In the Business Section of the September 17th edition of The Nassau Guardian, under the headline “Wilchcombe lauds PM’s proposed straw goods delivery system” there is an upsetting reference to the cruise ships banning Bahamian straw goods due to a supposed ‘red palm mite’ infestation. As the co-founder of a new community organization called “Creative Nassau” (www.creativenassau.com) whose mandate is to promote and celebrate the Bahamian straw industry and our Junkanoo traditions, I was quite concerned to read about this ban as it has the potential to have a direct detrimental effect on our straw industry.
Apparently the government has stated that the cruise ships were incorrect in their assertions and nothing further has been heard on the issue. It is hoped that government has taken a firm stance and made strong objection against any such incidents in the future, because once again there is an imbalance in our state of affairs when our dependence on external forces dictate how we must respond to them.
Are we to be masters of our own fate, or be enslaved and beholden to them because of their threats to pull out from this destination? If we refer to a recent letter to the editor written by Dr Rhonda Chipman-Johnson which highlights the power that these behemoths hold over us, we need to take stock of who we are as a nation, and let these entities know who controls this pillar of our economy.
In the same article the minister speaks of the development of an e-commerce portal for the sale of Bahamian souvenirs which leads us right back to another issue of the country being dictated to by the foreign banks, the second pillar of our economy, which pepper this nation. Whilst Bahamians send millions of dollars out of the country on a regular basis through the purchase of foreign goods online by credit card, Bahamian businesses are held hostage by foreign banks and have to jump through all sorts of hoops to establish reciprocal e-commerce networks for the sale of Bahamian products in order to get money coming into the country! So if the minister and the prime minister are they need to take a stand to facilitate the proper development of the Bahamian people’s businesses.
Are we truly independent, or are we content to merely show lip service and remain enslaved to these foreign masters? Man up, government!