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BAHAMAS: Prime Minister National Address

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#TheBahamas, August 19, 2021 –

National Address 

Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

 

General Election

 

Thursday, 19 August 2021

 

My Fellow Bahamians:

Good morning.

We live in a vibrant parliamentary democracy, secured by our Founders for the promotion of the common good and the general welfare.  Our rich democratic heritage includes free and fair elections through which the people choose their representatives.

Earlier today Parliament was dissolved.

It is time for you, the people, to choose who you will elect to form the next Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

For the past year and a half, we have battled the COVID-19 pandemic together.  This is the worst public health crisis in our modern history.  This deadly virus has killed millions of people around the world, and made hundreds of millions of others sick.  Here at home many of our loved ones have died or fallen ill.

You have worked with my Government and the public health team, abiding by the rules and doing your best to help to protect lives and livelihoods.  I thank you for partnering with us on this difficult journey.

Dear Fellow-Bahamians

On Wednesday August 11, I announced in the House of Assembly that the United States of America donated 397,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to The Bahamas.  We received 128,000 of those doses the following day.  The Bahamas received earlier today, 38,400 doses of the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine.  These doses are in addition to the AstraZeneca vaccines we received over the past few months.

In total, including doses received and those arriving in the coming weeks, The Bahamas was able to secure well in excess of 550,000 doses of the lifesaving vaccines.  We can now vaccinate ourselves out of the emergency phase of the pandemic.  This does not mean the pandemic will quickly go away.

Indeed, the pandemic will continue for some time around the world, with the risk of other variants.

We will, for a time, still have to abide by commonsense public health measures such as wearing masks.

My Government has provided for public consultation a draft of new legislation to replace the Emergency Orders.

The Emergency Orders will end on  Saturday, November 13, 2021.

Although there has been progress in securing vaccines, we still face challenging times in the short term due to the current surge in cases.  Much of the world is battling increased cases due to the delta variant.

My Government is spending more than seven million dollars on public health resources to help battle this wave.  This includes creating more beds and spaces to treat those who are ill as well as bringing on more health care and medical personnel.

My sympathies and prayers go out to all who have lost loved ones to this terrible virus.

Let us all remember to keep abiding by the public health measures to definitively defeat this surge.

Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis chairs our National Covid-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee.  This past Sunday, August 15th, Dr. Dahl-Regis indicated that the country hoped to fully vaccinate 60,000 Bahamians over the next six weeks.  I am encouraged by the high number of people coming forward to get vaccinated.

With our new supply and you doing your part taking the shots, we are beginning the process to end the emergency phase of the pandemic.

Our goal is for The Bahamas to be one of the most vaccinated small-island developing countries in the world.

Dear Fellow Bahamians

As a result of our country reaching the goal of securing the vaccines we need, it is now time for the Bahamian people to choose who they want to lead them as we move toward vaccinating every Bahamian who wishes to be vaccinated.

Your next Government will have key decisions to make in enacting post pandemic public health legislation.

Your next Government will have to make other key decisions to build on the robust economic growth started on our watch.

Your next Government will have to make important decisions on rebuilding and renewing a post-COVID-19 Bahamas.

A new mandate is needed to ensure that a Government is in place to do this difficult work over the long term as we are reaching a critical turning point in the pandemic.

I have advised the Governor General to issue the writs of election which will be held on Thursday the 16th September 2021.  We have a long tradition of peaceful elections.  Let us continue that proud tradition.  We must discuss the issues rigorously and peacefully, contrasting our various visions for the country.

In our democratic tradition the people rule.

Your collective wisdom will decide our way forward.

Your collective wisdom will decide our shared future.

All political parties should conduct their campaigns in keeping with public health guidelines.

May God continue to bless and guide our Bahamas.

Thank you for listening.

Good morning.

 

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Over 68,000 STAYED HOME in Bahamas Elections; We have BEST and WORST for Voter Participation

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#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – The just-concluded General Election in Bahamas has presented a new shift in governance.  The former ruling part, Free National Movement, lost nearly all the electoral seats it secured in the 2017 general elections.  However, this seems a swap of the Progressive Liberal party’s score in the 2017 general elections in which the former ruling party (FNM) won nearly all the parliamentary seats.

68,000 STAYED AWAY

While the FNM secured 35 out of 39 seats in the 2017 ballot, leaving only four slots for the Opposition, the 2021 elections presented “new day” with the Opposition clinching 32 parliamentary seats, leaving the former ruling party FNM with only seven slots.

However, the election results showed a significant drop in voter turnout compared to the 2017 election results. Out of 194,494 registered voters in The Bahamas, only 126,414 voted, translating to 65 per cent voter turnout.

