Issues That Arise In Bahamian Society When Educated Bahamians Decide To Live In Other Countries The Bahamas is in danger of being overtaken by foreigners. Although this statement is fallacious in context, many Bahamians today would not necessarily disagree with it. That, inevitably though, is a situation that the Bahamas can be faced with if educated Bahamians continue to migrate to other countries at a high rate. This migration, better known by the term ‘Brain Drain,’ is and will always be a part of society where educated people leave their native developing countries and seek out more wealthy, opportunistic countries.
As noted in the article Reassessing the Impacts of Brain Drain on Developing Countries, “nearly one in 10 tertiary-educated adults born in the developing world — between a third and half of the developing world’s science and technology personnel — now live in the developed world” (Sriskandarajah). Although the idea of moving to a more wealthy country can be beneficial to the Bahamians that are migrating personally, there are some problems that can arise in the Bahamian society as a result of this. When educated Bahamians decide to live in countries outside the Bahamas, it can hamper development in the country, effect family relationships, and can leave the country vulnerable to foreign manipulation.
Educated Bahamians are needed in the Bahamas to further develop the country innovatively. If these Bahamians decide to migrate to other countries, then there could grow to be a great discrepancy in the overall progress of development in the Bahamas because of their absence in the labour force. According to Simon in the article, Bring Home Bahamian Talent, getting access to those skilled Bahamians living abroad and their resourcefulness is crucial to the National Development of the Bahamas (par 3).
The Bahamas cannot continue to primarily focus on tourism as its major contributor to the economy when the amount of competition present in the Caribbean continues to grow and major tourism contributing countries such as the United States of America are still recovering from a drastic recession. Komolafe affirms that, “We must expand our industries to provide job and entrepreneurship opportunities for Bahamians outside of tourism and financial services, which are heavily dependent upon the stability and prosperity of the U.S., E.U. and Canadian economies” (Par 9).
This is one of the reasons why Intelligent Bahamians with an entrepreneurship mindset are needed in the Bahamas. In the article, The Bahamian Business Structure: A New Look at our Economy, it states that “this country (the Bahamas) already has a long history of entrepreneurship and capital formation” (Coulson). Bahamians with this entrepreneurship mentality and drive are the leaders that the Bahamas must retain and motivate to create new business ventures and develop more innovative opportunities for themselves as well as for other Bahamians to find meaningful employment. Family relationships are also affected when educated Bahamians leave their native country and migrate to other countries. Communication is a key factor when dealing with this situation. A household can be greatly affected when, for instance, a parent migrates to another country seeking employment, and leaves their husband/wife in the Bahamas to be a single parent.
Even though there might be constant verbal communication between the migrated parent and his/her family, if the overseas job becomes demanding time wise, their absence will be felt in the home and can put an emotional strain on the relationship of the family. That lack of a proper family structure and guidance can also affect the children as they can become susceptible to the influence of society and their peers. This correlation is important because when children become exposed to the realities of society such as violence and peer pressure that is where some can fall astray. Juvenile delinquency is becoming an increasingly serious social ill in the Bahamas whereas, for instance the article, Jveniles Accused of Crimes Jumped 79% in 09, notes that “The number of juveniles accused of committing crimes in 2009 increased dramatically by almost 80 percent compared to 2008, according to Acting Director of Rehabilitative and Welfare Services Quintin Gray.”
Another issue that can be caused by the absence of educated Bahamians in the Bahamas is that it can create an opportunity for foreigners to stream into the Bahamas. This can become a situation that foreign countries seeking to make bonds and gain ties with the Bahamas and its government can take advantage of. Although this idea does not seem detrimental on the surface, the implications of it can lead to corruption and foreign manipulation in the Bahamas. With foreign direct investment on the rise year after year, “inflows to the Bahamian economy increased by 48.7 per cent to $977 million during 2010,” the Government must realize that such a heavy reliance on foreign influences increases the vulnerability of the Bahamas (Hartnell). Many major tourism projects such as Baha Mar and the new Thomas A.
Robinson stadium are being heavily funded by foreign investments which at some point in time must be compensated for by the government. As quoted in the article, Bahamas ‘Polarised By A Dual Economy’, “These foreign policies have created a dual economy: ‘foreign economy’ and the ‘Bahamian economy’, where the former is dominant and rising, and the latter is subordinate and sinking” (Hartnell). With the government in full support of foreign direct investment the advantages of being a foreigner in the Bahamian marketplace seems to outweigh that of being a local Bahamian looking to enter and prosper in this marketplace.
In conclusion, in order to reduce the chances of these problems caused in the Bahamian Society when educated Bahamians migrate to other countries, the Bahamian government must find a solution that would encourage educated Bahamians to want to stay in the Bahamas and assist with the economic growth of the country.
Also, these intelligent Bahamians who have and will eventually leave the Bahamas and migrate to another country should understand that the Bahamas does have the opportunities available to support their creative ideas and The Bahamas, being one of the richest independent countries in the Caribbean, is a place where they can find prosperity and a satisfactory place for employment. The Bahamas is considered a part of the ‘Developing world’ for a reason, it is still in the process of growth and finding its identity in the global marketplace, thus requiring those locals that are highly educated and trained to produce for their country and take the leadership role.
“Bring Home Bahamian Talent.” Bahama Pundit. 9 Nov. 2010. 14 Feb. 2012 <http://www.bahamapundit.com/2010/11/bring-home-bahamian-talent.html#more> Coulson Richard. “The Bahamian Business Structure: A New Look at our Economy.” The Nassau Institute. 12 July. 2003. 17 Feb. 2012 <http://www.nassauinstitute.org/articles/article370.php> Hartnell Neil “Bahamas ‘polarised by a dual economy’.” The Tribune. 8 Oct. 2009. 15 Feb. 2012
<http://www.tribune242.com/10082009_Invest_business_Page1-4> Hartnell Neil. “Foreign Investment Rises 49% To $977M.” The Tribune. 28 July. 2011. 15 Feb. 2012 <http://www.tribune242.com/business/07282011_Invest_business_Page1-2> “Juveniles accused of crimes jumped 79% in ’09.” 6 May. 2010. 19 Feb. 2012 <http://www.bahamaslocal.com/newsitem/1839/Juveniles_accused_of_crimes_jumped_79_in_09.html> Komolafe Arinthia. “The Bahamian Dream Pt.1.” The Nassau Guardian. 20 Jan. 2012. 15 Feb 2012 <http://www.thenassauguardian.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=22023:the-bahamian-dream-pt1&catid=49:op-ed&Itemid=86> Sriskandarajah Dhananjayan. “Reassessing the Impacts of Brain Drain on Developing Countries.”
Migration Information Source. Aug. 2005. 17 Feb. 2012