#NASSAU, The Bahamas – February 24, 2020 — Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, Wednesday refuted criticisms that there was a lack of preparation in the face of the monster storm, Hurricane Dorian, in 2019.
Minister Campbell told House Members that: “while there is always more that can be done just because we occupy the largest room in the world, which is the room for improvement, let us not take away from what has been done because we believe there is more that could have been done.”
Contributing to the Mid-Term Budget Debate for the Fiscal year 2019-2020 in the House of Assembly Wednesday, Minister Campbell said Hurricane Dorian was of the magnitude that had never before been experienced. It resulted in what Minister Campbell said became the greatest humanitarian aid and relief effort in Bahamian history.
Minister Campbell said officials at the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, the four Departments (Department of Social Services, Department of Rehabilitative Welfare Services, the Department of Gender and Family Affairs and the Urban Renewal Commission) and many Divisions and Units that fall under its remit (and in particular, the Disaster Management Unit) engaged in a wide range of activities months prior to the start of the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season – including the inspection and assessment of proposed shelters and the launch of public service announcements as part of its education and awareness campaigns.
He applauded ministry employees across the country for their commitment to preparations prior to the Hurricane Season and the approach of Dorian, and their efforts on the frontline during and in the aftermath of the monster Hurricane, and despite suffering major losses in some instances themselves.
“My level of respect and gratitude for, and towards, the staff and the team of the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development has increased ten-fold after observing and witnessing their level of commitment and dedication – even in the face of their own adversity; even while some of them lost their own homes and had family members who were injured and/or missing. They continued to give the service that was required.”
Minister Campbell said the Ministry was called upon to manage up to 15 shelters throughout The Bahamas, including ten in New Providence, in the aftermath of the Hurricane. He commended those institutions that: “allowed us to use their facilities here in New Providence.”
These included: All Saints Anglican Church, the Salvation Army, the Enoch Backford Memorial Gymnasium, Bahamas Academy Gym, Pilgrim Baptist Church, Kendal G.L. Isaacs national Gymnasium, Calvary Haitian Baptist Church, Grants Town Seventh-Day Adventist Church and the Fox Hill Community Centre.
“We were very fortunate to have use of these facilities and let me say that none of these facilities were purposefully built for the amount of persons and the duration that we needed use of them.”
Minister Campbell said of the shelters mentioned, just one — Bahamas Academy Gymnasium — remains operational. The Kendal G.L. Isaacs Gymnasium closed its doors as a shelter February 15.
Minister Campbell told House Members that the ministry’s preparations have already begun for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season even as it continues to provide assistance to victims of the 2019 Hurricane.
“I assure the Bahamian people that we in the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development are evaluating protocols, policies and procedures. We are mindful that it cannot be business as usual. We are mindful that what we faced could become more frequent and as a result, we will continue like every good sailor does, to adjust our sails and remain steadfast and agile at the helm so that we can remain on course and meet our target.
“We ask persons to continue to come forward and volunteer because the next hurricane season is upon us. We ask persons to appreciate that even as we haven’t been able to conduct a complete post mortem of Dorian because we are still living it, we are already planning for the commencement of the next season,” Minister Campbell added.
BIS STORY BY MATT MAURA
PRESS RELEASE: Prime Minister Minnis Thanks Bahamians for the Last Four Years
BAHAMAS: PM Philip Davis Swearing In Speech
THE HON. PHILIP DAVIS, M.P., QC,
ON THE OCCASION OF
HIS CEREMONIAL SWEARING-IN AS
PRIME MINISTER OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 19TH, 2021
BAHA MAR BALLROOM
Your Excellency, the Governor-General; First
Lady, Ann Marie Davis, Deputy Prime Minister
Elect, I. Chester Cooper and Mrs. Cooper, Honourable and Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I wish to thank the Bahamian people who turned out and voted resoundingly for change.
We are going to consult widely.
And we are going to bring people together.
And I thank the Bahamian people who have placed their faith and confidence in me and my team.
EPIC ELECTION! 39 chosen from HUGE field of 228 Candidates, PLP WINS
#TheBahamas, September 18, 2021 – Concluding with another sweeping swing, Bahamians for the fifth consecutive General Election have made the swap between the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and the Free National Movement (FNM) and this time, the Hubert Minnis-led FNM Administration saw the curtain close dramatically on its performance in exchange for the ‘New Day’ alternative presented by Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, leader of the PLP.
