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Doing business at govt agencies 

Dear Editor, 

Kindly permit me to express my views on the frustration one experiences in doing business at government agencies.

Having passed its two-year anniversary in office, I expected that this administration would have devoted some attention to addressing the many vexing and annoying issues affecting Bahamians and local businesses when doing business in this country.

It is far too difficult for Bahamians to conduct ordinary business in this country, especially at government agencies and institutions.

There seems to be no checks and balance on what policies or measures public officers or department heads can introduce or force upon the public.

Since coming to office, this administration has been too tolerant in allowing public officers and department heads to introduce policies and measures that lack reasonableness and proportionality which have only served to frustrate Bahamians to no end.

Policy creation seems to be premised on the presumption that Bahamians are to be viewed with suspicion and are not to be trusted.

When seeking the most basic service, Bahamians are routinely turned away with endless requests for more information and documents, which are already resident with the government and can be accessed electronically if needed.

When we are not faced with bad public policy decisions, we are faced with new or increased fees and taxes. And on many occasions, we are faced with both.

No matter where we turn, there is the introduction of a new requirement for Bahamians to leap over or through just to access the basic services and amenities required to move forward or enjoy life.

Life for many Bahamians has not gotten better and many seem to have simply lost hope that it ever will, and have given up due to a system which appears to want to intentionally keep them down or “in check”.

Bahamians seeking to put their personal and or business affairs in order should not be put through the stress and runaround they encounter at many government agencies.

And what is so unfortunate, it is Bahamians who are the architects and promoters of these policies and measures that are keeping Bahamians from moving forward, and they do so, in my view, with the tacit approval and endorsement of our political leaders.

Equally unfortunate, there is a Cabinet minister at the head of each ministry with the authority to intervene and bring some sense of reasonableness and proportionality to these policies and measures.

But they for the most part have chosen to sit by and allow bad policies and overly onerous measures to be unnecessarily forced upon on the public.

At the same time, and I say without fear of contradiction, no effort is spared by the leaders in this country in ensuring that the foreign individual or investor is relieved of having to suffer the inconveniences and annoyances Bahamians suffer at these government agencies.

The foreign investor is graciously escorted around these irritations by a designated agency created for this purpose.

Either because of their detachment from what life is like for the average citizen or simply their indifference, the political leaders at the executive level, who are the ultimate policymakers, have not been able to bring about the kind of reforms or address the administrative deficiencies found at many public institutions.

This detachment or indifference may be due to the fact that they and many of the occupants of high administrative office in this country, who are responsible for addressing these vexing and annoying issues, are not required to navigate these inconveniences which the average individual or business encounters daily at many of these public institutions.

There is absolutely no reason why Bahamians ought to be subjected to these inconveniences and I am sure that there is more this administration can do to bring the desired relief.

Claude B. Hanna