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Bahamian Politics Last Updated: Feb 26, 2019 - 12:35:45 PM

Special Call meeting of Marathon Aspirants for the Next General Election
By Progressive LIberal Party (PLP)
Feb 25, 2019 - 9:15:35 PM

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Nassau, Bahamas - Remarks by Jerome Fitzgerald, Former MP and Cabinet Minister Special call meeting in Marathon for aspiring candidates February 25th 2019:

Madam Chairman Sharon Martin and Executive members, those aspiring to represent Marathon for the PLP in the next general election and members of the Marathon constituency, Good Evening.

I am pleased to be here to speak about my political future and offer advice to not only the aspiring candidates here tonight, but to all those who wish to run in the upcoming elections for the PLP. This is the first of it's kind that I'm aware of and it's good to see that Marathon continues to be the Pacesetters within the PLP.

Ecclesiastes 3 says "There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens."

My political journey has afforded me a multiplicity of experiences and emotions. It’s been active and exciting, rewarding and painful, dynamic and challenging, but most of all, it’s been gratifying.

But as with many great things, they must at some point come to an end, and my season of vying for a nomination to represent a constituency for the great Progressive Liberal Party came to an end on May 10th, 2017.

I have spent 15 years in public life, in service to my country. In 2002 at the age of 36 I was appointed as Deputy Chairman of the then College of the Bahamas where we began work to establish the College of the Bahamas to the University of the Bahamas. In 2007, I was appointed to the Senate by the Rt. Honourable Perry Christie and in 2012, I had the honour of representing the good people of Marathon in the House of Assembly for 5 years.

15 years in active politics can feel like a lifetime, but these years of service were most rewarding to me because of the thousands of friends I've made, the countless families who welcomed me into their homes and hearts, and most importantly the hundreds of persons and families I have been able to assist either through words of encouragement and advice or jobs in both the public and private sector.  Not to mention, the hundreds of millions in contracts to small contractors and the thousands of deserving young people and families whose lives have been enriched through scholarship opportunities. They say - “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime.”  I continue to be proud of the PLP’s legacy of investing in education and increasing scholarship funding from 7.5M to just under 20M in just 5 years, an increase of over 150%.

In Marathon, I will miss my regular Saturday walkabouts, my weekly constituency office meetings and monthly branch meetings and yes, my daily 7am meetings at my Ministry of Education office for those who needed to see me outside my regular constituency hours. I will miss visiting you for Christmas, Mother’s Day and Father's Day.  I always enjoyed my visits with the students to encourage them at the beginning of every school year and being at Claridge Primary and CI Gibson the first day of every school year to greet the students, parents and teachers.

People say politics is an ungrateful profession.  I disagree! Those who enter politics should enter to serve, plain and simple!  My reward has always been knowing that through my actions and decisions I assisted those who needed my help - both expressed and otherwise. I want to publicly say thank you to the hundreds of persons who have come up to me since 2007 in the food store, restaurants, coffee shops, the airport and on the street just to say Thank You. I didn't do it for Thank You but it's always good to hear. The conversation always starts like this, “you don't know me or you might not remember me, but”..and ends with “I just wanted to say thank you.”  If I had to do it all again, I would without hesitation. It was worth all the sacrifices made!

I want to thank all my supporters in Marathon particularly, but also extend my appreciation generally to Bahamians throughout the length and breadth of our beautiful Bahamaland for your continued support, encouragement and prayers.

To my Family, friends and loved ones, I appreciate you and Love you and now look forward to the next exciting chapter in my life.

To the former Prime Minister Perry Christie who is like a father to me, I want to say thank you for all the advice, support and confidence you bestowed in me generally but particularly with the Ministry of Education and being a part of the Bahamar negotiating team that led to the successful opening of BahaMar which has positively impacted thousands of Bahamian families and businesses.

The accomplishments at the Ministry of Education between 2012-2017 are far too numerous to mention but are documented in a 155 page publication named “Ed Vision Strategy to Execution 2012-2017”. I want to thank The Permanent Secretary Donella Bodie, Director Lionel Sands and the entire senior leadership for their dedication and support for the implementation of arguably the most aggressive and meaningful educational agenda since our independence era.

Our Party Leader Philip Brave Davis knows I support him and will do what I must to ensure the Progressive Liberal Party is the next government of the Bahamas and he our next Prime Minister.  And rest assured this support isn’t out of pure loyalty to the party but out of my trust and confidence in his leadership and his ability to take our party and the country to greater heights. No matter the capacity our leader has served in, he has always maintained a heart for people and is not afraid to challenge the status quo and push for what is just and fair and right!  I am confident our party is in good hands with him at the helm, and admonish all within the sound of my voice to support progress for our country and Party by supporting our Leader!  Be minded that infighting and petty politics will not win us the next general election and so we must press forward together...starting now!

I now look forward to hearing from the aspiring candidates for this great constituency.

My advice is simple. Remember this is a sacrifice of time, treasure and talent. It is a commitment of service above self.  The road will not always be easy, but never lose sight of the fact that you are here to make a meaningful contribution to both Marathon and our wider Bahamaland.  As with any meaningful career, work with strategy and diligence, keep your commitments and for goodness sake refrain from making empty promises.

I also want to assure whomever is successful in their bid to represent this great constituency, that they will have my total support in working towards a successful 2022!  Marathon will always have a special place in my heart and we must now focus our collaborative efforts on ensuring this constituency is put back in the good and able hands of the PLP! 

Marathon I thank you, I love you and I will cherish the times spent, always.

Jerome Kennedy Fitzgerald.

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