McKinney Urges Lawrentians to Look "Beyond the Beaches"

III Former Tiara McKinney ’21 hosted an Explorations event entitled, “Beyond the Beaches” this past Thursday, January 17.

III Former Tiara McKinney ’21 hosted an Explorations event entitled, “Beyond the Beaches” this past Thursday, January 17. At the event, McKinney, along with sister Tiia McKinney, addressed the economic hardships facing many Bahamians despite the media’s portrayal of the islands as idyllic. Tiara McKinney was assisted in organizing her event by Religion Master Sue Anne Steffey Morrow H’12 and the Religious Life Council.

The event began with a trivia game about The Bahamas. Then, both of the McKinneys said a few words about their experiences as citizens of The Bahamas.

“I think a lot of times people get caught up [with] how the media portrays The Bahamas. We let that image distract us from what really goes on behind the façade that the tourism industry presents,” Tiara McKinney said.

Tiara McKinney also pointed out that one of the biggest issues in The Bahamas is its weak education system, sharing statistics which indicate the average public school student’s grade is a D.

Tiara McKinney then spoke on the the political problems plaguing The Bahamas. “The government recently imposed a 12 percent tax, which is hard on locals, especially because of their low incomes,” she said.

Regarding a solution to such problems, Tiara McKinney recommended that Lawrenceville students “be mindful of the people around [them] and try supporting local businesses [when vacationing in places such as The Bahamas].”

However, she mentioned that her talk in no way was supposed to deter tourism in The Bahamas. “If [we] just completely stop going to [The Bahamas], then there is no way for the locals to continue making income,” she said.

Reflecting on the event, attendee Ndeye Thioubou ’21 said, “It is surprising how issues in The Bahamas [have] not reached the attention of the global community [...] despite the seriousness of these problems.”

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