Open and Accountable Governance – Is Bahamas Hitting the Mark?
Responsible, open and accountable governance is critical for societies to create opportunity and socioeconomic stability for their citizens. Is the Bahamas hitting the mark? The core problems facing the Bahamas - crime, poor education, unemployment, and a flagging economy amongst others - stem from a systemic break down in leadership and governance in the country.
Organization for Responsible Governance recognizes Good Governance as essential for The Bahamas to address all other social issues from crime, to education, to economic prosperity. This can be the bedrock of sustainable national development and the backbone of a strong democracy and we are committed to driving better governance for the benefit of all.
The Bahamas is at a critical point. The status quo has failed the nation and created massive inefficiencies and an ineffective government. The nation is heavily in-debt, uncompetitive even in our largest sectors, and expensive to live in. We, as a people, must decide whether to continue as we are or create the change that we want to see. If Bahamians stand united we can significantly change the way the country and political parties are governed and led. Open and accountable governance provides opportunity for ALL citizens and not just the favored few. Bahamians must demand higher standards and better leadership for a brighter Bahamas, anything less is unacceptable.
Improved governance requires cooperation between government and citizens. The Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG) launched The Campaign for the Bahamas to focus on the core issues/problems affecting the Bahamas and strive to get the incumbent Government and political opposition parties to understand the need for ongoing engagement and participation of civil society in good governance. We believe that achieving better governance requires improvement in some key areas such as transparency, accountability, rule of law, efficiency and inclusiveness.
What does Good Governance include?
Good governance is accountable
Accountability is a fundamental requirement of good governance. Local government has an obligation to report, explain and be answerable for the consequences of decisions it has made on behalf of the community it represents.
Good governance is transparent
People should be able to follow and understand the decision-making process. This means that they will be able to clearly see how and why a decision was made – what information, advice and consultation council considered, and which legislative requirements (when relevant) the government followed.
Good governance follows the rule of law
This means that decisions are consistent with relevant legislation or common law and are within the powers of government.
Good governance is responsive
Government should always try to serve the needs of the entire community while balancing competing interests in a timely, appropriate and responsive manner.
Good governance is equitable and inclusive
A community’s wellbeing results from all of its members feeling their interests have been considered by government in the decision-making process. This means that all stakeholders, particularly the most vulnerable, should have opportunities to participate in the process.
Good governance is effective and efficient
Local government should implement decisions and follow processes that make the best use of the available people, resources and time to ensure the best possible results for their community.
Good governance is participatory
Anyone affected by or interested in a decision should have the opportunity to participate in the process for making that decision. This can happen in several ways – community members may be provided with information, asked for their opinion, given the opportunity to make recommendations or, in some cases, be part of the actual decision-making process.
No party or reform group can accomplish the above goals alone, however. Broad-based and sustained citizen support is essential. That means that improving governance in The Bahamas, as in any other democracy, needs civil society, needs citizen participation, needs you!
For more information on Good Governance and how to get involved visit www.orgbahamas.com