Letter to all nominated candidates seeking election: Commit to good governance

Letter to all nominated candidates seeking election: Commit to good governance
Senate and House of Assembly in Parliament Parliament Square.

Dear prospective candidates,

As the National Election rapidly approaches, the Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG) commends your leadership and interest in public service and calls on you to publicly commit to actionable, realistic and sustainable reform on areas that have long prohibited the forward development and progress of The Bahamas.

ORG views your attention to these matters as vitally necessary to achieving a thriving Bahamas where accountable and transparent governance allows every citizen, business and group a meaningful say in decisions that affect their future while being provided equal access to opportunities.

Despite acknowledgment of the need for improvement in accountability, transparency, effectiveness and efficiency in governance by subsequent administrations, there remains significant long-standing issues. Additionally, economic development, fiscal management and education all remain critical issues needing to be addressed in a more comprehensive manner.

Bahamians have endured what can only be defined as an extraordinary two years, having survived both Hurricane Dorian and now the COVID-19 pandemic. With every social and economic challenge that arises, the choice of who to entrust the duty of leading our communities and country at large has become increasingly important.

While ORG acknowledges that some progress has been made, the status quo in governance and politics has not been able to sufficiently address these problems and has in fact created massive inefficiencies by perpetuating substandard governance practices. The behind-closed-doors, ultra-political environment that has prevailed for years does not support the creation and completion of modern, open, inclusive, data-driven, long-term solutions and policies that are necessary for the positive and sustainable future of The Bahamas.

ORG asserts that a shift to a more open and participatory model of governance is both essential to our future success as a nation and vital to bringing about the necessary reform.

Over the past days, manifestos, blueprints and visions have been issued by the Free National Movement (FNM), the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), Democratic National Alliance (DNA) and the Coalition of Independents (COI). ORG commends the parties for their presentation of these to the public and recognizes the inclusion of various actions for long-term reform in each of these.

However, the longstanding governance and economic issues that plague The Bahamas should not be seen simply as issues to be solved as part of a partisan agenda. They affect every segment of the nation, and their resolution will require commitment, action and sacrifice from all who call The Bahamas home regardless of party affiliation.

As such, ORG appeals to every candidate seeking public office to embrace and actualize the precepts of good governance. These include:

  • Transparency
  • Accountability
  • Even enforcement of law
  • Efficiency and effectiveness
  • Participatory, inclusive and consensus-driven government

As you look to represent the people of The Bahamas, ORG requests that you demonstrate your belief in these precepts and commit to actionable and sustainable measures to increase transparency and accountability; reduce the instance, opportunity and perception of corruption; increase the growth of gross domestic product; bring greater ease of doing business to the local private sector; build responsible foreign direct investment; reduce the national debt; improve education; and increase citizen participation in governance.

To this end, ORG has identified opportunities for short and mid-term actioning by the next government and calls on you to commit to the following:

  • Accountable governance
  • Economic development
  • Education reform
  • Civil society development

For the full detailed list of ORG’s recommendations, please visit the following link: https://cutt.ly/wWblnIc.

Best regards and be safe.

The Organization for Responsible Governance

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