PREVIOUS ELECTION HIGHER

This was different from the previous election in which 160,407 out of 181,543 registered voters cast their ballots, translating to a remarkable 88.36 per cent voter turnout.

Being the first election in the island nation since the Covid-19 struck the Caribbean; the dismal voter turnout could be attributed to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in The Bahamas and the current countermeasures taken by individuals to avoid contracting the deadly virus.

It could also be voter apathy.

BEST IN SHOW

Despite coronavirus prevalence in the country, North Andros & Berry Islands, Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and Mangrove Cay & South Andros constituencies recorded an impressive voter turnout of 77.99 per cent, 76.11 per cent and 73.06 per cent respectively.

North Andros & Berry Islands had 2,126 out of 2,569 registered voters cast their ballots, followed by 1,255 out of 1,622 in Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and 1,706 out of 2,164 registered voters in Mangrove Cay & South Andros.

VERY LOW SHOW

The bottom three constituencies in terms of voter turnout include Bamboo Town, which had 3,436 out of 5,838 (58.63 per cent) registered voters cast their ballot, followed by Garden Hills with 3,033 out of 5,287 (57.09 per cent), and   Central & South Abaco falling at the bottom of the list with 1,844 out of 3,271 (55.96 per cent).

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BAHAMAS: Nine new Cabinet ministers sworn-in

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#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis today introduced the first set of new Cabinet ministers with portfolios covering the Attorney General, Foreign Affairs, Education, Works and Public Utilities, Health and Wellness, Government Affairs, Agriculture, National Security and Legal Affairs.

The nine ministers were sworn-in on Monday 20 September 2021 by Governor-General the Most Hon. Sir Cornelius A. Smith during ceremonies held at the Baha Mar Convention Center.

“They are the initial members of a Cabinet which will reflect the breadth and depth of the competencies and characteristics of our team: experience combined with innovation; expertise combined with a willingness to see things anew; integrity and a strong sense of purpose,” said Prime Minister Davis.

“They are receiving these appointments because of their determination to get things done.”

Among the new Ministers sworn-in on Monday were:

  • Senator the Hon. L. Ryan Pinder, Attorney General;
  • Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Public Service;
  • Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education, and Technical and Vocational Training;
  • Hon. Alfred Sears, Minister of Works and Utilities;
  • Dr. Hon. Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Wellness;
  • Senator the Hon. Michael Halkitis, Minister of Government Affairs and Leader of Government Business in the Senate;
  • Hon. Clay Sweeting, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs;
  • Hon. Wayne Munroe, Minister of National Security; and
  • Hon. Jomo Campbell, Minister of State for Legal Affairs.

“I am confident that these first-appointed members of our Cabinet team are ready to deliver on the promise of a New Day for our Bahamas,” said the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Davis pledged to move with urgency to address the economic and health crises that are faced by The Bahamas.

Many thousands of Bahamians are out of work, people are losing too many loved ones to the COVID-19 virus and Bahamian schoolchildren are falling behind, said Prime Minister Davis.

“I want to be clear: we are not here to tinker at the edges of these problems,” said the Prime Minister.

“We are here to meet them head on.”

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Prime Minister Hon. Philip Davis pledges to govern in the interests of all Bahamians

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#TheBahamas, September 19, 2021 – During his ceremonial swearing-in today as the nation’s fifth Prime Minister, Hon. Philip Davis pledged to govern in the interests of all Bahamians and to consult widely with the Bahamian people.

The best way to make progress as a nation is to bring people together, said Prime Minister Davis, who was presented with his instruments of Office in ceremonies held at the Baha Mar Convention Centre, on Saturday 18 September 2021.

Prime Minister Davis was officially sworn in as Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas on Friday 17 September 2021 at the Office of the Governor General.

“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 the Prime Minister.

“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.”

Prime Minister Davis said that while there are big challenges ahead for The Bahamas, his team has the right vision and policies to take the country forward.

The Prime Minister said the new administration is coming into office at a time when the Bahamian people are hurting as never before.

The country faces many crises due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an economy in decline and deeply concerning challenges in education, said Prime Minister Davis.

If everyone works together towards a common purpose, in the common interest and for the common good, great things are possible for The Bahamas and its people, said the Prime Minister.

But no government can do great things on its own, Prime Minister Davis added.

“I am sure that my government can only succeed if we partner with the Bahamian people,” said the Prime Minister.
“We are going to listen, we are going to consult widely and we are going to bring people together.”

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18 September 2021
Office of the Prime Minister
Commonwealth of The Bahamas
Contact: opmcommunications@bahamas.gov.bs
Website: opm.gov.bs

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