, especially young men, they are less likely to cause trouble, thereby reducing crime.

Should jobs creation be the PLP’s number one priority?  Tell us what you think in the comments.

In its pre-election charter, the Progressive Liberal Party said it created 22,000 jobs in its last term in office (2002-2007). That figure has been challenged and never been confirmed. More importantly, the charter committed the PLP to surpassing that figure over the next five years.

According to the document, the PLP’s job creation plan will be anchored in four areas:

1. effective promotion of The Bahamas at home and abroad;

2. the removal of impediments to business so that government facilitates the growth of business;

3. increasing opportunities to dramatically expand the role of Bahamians as employers

4. have the government act as a direct investor in carefully defined circumstances.

If we can pump up tourism by exploring new markets, and get the airlift we need, we can create thousands of jobs in the hospitality industry.

Some people complain because many of those jobs would be bussing tables or changing sheets, but there are a lot of people who would be happy just to be back to work.

And no doubt, there is much room for growth in the creation of jobs in other industries.

The Bahamas Agricultural & Industrial Corporation (BAIC) has some good ideas along the lines of handicrafts manufacturing and agriculture. Both these areas would not only create jobs, they would also allow much more money to stay here in The Bahamas as imports could be reduced.

Entrepreneurship and completely new types of jobs need also to be created. As Mr Christie said yesterday, “…we have to find innovative ways to create jobs.”


In his comments yesterday, Mr Christie also said:

“The country obviously needs to be in a position where we begin a national conversation on how we are going to go about sourcing those jobs, [and] where they’re going to come from.”

Let’s start that conversation.

Do you have solutions to reduce unemployment?  Tell us in the comments.

15 thoughts on “Putting Bahamians Back to Work

  1. I think there is great potential in Internet business. The banks need to come through on their promise to deliver online banking services and we need to make the .bs domain system less costly and more efficient.

    1. I agree. While unemployed one of my adult sons was managing his Ebay site selling collectable sports cards quite well until he made queries about how he could access funds from his PayPal account. I had helped him get set up using funds put on a prepaid Visa. After finding out he was located in Nassau, Ebay took the remainder of their “dues” and promptly shut him down. Many of his customers were very disappointed. He had delays of weeks getting funds via postal orders! He had visited Central Bank to get advice but they were unhelpful because (I expect) he had no collateral. Shame on a government that will not assist a smart young man trying to survive. 🙁

  2. I like what BAIC is doing with agriculture and handicrafts. When I attend the handicraft expos, many of the products are too similar. Perhaps there could be more diversity in product offerings.

  3. First and foremost, governments do not create jobs. They can prevent them with an unstable and unpredictable business environment, regulations and tax burdens however.

  4. The job of the Government is not to create jobs, but to foster an environment that encourages and facilitates job creation in the private sector. I hope that a large portion of these 43,000 ‘jobs’ are not created by sending people to the likes of Bahamasair and BEC just to ensure that they have an income.

  5. If they’re serious about jobs they need to get serious about education as 90% of the young men they wish to employ “graduate” as functionally illiterate and are therefore for the most part unemployable.

    1. Excellent point Ian. It is hard to find jobs for uneducated or unskilled workers. Education and jobs creation must be addressed together. I will be talking about education in an upcoming blog post and look forward to your comments.

  6. The Bahamas government needs to concentrate on reducing the cost of electricity and gasoline so the Bahamians who already have jobs can afford to take care of their families! A happy Bahamian will bring tourism back to the Bahamas.

    The horrible attitude of the people here is driving tourism away from the islands. Bahamians have always been the draw to tourism… and with tourism… will come jobs.

    Drop the duty and pave the roads! People will want to come and build homes on roads that are paved and where the utilities are put in and ready for development.

    Putting in utilities and paving the roads will employ many people. Did you ever hear of the WPA in the 1940’s in the United States? It put people to work!

    This PLP government should do something… rather than making promises. 5 years is a long time to do nothing. Graft and greed and corruption in the government has robbed the Bahamas of all of it’s dignity and respect.

    Turning over a government every 5 years accomplishes nothing if there are not strict goals and objectives that the people in charge are dedicated to carry through.

    Dedication… do they know the meaning of the word?

  7. Education should be the priority of the government. Creating jobs when you do not have the skill level to fill them does not help, and sadly this is what we are facing here in The Bahamas. The education levels are very poor – so i hope they do not make jobs up in government offices just to ‘pay’ people – the government job positions are already overfilled and most people are not efficient in their jobs.

  8. The government needs to reduce stamp tax on real estate purchases. For every home sold it creates several jobs. The stamp tax is double what it should be.

  9. The Bahamas has high labour costs compared to some other countries. Plus the cost of doing business is higher than many other jurisdictions; high electricty costs, duties and freight (shipping) add to the problems. This makes it difficult to attract international companies to locate certain operations here.

  10. I grew up between Cuba, Miami and the Bahamas. Tourism is clearly the #1 resource and opportunity to expand the economy and reduce unemployment IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR! I hear little about what I feel is the #2 opportunity.

    To expand the economy and reduce unemployment. We have seven hundred islands surrounded by WATER that can grow lobster, conch, oysters, grouper, clams,mussels, shrimp, crabs and even seaweed without ruining the ecology or the most beautiful beaches in the world!! Where are the Marine Biologists and Icthihyologists to attract the PRIVATE capital to develop Marine Agriculture?

    Capt. Lu Rivas

  11. First of all I agree with another Bahamian who feels that every high school student in the private and public sector should be interviewed in Grade 12 to find out their intentions upon graduation. Those who do not have a real plan or are completely undecided should be given mentors to help them decide on a future career path. The young persons that drop out of high school in Grade 12 need to be monitored and targeted it should be made mandatory that they return to school or enroll in a GED program in order to have at least the basics for graduating.

    The students that are involved in vocational studies at school could be hired by local businesses on weekends or school breaks and given a salary while they are interning. This will teach them responsiblity and encourage them to want to work for a living instead of taking the easy way out. Parents who have buisnesses should also hire their 12th grade children to work in the family business in order to learn the trade even if is is not their intended path of career at least they would have gotten some on the job training.

    Making it easier for private sectors to operate would also help tremendously with the unemployment rate. Increasing the chances of students going to college and succeeding will also ease the burden on the economy when they return to work for the betterment of their country. Encouraging small businesses and first time business owners to promote, enhance and develop their businesses will ease the burden as well. Once more people can afford to take care of themselves and their families then more homes would be purchased, more companies and infrastructures built, which means more employment.

  12. Several good points mentioned among the comments we’ve received.

    There seems to be a growing concensus here that education/training has a lot to do with the success of any jobs creation programme. Also, that it is the private sector that must take the lead in such programmes, and that the government’s role should be to create an environment conducive to business growth.

    It is sad that so many of our government officials and top civil servants, directly responsible for such policy creation, avoid conversations like this. Instead, they prefer to issue soundbites, promises and platitudes to the media, rather than engaging in a direct solution-seeking discussion with “we the people”.

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