The Grand Bahama Economic Summit, held at the Grand Lucayan Conference Room on April 28, afforded participants the opportunity to gain knowledge and insight, from international experts, on the synergy required between public and private sectors in order to maintain a viable economy.
Rueben Egolf, Chairman of the United States Global Leadership Council (USGLC) and his team travelled to the island to participate in the summit, each bringing a wealth of knowledge to share with Grand Bahamians in attendance.
He shared that his experience as a presenter at the GB Economic Summit was wonderful. “You can sense the people of Grand Bahama want change and it will have to start with some economic revival and improvements. They are looking for those answers … they realize that they have potential.
“We were speaking to that with the young people today; they have the potential and we used the egg analogy of how the environment crushes the egg from the outside, it dies. But if it is in an environment that is conducive for growth and release of that potential, it springs out from the inside and then it lives, instead of the reverse. We spoke a lot about that.
“Also, our mantra is to promote solution over profit; not that we are against profit, you need that; but we promote the solution because if somebody is in it just for the profit, when they start making money, they stop seeking the solution.
“Then, you lose the human factor. We are all in this together and we have to be more than just about ourselves, which also dealt with ethics.”
Speaking to his experience as a first time presenter on the island, Egolf said, “The experience has been wonderful. I have been very blessed and encouraged by the young people, because they are the face of tomorrow, in The Bahamas. They are the future and if we can elaborate on that education, improve that there are a lot of things that factor into economic success.
“It is hard not to like being here in Grand Bahama. We are privileged and very honored to be here – from the Grand Bahama Port Authority and their invitation, Dr. Eddie and Margo Victor, and this coming together, it is just beautiful. Individually, we are one drop but together we are an ocean, so we can make a difference together,” concluded Egolf.
Dr. Fernando Gonzalez, President, USGLC shared on his role in the summit.
“The USGLC is a solution based organization. We try to find solutions to problems that are ailing nations.
“In coming here, the hope is to find out what the problems are and to find solutions. What we do is match the needs of governments, with private sector companies, and we serve as a liaison between them; to ensure that everything that the company needs is being provided by the private sector company.
“At the same time, ensuring that everything the private sector company is promised it gets from the government. In essence our hope is to find out what needs and address those needs with plausible solutions.”
Questioned if was his first time speaking at the summit, Gonzalez answered, “No, I have had the pleasure of coming many times to The Bahamas with Dr. Myles Munroe. I was a translator at these events, such as the Global Leadership and the Kingdom Summits in Nassau as well as when he had them here in Freeport, right up to his death.
“We really want to strategize … I really love Freeport. We have seen the growth in Bimini, I really loved it when it was just a small laid back fishing village, but now you can see what Bimini is and it has, in my opinion, lost that charm.
“I believe that Freeport and Grand Bahama still has that charm and that is one of the reasons that we really love it here. I believe that the best is yet to come here. We intend to assist in making Grand Bahama great again,” shared Gonzalez.
Dr. Margo Victor, Presenter, organizer and pastor of Living Water Assembly of God, along with her husband Dr. Eddie Victor shared, “It has been awesome, from the very first speaker, the participants have been so excited and motivated to see the potential, and the possibilities that still exist right here in Freeport.
“Our economy might have been down for the past 12 years of more, but today, showed us that the economy is not dead and, it is actually us that need to be regenerated in order to bring back prosperity, to this city.”
As a number of high school students were in attendance for the summit, Victor was questioned on the importance of inviting them to participate in such an event.
“It is so important for our high school students to be here, because in a very short time they will be in position to bring transformation to this city. We need them to go into their colleges, their workplaces, start businesses that are innovative, not to do things as we did in the last generation.
“Every generation is supposed to do things differently, and better. In order for us to move from a developing nation, every generation needs to give more.
“Today the students, the leaders in the schools that are here, we do not want them to become educated and leave, we want them to be educated and see that the potential and the possibilities do exist in their own country, and that they are the ones that are going to take us from a developing nation, to a first class nation.”
Speaking specifically to her presentation, which was the final on the lineup for the one-day event Victor said, “Today, I believe it is my place to talk about stewardship. Stewardship helps every economy, because when we realize that we own nothing we are more ready and willing to give back what we have been given.
“Stewardship is something that is ancient, but sometimes we get lost in applying stewardship, because of our needs.
“People do business because persons need jobs, they need to pay their bills and it is not just for your profit, then you see more equality. A society that is more equal means that there is less crime; because people have the resources they need to provide for their families.
“We see less families losing their homes when business is done according to the principles of God, because business owners are not just doing business just for their own profit but so that they demonstrate love for their neighbor, so that their neighbors or their employees can live just as well as they do.
“That is the love that God wants us to demonstrate in doing business and that is what makes the economy better. When money can circulate and not just pool in the hands of few,” acknowledged Victor.