The Bahamas is not a teaching society – meaning, education and proficiency is not the first priority in much of what we undertake. In every sector of our society, persons are given positions without knowing and understanding the fundamentals or post-fundamentals of that position. They then get in and as time goes on, the standard of the profession or calling is diminished in the country because the sectors are filled with people who do not know what they are doing, and then those persons are left to mimic others who also never got “taught in when brought in”. Hence, the cycle continues.
Our MPs ought to be required to demonstrate levels of proficiency in critical aspects of their job for the Bahamian people. I will focus on the Senate in a different post. Being a lawyer, doctor, accountant, etc does not automatically make you a proficient Parliamentarian or legislator. For sake of time I’ll narrow in on two areas – the Parliament and the Budget. Most persons sitting in Parliament today have no idea what they are doing as pertains to Parliamentary procedure and practice. They get elected to a system they have never been taught, and they are simply going through the motions not knowing or understanding all the facets thereof, often times making a mess and mockery of what the Parliament should be and how it should function. The same is true as it pertains to the grossly unacceptable lack of proficiency most MPs exhibit with respect to the national Budget. The most important piece of legislation tabled each year cannot be properly read, analyzed, understood, interpreted, etc by most MPs, regardless of their professional credentials.
The problem with too many MPs is once they get elected, they want us to believe they know it all, and they do not want to admit to persons that they do not understand or know something. Worse, they get offended when persons offer assistance to them because again, they want to maintain the charade of knowing what they do not know. This helps no one – not them and definitely not us. It weakens the Parliament and the integrity and efficacy of the Legislature as a branch of government. The Bahamas needs to develop a system whereby continuous education and training is provided to MPs which all MPs must fully participate in and show proficiency in for the Bahamian people. If parliamentarians want to show how serious they are about education in our country, they need to start by being the examples and by becoming both learned and proficient in the job of being a legislator.