Bahamians living in the “worst of times”

Outgoing President of the Bahamas National Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention Reverend Dr. William Thompson suggested last night, that Bahamians are now living in “the worst of times”, as families are gripped by the fear of crime and are “prisoners in their own homes”.

His comments came at the 83rd annual session of the convention at the hall named in his honor. Thompson retired after 30 years of service. His successor: President Elect Reverend Dr. Lloyd Smith.

“For us today, crime hinders activities and crime stalks our land with tornadic destructiveness,” he said “Our buildings are defaced, our schools are homes for gangsters. Our people are fearful and families have to pay the ridiculous price for security bars and have to live like prisoners in their own homes.”

Thompson added that despite the increase in courts and amendments to criminal legislation, the country remains gripped by criminal activity. He noted that in recent time, sexual assaults and armed robberies have increased, despite a dip in serious crimes reported by police for the first quarter of this year.

Thompson called on government for true accountability with its Over-the-Hill program, aimed at transforming those communities. The outgoing president said that the church will be closely watching how the program is rolled out and who will be impacted.

“We want to ensure that resources are provided for those who may be displaced by this plan and to ensure that it benefits the poor. What we don’t want is for those entrepreneurs to come in and force those residents out of the communities,” Thompson said.

Prime minister Dr. Hubert Minnis also addressed the event, as government prepares to present the country’s new fiscal budget today.

Dr. Minnis said, “hard decisions have to be made.”

“To restore our country and move it in the right direction, some tough choices have been made.

“There are more tough choices ahead. In the end, we will be a more productive, healthier and more vibrant country because the hard decisions were made.”

The nation’s leader said his vision and commitment as prime minister is to help provide the Bahamian people, especially youth with the resources and opportunities they need to build a good life and a better Bahamas.

“Economic development is essential in providing opportunity and promoting the common good, but social development and social transformation are also essential,” he said.

The prime minister also addressed corruption by public officials, noting that it retards national development and progress.

“We must continue our commitment to transform cultures of impunity, mistrust and lawlessness, into cultures of accountability, inclusion and respect for rule of law,” he said.

The hundreds of millions lost every year through corruption, he said, can be used for housing, education, health care, youth development and other ways of promoting the common good.