This Foreigner vs That Foreigner, And Politics

golden-keyThese last almost two weeks of the Baha Mar saga have indeed displayed very many things about the way we see ourselves and the way we see others. We as Bahamians tend to have very curious and in many ways hypocritical positions about foreign nationals. We embrace some nationalities (and ethnic groups) while we despise others and in the case of Baha Mar, Sarkis Izmirlian as a foreign permanent resident – who ironically applied for Bahamian citizenship – was seemingly God’s gift to politicians banking on his development and his hundreds of millions in investment to give them keys and bragging rights to a sought-after political victory at the polls. The governing Party had even begun bragging about how it wanted to christen Baha Mar of sorts by being the first Party to hold its national convention there.

No doubt they envisioned themselves dancing enraptured in its convention center declaring to the nation and world that the Bahamian Riviera in Cable Beach was their brainchild and hence, their crowning achievement worthy of our votes as a reward. The development was clearly being seen as a crown jewel in someone’s political scepter. Now that they probably feel Izmirlian fronted on who gets to wield that scepter and how, he is suddenly persona non grata who is suddenly a threat to The Bahamas? Let us speak plainly and intelligently now. He didn’t threaten The Bahamas or its sovereignty and neither did his business’ bankruptcy protection filing; the Baha Mar project has had unresolved issues for a long time and all sides play roles in that reality in varying degrees. What he no doubt did threaten in the minds of politicians though, was the political plans of those who wanted to be able to claim Baha Mar as their personal political legacy and triumph.

In the end I hope this matter can work out for the good of the country, the sector and employees. Meanwhile, the fallout that has played out has highlighted some very telling mindsets about the dance we do when it comes to foreigners: what they get from and give to us, what we get from and give to them, and how our attitudes swing from left to right extremes depending on how we perceive that equation to be playing out. It’s a cultural equation and dynamic we should intelligently analyze as a nation. All the best to Baha Mar’s workers. You’ve remained mature and positive through a roller coaster of events and you should be commended for that. Keep the faith as you continue to wait out how your futures will pan out.