Vatican City, ROME - Prime Minister Perry
Christie today made history in Vatican City by becoming the first
Bahamian Prime Minister to have an audience with the Pope in the Vatican. The
audience took place at ten thirty this morning Monday 18th November in the Papal
offices appurtenant to St. Peter's Basilica.
Pope Francis and Prime Minister Christie exchange gifts. (Photo credit: GREGORIO BORGIA/AFP/Getty Images)
The Prime Minister was
joined in the delegation by Mrs. Christie, Ministers Fred Mitchell, Ryan Pinder
and Senior Policy Advisor Sir Baltron Bethel. Later the entire Bahamian delegation
joined the Pope and the Prime Minister
and took individual photos with the Pontiff.
Pope and the Prime
Minister spoke privately for twenty minutes before being joined by the
The Prime Minister paid tribute to the Roman Catholic church in The
Bahamas and thanked the Pontiff for the thousands
of Catholics who contributed to the development our country. He spoke
of the great pride that the Bahamas has in its native son Archbishop
Patrick Pinder. The Prime Minister
spoke of his special son Adam and the work that the government is doing
serving the poor in the Urban Renewal programme and children with
special needs. He spoke also of the work of the church in education
generally and in migrant issues. The Prime Minister recommitted himself
to helping the poor and the under privileged.
Following the Papal audience,
the two exchanged gifts and the Pope greeted each person in the Prime Minister’s
party with the words: "You must pray for me. I will pray for
you." The Prime Minister presented the Pope with a book showing a collection
of Bahamian art works, a collection by Dawn Davis and a book on the 40th anniversary of independence by Wendell Jones' Jones
Later the Prime
Minister, the Ministers and the Senior Policy Advisor met with the Secretary of
State Archbishop Pietri Parolin and exchanged views on world affairs.
This was the first meeting of the Secretary of State in his new post.
The Prime Minister agreed that he would advance a name shortly of a Bahamian to serve as non-resident Ambassador
to the Vatican in an effort to deepen relations on a number of issues including
education, and migrant issues.