The polls closed at 6pm, the call to concede came at 9 pm. Just as the general elections came in a snap for The Bahamas, so did the realization for Dr. Hubert Minnis that his Free National Movement party failed to recapture the majority of seats in parliament and just like that, Philip Brave Davis became the prime minister elect for The Bahamas.
“We are going to listen. We are going to consult widely. And we are going to bring people together. That is the best way to make progress as a nation. No leader and no government should be isolated from the people. I also commit to lifting the veil of secrecy on that which has gone before us, so that all of the arrangements under which we have to live are transparent, and those who authored them are accountable. We will govern in the interests of all Bahamians, not just the privileged few. We will act in ways that rebuild trust between the government and the Bahamian people. We will uphold the constitution and the rule of law, and ensure that everyone is treated fairly, so that it s not one rule for one set of people, and another for another set of people,” said Hon Philip Davis, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in remarks at his Ceremonial Swearing in which took place at the Baha Mar Ballroom on (today) Saturday September 18, 2021.
In epic fashion this year’s elections unraveled and in equally stunning loss, the FNM was resoundingly rejected. The party held onto only seven constituencies; the PLP racking up 32 seats in the House of Assembly. In 2017, the split was four to the PLP and 35 members of parliament for the FNM.
It was a polling day which observers believe has drawn the lowest voter turn-out in history and one which ratified the highest number of candidates of any voting day.
There were 228 individuals who offered for the 39 seats. Added to the fray were virtually unknown organisations like the UCP, BCP, the KGM and the GCP; more familiar to Bahamians as an alternative to the usual PLP and FNM offering were the Coalition of Independents (COI), just several months old and the Democratic National Alliance (DNA), making its third appearance on the ballots.
The Parliamentary Registration Department informed there were 192,587 registered voters across the archipelago; 20,000 of them new. However, a staggering number of people were not registered as they were caught off guard by the surprise announcement of September 2021 as Election Day instead of a May 2022.
The Parliamentary Registration Department was plunged – ready or not – into a snap process, having to manage a highly contentious race in the midst of the killer coronavirus pandemic.
“I would like to thank the tens of thousands of Bahamians from across The Bahamas who voted for Free National Movement candidates. I also congratulate the FNM candidates who won seats in the House of Assembly. I am in that number, and again my gratitude goes out to the people of Killarney for making me their representative for the fourth consecutive time. I will lead the Free National Movement into the House as the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. The Bahamas has a proud democratic tradition. The people decide who serves as government,” expressed Dr. Hubert Minnis, in his Concession Speech on the night of the election September 16, 2021.
Hubert Minnis for the fourth consecutive time won the majority of votes, to hold onto the Killarney Constituency.
“We did not win this time. But I say to the next generation of FNMs that you should stay firm to this party’s founding ideals. Always put the people first, and be honest in government. The people have asked us to be the opposition. We will ensure the people’s resources are spent properly. We will ensure there is accountability. We will oppose when necessary. We will agree when the Government’s plans are in the best interests of the people,” said Dr. Minnis in an issued statement.
The outgoing prime minister was criticised for his cowardly exit; again dodging media cameras, scrutiny and a live audience. It also remains to be seen if indeed Dr. Minnis will return as the Leader of the Opposition, given his decisive loss as leader.
With his New Day was the theme guiding his first declarations to Bahamians as the fifth prime minister of the Commonwealth, Brave Davis assured there is no easy work ahead, but pledged results with the Bahamian people remaining the PLP’s north star.
“There is much work to be done; but I know that by working together, we can succeed and build the kind of prosperous, independent Bahamas that our founding fathers dreamed for us. It will not happen overnight, but with steady progress, we will get there. I pray God’s blessings and guidance upon us all, and in the words of St. Francis, “make us instruments of your peace; where there is discord, let me bring union; where there is doubt, let me bring faith; where there is despair, let me bring hope; where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
I thank God for having blessed us with this beautiful country, and the bountiful birthright which we have inherited.”
Independents and other political parties made more of an impression in the 2021 national poll than ever before, however none was able to breakthrough to earn a seat at the parliamentary table.
“We didn’t step forward to become famous or for self-recognition. We didn’t step forward for our own families to be victimized and threatened. We didn’t step forward for our names to be lied on and smeared.We stepped forward because we believed and still do in the Bahamian people,” said Lincoln Bain, leader of the COI, which in its debut rolled in as the third most popular party, he added, “We will continue this fight because we are not a flash in the frying pan organization. We will continue the fight until EVERY Bahamian has benefited from our #NaturalResources.”
The election was observed by CARICOM observers led by former Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding.
Official General Election results are still being processed by the Parliamentary Registration Department.
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