Your Royal Highnesses,
Reverend, Honoured and Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It gives me great pleasure to begin by paying tribute to Her Majesty, The Queen.
We are delighted to be able to join in the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in this way.
And on behalf of the Government and People of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, we extend to her, our warmest greetings and heartiest congratulations.
By any standard, seventy years of service is both historic and remarkable, and we offer Her Majesty our best wishes for her continuing good health and happiness.
Our personal welcome this evening, is of course, for our royal guests, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
On your first full day here with us you have had the opportunity to engage with many Bahamians, and to have experienced something of who we are.
The look of joy on the faces of the young people at the Sybil Strachan school this morning, was wonderful to behold.
And similarly, the joy on the faces of our healthcare workers, to whom we owe so much for having been on the frontline of the battle against Covid, also spoke to their happiness to welcome you here.
Having experienced both victory and loss over many long years in politics, I must confess that I cannot remember having ever personally experienced the level of excitement in Parliament Square, among members of the public, that greeted the arrival of our royal guests today.
That was truly the kind of great Bahamian welcome, which our people are so well-known for!
That is who we are!
And this is why so many visitors return, again and again.
I hope that we will count you among them!
I’d like to take a moment to say ‘thank you’, to all those Bahamians, and members of our visiting delegation, who put in such efforts to make the arrangements which are necessary for a visit such as this. We are very grateful for all you have done.
As for myself: I am delighted to see the Duke again, so soon after we met in Glasgow, last November, during COP26, the UN Conference on Climate Change.
In continuing our discussion yesterday, I was pleased and impressed that he has so fully embraced and engaged with these issues, especially as they impact on countries like our beloved Bahamas.
While the threats we face are global and challenge all of humanity, I believe that the Duke and I share an abiding faith in the ingenuity and ability of human beings to overcome these challenges, by coming together, and working together, to do the right thing!
While we will continue to do all that we can here in The Bahamas, I know that you will do the same in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.
Your Royal Highnesses:
We have done our best to make you feel at home.
I trust that the rain showers today were more of a comforting reminder, rather than an inconvenience!
Tomorrow, I hope you will enjoy the glimpses island life in Abaco and Grand Bahama.
Those two islands have experienced especially tough times in recent years.
I hope that your visit helps with their healing, as we continue to work to restore them to their former glories.
As our Bahamian dancers, musicians and artists demonstrated during the Junkanoo display on Bay Street, despite the setbacks and challenges of recent years, come rain or come shine, the spirit of the Bahamian people is once again on the rise!
After you take your leave tomorrow night, I trust that you will long continue to share the memories of your time here with us, with everyone you meet, at home and abroad.
And I hope you find it in your hearts to let them know, it is already again, Better, in The Bahamas.
On behalf of my wife, Ann-Marie, and all the people of our Commonwealth, thank you for visiting with us.
To Your Gracious Health!