||Last Updated: Sep 22, 2021 - 2:33:02 AM
His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Cornelius A. Smith administered the Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Office to nine newly appointed Cabinet Ministers during a Swearing-In Ceremony in the Andros Ballroom, Grand Hyatt Convention Centre, Baha Mar on Monday, September 20, 2021. The new Cabinet members are: Hon. Senator Leo Ryan Pinder -- Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs; Hon. Fred Mitchell -- Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service; Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin -- Minister of Education, Technical and Vocational Training; Hon. Alfred Sears -- Minister of Works and Utilities; Hon. Dr. Michael Darville -- Minister of Health and Wellness; Hon. Senator Michael Halkitis -- Minister of Economic Affairs and Leader of 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. (BIS Photos/Letisha Henderson)
Nassau, The Bahamas – During the swearing-in of nine members of his Cabinet, on September 20, 2021, newly-elected Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis noted what they brought to the push for national development.
“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,” Prime Minister Davis said, at the ceremony held at the Grand Hyatt Convention Centre, at Baha Mar resort.
“They are receiving these appointments because of their determination to get things done.”
Among those present at the ceremony were Governor-General of The Bahamas the Most Hon. Sir Cornelius A. Smith, and Lady Smith; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investment and Aviation the Hon. I. Chester Cooper and Mrs. Cooper; Permanent Secretaries; senior Government officials; members of the Diplomatic Corps; members of the clergy; family members and stakeholders.
The Cabinet Members sworn in were: Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Senator the Hon. Ryan Pinder; Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service the Hon. Frederick Mitchell; Minister of Education, Technical and Vocational Training the Hon. Glenys Hanna Martin; Minister of Works and Utilities the Hon. Alfred Sears; Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville; Minister of Economic Affairs and Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Senator the Hon. Michael Halkitis; Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs the Hon. Clay Sweeting; Minister of National Security the Hon. Wayne Munroe; and Minister of State for Legal Affairs Jomo Campbell.
Prime Minister Davis noted that, throughout his tenure both inside and outside of Government, he had highlighted his belief that producing real and enduring progress for our country relies on partnership -- partnership of the Bahamian people in their communities, partnership between the people and their government; and partnership within government, across Ministries.
“We take office facing not one enormous crisis but several,” he pointed out. “The severity of the fiscal crisis cannot be overstated, and our economic crisis is intertwined with our health crisis. These are not distant problems seen only on the evening news – these are problems that are present in the daily lives of Bahamian families across the country.
He added: “Many thousands of Bahamians are out of work. People can’t pay their bills. We are losing too many loved ones to the virus. Bahamian schoolchildren are falling behind. Too many young people can’t see a future here.
“I want to be clear: we are not here to tinker at the edges of these problems.
We are here to meet them head-on.
The Deputy Prime Minister and I share a bias in favour of both innovation and action.”
When referring to Foreign Affairs, Prime Minister Davis said that The Bahamas’ role in international affairs has not been especially clear or prominent in recent times.
Yet, he added, during a global pandemic and in a time of economic upheaval that transcends borders, international cooperation has never been so important.
“We will work with international partners to increase our supply of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments; we will work with international investors to increase faith in our government and economy; and we will build international partnerships to fight very urgent climate change battles,” Prime Minister Davis said. “I have asked the Hon. Fred Mitchell to deploy his experience and vast network of international contacts as Minister of Foreign Affairs.”
Prime Minister Davis said that it has long been recognized that education is the clearest path to success for the Bahamian people. That is why he invited the Hon. Glenys Hanna Martin to serve as the country’s next Minister of Education, he noted.
“Her passionate advocacy for uplifting the Bahamian people, especially young people, is well known,” Prime Minister Davis said. “No one believes more fiercely in our Bahamian children. I know she will work all day, every day, to ensure young Bahamians are fully prepared to participate and succeed in our economy, and in our national life.”
Minister Davis stated that the Ministry of Works and Utilities combined under one umbrella the various departments and agencies that support the physical infrastructure of The Bahamas.
“We are deeply troubled by the fact that agencies such as BPL and the Water and Sewerage Corporation, have become more associated with a lack of transparency and accountability, in procurement and contracting, rather than delivering a high-quality service,” he said. “As Minister of Works and Utilities, the Hon. Alfred Sears, QC, will bring integrity, intelligence and efficiency to these critical portfolios.”
Prime Minister Davis said that, his Government takes office at a time when the public health system is collapsing under the weight of the COVID-19 virus.
“I believe there is no one better to lead us forward than the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville,” he said. “As well as being a distinguished family doctor, he is a successful businessman. He will focus on saving lives, and strengthening our public health capacity, in partnership with medical professionals and with the private sector.
“I know he will implement our COVID-19 Action Plan with both urgency and professionalism.”
Senator the Hon. Michael Halkitis, Prime Minister Davis said, will bring considerable acumen and aptitude to his new role as Minister of Economic Affairs.
“He will oversee the financial services industry and trade, take on the crucial task of improving our country’s ease of doing business, and direct our country’s digitalisation efforts,” he said. “He will play an important role in helping to stabilise the country’s finances.”
Prime Minister Davis said that, in recent months, his party had highlighted how diversifying the economy could improve the prosperity and security of the country. He pointed out that the Hon. Clay Sweeting, who will serve as Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, has intimate, first-hand knowledge of his portfolio.
“At the age of 23, he was elected to serve in Local Government in Spanish Wells, the youngest person ever to serve in Local Government,” Prime Minister Davis said. “A former fisherman and businessman, and Deputy Chairman of the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation, he is ideally positioned to spearhead our administration’s agenda in the Green and Blue Economies.”
Prime Minister Davis said that issues relating to national security have, in recent times, tended to be viewed in the narrow context of policing; but national security should encompass a broader set of concerns.
“We will secure our borders, and we will maintain civil order,” he stated. “Law and order are essential governmental functions.
“But we are also determined to ensure that the rights of the Bahamian people are respected. Too often in recent years Bahamians had reason to believe that laws were being unfairly and unevenly enforced.”
Prime Minister Davis said that a democracy cannot be strong when citizens with fewer advantages believe they are living under a different set of rules than the more privileged.
“As Minister of National Security, noted human rights lawyer and formidable legal expert, the Hon. Wayne Munroe will bring balance and fairness to the way that the state interacts with the people,” he added.
Prime Minister Davis continued and pointed out that, at a time when the country needs to negotiate, and renegotiate, a variety of complex and multifaceted legal, commercial, and financial obligations, he has invited Senator the Hon. L. Ryan Pinder to act as the nation’s Attorney-General.
“As a renowned tax attorney and as the former Minister of Financial Services, he brings valuable expertise to the role of the government’s chief legal advisor,” he said.
“In particular, I will be asking him to focus on ensuring that our proposals to encourage and support Bahamian entrepreneurs, business-people and investors, are translated into effective legislation, and to review existing legislation to understand the impact on the business community and make amendments as necessary to support kick-starting our economy and job creation.”
To support the work of the Attorney-General, Prime Minister Davis said that he invited the Hon. Jomo Chaka Campbell to serve as Minister of State for Legal Affairs.
“As a litigator with enormous experience in both criminal and civil matters, he will be responsible for much of the ordinary business of that office,” he said.
Prime Minister Davis said that he was confident that those first-appointed members of his Government’s Cabinet team were ready to deliver on the promise of a New Day for The Bahamas.
“A lot of people are suffering and there is a lot of work to do,” he said. “We are not going to ease into things slowly – we are going to move with the urgency that this moment requires.
“May God continue to shine His blessings upon us all, and may God continue to bless The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”
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