ORG lobbying govt. to expand think tank on economic diversification

No position on legalisation of marijuana

A local civic organization is agitating for the government to seriously expand its think-tank to generate new ideas on how to expand the country’s economy.

Matthew Aubry, executive director of the Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG) pointed to a number of sectors that government can seek to bolster economic bounty.

“Whether we look at tech, or agriculture or boutique tourism I think its something we need to consider because at this stage we are running out of time to make that move to ensure that our economy continues to grow,” Aubry golf Eyewitness News.

Speaking specifically to the national debate on the legalisation of marijuana and its potential economic benefits for the country, Aubry supported government’s notion to fully evaluate the prospect before jumping to a decision.

“Our organization has a focus on three key areas and they are accountable governance, economic development, and education; so I will address this topic from the aspect of economic development for the country,” he said.

“While we do not have a specific stance on the marijuana discussion, we do realize that we need to find diverse ways to grow the economy.

“I don’t think you should throw anything out until it’s been fully considered and evaluated on what could be the financial and fiscal impact. We have to consider how it presents opportunities for local development and expansion for local businesses.”

The national debate on the possible legalization of marijuana has been split, with former prime minister Perry Christie and local religious leader Bishop Simeon Hall, both throwing their support behind legalizing the drug in recent weeks.

“If we are going to meet mandates and goals with fiscal responsibility, then we have to have an aggressive push to diversify various sectors,” said Aubry.

“We need to make sure that we are doing every possible thing that we can to bolster and maximize on our opportunities here in The Bahamas.”

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis told the media last week that government will appoint an independent committee to review the benefits and disadvantages of legalising marijuana in The Bahamas.

The committee, he said, will conduct a national review on the matter and report to the government within three to four months.

“From these findings, we will make a balanced decision on what the way forward will be in this discussion about marijuana in the country,” he said.

“We don’t want to begin biasing the discussion by stating any views on what potential economic gains might be from a marijuana industry. We will do our research, get feedback from the Bahamian people and base our decisions on facts, not fiction.”