Secretary Kerry’s Priorities for the Bahamas

Nicole A. Avant (Ambassador to the Bahamas, 2009-2011)

_____

The Bahamas’ proximity to the United States causes it to be our de facto third border and its history is deeply entwined with our own. That physical and cultural familiarity links the futures of both countries uniquely.

The geography of the Bahamas has made it a seemingly ideal location for traffickers of drugs and persons. Thankfully, the Bahamas is home to the fifth largest law enforcement detail of any U.S. Mission, which works tirelessly in conjunction with Bahamian officials to curb this issue. It is imperative that the State Department fully support the needs of our law enforcement agencies on duty in the Bahamas.

Sustainability is highly important to the future of the Bahamas. As an island nation, the Bahamas is highly dependent on importing the majority of its goods. The lack of affordable foodstuffs has created mini food deserts throughout the nation. The use of energy and other resources is not sustainable for the long term growth of the country. As it stands now, most Bahamian jobs are in the service industries, completely dependent on cycles of tourism. U.S. investment in the areas of sustainable energy and agriculture would create new fields and allow for a more sustainable economic future.

Americans and Bahamians have long benefited from the long standing friendship of our two nations. Other nations are now seeking to replicate a similar relationship. China is investing in Bahamian development at a rapid rate. These long term investments include a significant stake of the Freeport Container Port, the multi-million dollar Baha Mar tourism complex in Nassau and fully funded graduate fellowships for Bahamian students. Location makes these prime investments for the Chinese government.

Bahamian youth will be competing on the world stage in a way the Bahamas hasn’t previously been able to. It would behoove us to invest in their futures early on. Vigilance in these three areas will go a long way towards Bahamian growth and maintaining the excellent relationship between our two nations.

Advertisements