2009 Year in Review: The Nassau Institute

First Published: 2010-02-09

Annual Review of 2009 and Plans for 2010

January 2010 begins the 15th consecutive year of operations by The Nassau Institute.  We are both humbled and encouraged!

During the year, a platform was provided for Bahamians and visiting “experts” to share their knowledge, opinions and forecasts on the Bahamian economy.  Through our visiting professors program Bahamians are introduced to fresh ideas from “outsiders”.   

This was accomplished in Formal Presentations, the Informal Discussion Group Series, Public Advocacy, Media & Public Relations, and International Affiliations and Letters-to-the-Editor columns of the local newspapers.

Formal Presentations in 2009:

·       Mike Lafaive, Director of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s Fiscal Policy Initiative on the topic "Economic Diversification: Should Mandates or Markets Rule?"

·        Maurice Glinton, Bahamian Attorney at Maurice O. Glinton & Co. on the topic The Case for a Politically Accountable Judiciary in The Bahamas”. 

·        Mr. Ralph Massey, in a power point presentation addressed “The Learning Crisis in The Bahamas”.

·        Dr. Robert Murphy, Economist at The Institute for Energy Research, on the topic “Government Stimulus: Repeating the mistakes of the Great Depression”.

·        Dr. Richard Ebeling, Professor of Economics at Northwood University, on the topic "From Socialism to Free Markets".

Informal Discussion Groups:

            The Nassau Institute’s office at The Bay Street Business Centre, was the venue for two informal discussion groups.  Both well attended – filling the Milton Friedman Room with lively discussion following each presentation.

·       Lynden Nairn, President of Colina General, discussing the Bahamas National Economic Summit”.

·          Jorge Borlandelli, Private Bahamas Banker, on the topic "True Causes of
     T
he Current Economic Crisis"

Public Advocacy:

The Nassau Institute remains the only a-political and non-profit organization directly addressing the effects of government programs and legislation affecting personal and economic freedom.   Research is based on the premise that fiscal responsibility is achieved by limiting the size of the public sector and that new entitlements mean higher deficits.

Policy Issues of 2009:   

The proposed increase in the National Insurance Board (NIB) Payroll Tax:

"It is intriguing that the government can pass a law to take a citizens money to start the National Insurance Board and then suggest that they are doing the country a favour by "providing" benefits for retirement, sickness and unemployment etc. It’s an exquisite use of doublespeak."

Two articles were published describing the economic impact of the proposed increase in the deductions. 

Bahamian Education Reform:

“In The Bahamas, there exists two academic worlds; the generally successful private school system and the generally failing public school system” 

The Education Crisis by Ralph Massey was endorsed by Sir Orville Turnquest, and the Institute circulated over 1,000 copies in addition to those made available to all government ministries.

“The Nassau Institute is to be commended for undertaking to publish the essay in booklet form, and I trust they will now spare no effort in ensuring that the booklet receives wide circulation, so that many citizens will have an opportunity to read and digest, and to offer input.” Orville Turnquest

On the other hand the Nassau Institute wrote a satirical article setting out a case for privatization of schools to make them profitable enterprises and provide choice to parents in the education market.   It elicited a strong response from the unimaginative unable to see alternative ways to deliver education.

Government Spending, Borrowing & Debt:

“At a recent international event, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham announced the Government is borrowing $150 million a month.”  

Each year The Institute reviews and comments on the Annual Budget.  Articles and public commentary reflect the concern for growth in the Public Debt.  The Annual Deficits and spending enables expansion of government into areas best left to the private market.  

Media/Public Relations:

The major newspapers willingly publish articles and letters.  In addition reporters contact us for opinion on issues as they arise.  Establishing good relations with broadcasters and journalists was a hurdle to be overcome in the early years.  Now they seek our opinion on public policy issues.

Most of our featured speakers completed media engagements.  They are reproduced in You Tube and on the Nassau Institute Website. Radio and television interviews are also a part of the speaker’s schedule during their trip to The Bahamas. 

Special classes at the College of the Bahamas are arranged for our visiting professor program.   

Internet Presence:

The Nassau Institute website is a growing resource.  We now host over 850 articles and maintain our weekly e-mail newsletter. 

A You tube Channel has been established for The Nassau Institute videos and presentations.

International Affiliations:

The Nassau Institute continues to affiliate itself with International Organizations that promote the libertarian philosophy. 

Our affiliations formed in 2009 included the following:

·        World Economic Summit:  The Nassau Institute was the local contact for the World Economic Summit held in Nassau at The Atlantis Resort, January 31 – February 2nd, 2010.

·       Freedom Fest Conference, 2009:  The Nassau Institute was represented at Freedom Fest (billed as “The World’s Largest Gathering of Free Minds”) in Las Vegas in July, 2009. 

·        World Economic Forum:  The Nassau Institute is the Bahamian Representative of The World Economic Forum, a Geneva-based non-profit organization best known for its Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland and its annual “Global Competitiveness Report”.

·        Atlas Economic Research Foundation:  The Nassau Institute maintains a close relationship with The Atlas Economic Research Foundation.

·        Economic Freedom of the World Index:  The Nassau Institute is a co-publisher of The Index initiated by Milton Friedman and published annually by The Fraser Institute of Canada.

Thank You to 2009 Supporters and Sponsors:

Of course, without the support of private individual contributors and corporate sponsors of our events we could not have been successful:

·        Bahamas Wholesale Agencies

·        NMC Leasing

·        CBS Bahamas

·        Custom Computers

·        The Atlantis Resort

·        The Luggage Store

·        Brass & Leather

Not to mention the many people that came out to support the events,

Need for Your Support:

While our speakers receive a small speaking fee  – their air fare, meals, transportation, accommodation, advertising of their event, promotional materials and the cost of the venue and other expenses are a burden on our minimal resources.

Also we are pleased to announce that Mr. Damien Forsythe joined the Institute in a part time paid working relationship.  His dedication to the ideas and the work has added greatly to productivity.

We are entirely dependent on the support of our donors. The charitable demands on all of us these days are significant, but the messages of freedom and prosperity must get out into the marketplace of ideas.  There are no other organizations doing the work necessary to preserve our freedom.  Please be as generous as you can.

Thank you for assisting us to spread the message of liberty to influence public policy in The Bahamas.


Yours in liberty,

THE NASSAU INSTITUTE,

Joan Thompson

President

P.S.      Your generosity will mean a great deal, if you would like to contribute right now, you may do so securely at www.nassauinstitute.org/support_us.

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