That was my reaction when a coworker walked into my office and shared the news about Baha Mar chapter 11 filing.
Speculation about Baha Mar had been in the news for weeks. A lot was and still is riding on its success, so hearing that they filed for Bankruptcy was shocking and scary.
Since then all kind of sordid details have come out, and numerous accusations made from both sides. We learned about the shoddy Chinese work, the sabotage, the 1 billion in concessions, Izmirlian disrespect of the prime minister the list goes on…
At one point I opened the local paper online site and roughly 95% of the articles were about Baha Mar. But rather than get involved in the feeding frenzy, one thing occurred to me very early in this fiasco…
The Mega Development is dead in The Bahamas.
Or at least it should be, if we have any sense. I’ll go even further; we need to move quickly to diversify our economy so that Tourism is no longer our main bread-winner.
We give up way too much in concessions to attract foreign direct investment only to gain a few low-level jobs.
In the case of Baha Mar it’s apparent that our Government bet too much on the success of this one development.
Placing the entire economy in danger if it fails. We cannot do this ever again.
Big resort development is no longer a sound model for national development in my opinion.
Its time we focus on sustainable development that empowers Bahamians. Its time we develop our number one natural resource: our people.
Lets empower Bahamians to be entrepreneurs; to own our industries rather than continuing to depend on outside investment. Opening a business should be a breeze not the headache it is currently. Lets lower taxes, reduce overhead and give local Bahamians the kind of concessions that the big foreign investors enjoy.
Entrepreneurship and innovation is the only way forward for us as a people. Tourism is an increasingly volatile and risky industry for us with diminishing returns.
We need to move on. Now. Before it’s too late.