“Bahamas Aerial View Htconem8 Aerialphotography Fromthewindowseat FlyTheWhale Oneography HTC The Bahamas” by Daniel Piraino is licensed under CC BY 2.0
When you tell people that you live in the Bahamas, 95% of the time they tell you “Oh, you are on vacation 365 days a year.” Sure, this archipelagic country, encompassing 700 islands and a population of barely 400,000, has the most beautiful beaches and sunsets. However, enjoying a privileged offshore location barely 70 miles away from the Florida coast and aspiring to imitate countries such as Singapore, the country is currently assessing how it can become more competitive. Indeed, while for the rest of the world the Commonwealth of The Bahamas is a picture of paradise, the country also faces day to day challenges like any other.
With a GDP per capita of approximately USD 25,000, The Bahamas is much wealthier than its neighboring Caribbean countries. However, over the last 15 years, Government Effectiveness has been declining steadily, affecting service delivery and the business environment. The Bahamas has scored low on sub-indicators and processes such as registering a property (183 out of 189), starting a business (118 out of 189), and getting electricity (114 out of 189), critical indicators for the country’s development efforts.
Last June, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) co-organized a joint seminar “Putting The Bahamas Ahead of the Wave: New Avenues to Embrace Innovation, Transparency and Service Delivery” with the Government of The Bahamas. The Bahamas’ Prime Minister, the Attorney General, other Cabinet Ministers and Permanent Secretaries, as well as a representative from the Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Colombia, actively participated and contributed to the Seminar. Attendees learned of innovative practices from other countries in the region and plotted a way forward for the continued improvement of government service delivery.
A document containing concrete recommendations and actions outlined during the event will be produced. It will provide details on the next steps to encourage innovation, transparency and the enhancement of government services in the country, in alignment with the vision contained in the National Development Plan (NDP), which was previously developed with IDB’s financial and technical support. This document is expected to be the roadmap for the implementation of the Governance Pillar of the NDP. This document will be prepared by the Office of The Prime Minister with the assistance of the IDB, before being presented to the Cabinet.
The Government of the Bahamas recognizes the need to improve on key governance indicators by addressing the downstream side of public service delivery, transparency and accountability. Moreover, Bahamians have been consistently asking for a more effective dialogue between them and their government, especially on defining the actions that need to be taken to address the situation described above. Therefore, a new strategy has been launched to get the message right. By having a communications Specialist on board, coordinating efforts between the IDB and the government, the seminar pro-actively penetrated social- and all the other media. Below you can find a short list of links that demonstrate the outcomes of the seminar.
You can join the discussion on The Bahamas’ governance challenges in social media. Participate by sharing your thoughts and proposals for the Governance Pillar of the NDP on Twitter and Facebook. Your recommendations could be included in the final document. Remember, make these challenges your own to improve lives together in The Bahamas!
 As measured by the World Bank