The other day ‘Tru da Con-ah’, the guys and I were discussing among other things, governments’ role and obligations to their people.
Ray-ray, a well respected neighbor and a methodical thinker, opined that, “The government failing us man! Ya see all us fellas tru dis con-ah een work’n… It een no jobs round, and these politicians een check’n.”
While Ray-ray was ranting about how tough things are these days, my mind wondered off, and I began to imagine how our grandfathers provided for their homes and built this country with little or no help from governments, political handouts, cronyism, nepotism, or social services vouchers.
So I said to Ray-ray, “Imagine the 1930s, and grandpa and grandma in a family of 12 children.
Grandpa toiling in the heat of the day for the family’s sole income, as grandma, queen of the domestic affairs, ensures that all under her roof are well fed, properly groomed, healthy, and above all, they are educated, disciplined and cultured.”
I also added that no matter how grave the economic situation, grandpapa’s single income secured his wife and his children.
Furthermore, no one in grandpa’s generation sought to engage in criminal activities to subsidize their short falls in tough times.
If the family image I painted above is remotely typical of the early and mid 1900s, then I am afraid to admit that our generation may be moving in the wrong direction.
To illustrate the severity of our predicament, I sometimes refer to our digression in simple Bahamian vernacular, a generation ‘reversing backwards.’
Our generation has seen the greatest advances in technologies, educational opportunities, innovative ideas, political, economical, and social policies, and furthermore, the size of our families has shrunk from 12 to four at most; yet we accomplish considerably less, and struggle from day to day to make ends meat.
There are a number of factors that can account for the increasing inability of this generation to keep pace with the successes enjoyed by our forefathers.
First and foremost, the cost of living index is rising exponentially, and the educational obligations of parents to their children are growing more costly as society advances.
Also, with the advent and rise in new and chronic diseases, health care is becoming an expensive necessity.
However, the single most influential component which sets our generation in reverse is our diminished holdings and control in land.
Again I said to Ray-ray, “Imagine grandpa at age 21 marries the 16 year old love of his life, and as a wedding gift his father gives him a few acres to build a home and till the land.
“Immediately grandpa is starting his new life with an investment that will cost you and I today an estimated B$250’000.— plus 9 percent interest over a 30 year period.”
If our generation collectively is to maintain its wealth and halt the digression we should first of all control our interest in our country’s land.
We must monitor land sales to foreign investors, which notwithstanding the economic benefit to the public treasury, in most cases pushes the cost of land outside the market of the average Bahamian family.
Bahamian families with access to large parcels of land should ensure that their legal interests or estates are kept within their families and used as an economic factor to production or a similar alternative.
Maybe one day Ray-ray and I along with others ‘Tru da Con-ah’ will organize ourselves, become informed, and slow the tide of wealth erosion in our generation.
Maybe we will be able to secure our most valuable resource, ‘our land’ and do what others have done else-where; use it to create wealth for ourselves.
Maybe we will be able persuade our governments to vigilantly monitor and regulate the sale of crown land, and in addition hopefully we will monitor the use of land already within our private possession.
I am reminded of the words of one of our learned neighbors ‘Tru da Con-ah’, “A true Bahamian is he/she that legally possesses the land.”
By: David Jordine
From The Freeport News