On May 7, 2012, many young Bahamians exercised their right to vote in an election for the first time. But it is this generation lured by promises of a better Bahamas that continues to suffer the consequences of continually failing government policies. The Bahamas has an overall unemployment rate of 14 percent that surges to nearly 31 percent for those between the ages of 15 and 24.
It is this generation of discouraged Bahamians who asks where are the promised 10,000 jobs? The government’s answer: An inadequate campaign to expel domestic staff in the pursuit of a so-called Bahamians first policy. Surely, the government can do more to inspire, develop and meet the career aspirations of our children? To the misfortune of our young, simply being Bahamian will neither improve educational aptitude, nor professional qualifications.
Spending on education has not doubled as promised. Repeatedly passed for seemingly more pressing matters of webshops and lottery, poor education now stands as a significant barrier of entry to the workplace. A point of consternation reiterated by the Bahamian business community and acknowledged in a recent Inter-American Development (IDB) report.
Yet this government prefers to appease the cronies of independence, while our youth stand idle with dangerous temptation. They naively listen to the PLP’s ongoing eulogy of a glorious era under Sir Lynden Pindling that seldom touches on the problems of drugs and corruption during those times. They dream of the yesteryear of independence because this is a government that prefers the past to the present. They cheer the creation of a holiday to celebrate majority rule, while our Parliament bars entry to young people when they seek accountability.
The College of The Bahamas Union of Students (COBUS) made a laudable attempt to express its dismay for college fee increases but saw its efforts dashed by ridiculous assertions that the peaceful and professionally-dressed student group was a security threat. Unlike Spain and Greece, our youth have not marched en masse on Rawson Square to demand change.
In its second year, this government must reaffirm its commitment to education and make it a priority. It must showcase talented Bahamians whose intellectual prowess has lead to success. It must advocate scholastic achievement through hard work and dedication to study. It must engrain in the minds of our youth that education is the key to success. Most importantly, the government must engage this next generation of Bahamians in the process and administration of government.
They are the future Bahamas.
Editorial from The Nassau Guardian