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Bahamas Has Bigger Problems Than Gambling

Our political, religious and community leaders are so extensively engaged on the subject of gambling, that we are ignoring other problems and incidents in our country.  It is hoped, that the contents of this letter will assist in getting them to focus in other areas.

The notable increase in fatal traffic accidents.

In recent years, I sent a copy of the Trinidad & Tobago laws relative to mandatory breathalyzer tests. It helped in that country to reduce traffic accidents due to “drunk driving.”

The health hazards imposed upon us due to smoking in public places.

In recent years, I sent a copy of the Trinidad & Tobago laws relative to this unhealthy practice, which is very well known to our medical practitioners.

Both of the laws mentioned were sent to the appropriate Cabinet Ministers of the former government. I received no response or heard of any effort being made to discuss either. The letters and documents were hand delivered.

Illegal Immigration

For decades, a problem. Bahamians are annoyed at the gross negligence displayed in dealing with the problem.

Our Cabinet Ministers, past and present, have made vexing statements, such as; the difficulty to deal with “Shanty Towns” due to the ownership of the land of which they are built”, government having to appoint a committee involving the Bahamas Christian Council to find a humane way to deal with the matter.

The increasing bold entries of illegal immigrants to the Island of New Providence.

Governments are aware of the health problems to which residents are exposed; cholera, etc.

It is very well known, that the shanty towns are built without the approval of the Ministry of Works’ Town Planning Department and the structures breach Bahamas building codes.

It is known that electricity is being stolen and that buckets of excreta and other waste are deposited in nearby bushes.

We have very capable heads of our law enforcement agencies, who can deal with the matter humanely without interference from the church or government ministers.

Just tell them to deal with the problem and to eliminate it from all over The Bahamas.

I stand by my statement, that the US authorities are deporting persons here, who are not Bahamian citizens and can prove it, with names of some of those deportees.

Non-payment of taxes

In 2007, the figure was $800 million. Most of the money owed to government is for Real Property Tax and some huge arrears in Casino taxes.

I am told that the figure now is about one billion dollars. The money is not owed by the “small man”, but by persons, who can afford to pay.

Our leaders are not telling us if the money is being collected.

We are not hearing anything about the effort to collect the huge debt, but we are hearing of the likelihood of new taxes.

The general belief among certain people is if you are indebted to government you don’t have to pay.

Congratulations to the straw market administrator, who took action and collected government money.

The same applies to the NlB chairman, who took similar action. One wonders how the public service could allow persons for years to avoid paying taxes.

The media has to be more inquisitive in obtaining information on so many such matters and informing the public of their findings, e.g. whatever happened to the investigation of the Ministry of Tourism scandal, which was exposed by efficient and concerned public servants.

We so often hear about these investigations, but never get the results.

The performance of the Royal Bahamas Police Force does not receive the credit it deserves for its performance under pressure and crime.

I am very satisfied with the work they are doing in the area of major crimes and look forward to more effort in the area of minor crime.

If we all work together, we can eradicate the crime problem, but our leaders must display the trust and respect of our law enforcement agencies and let them do their job without interference!

Paul Thompson Sr
Nassau, Bahamas
November, 2012
Mr Thompson is the retired Assistant Commissioner of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
He was recently photographed for the Bahamian Project.

Posted in Opinions

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