During Diplomatic Week 2023, marking the occasion of celebrating 50 years of foreign relations, Prime Minister Hon. Philip Davis KC, MP, delivered an extensive address outlining the nation’s strategic foreign policy direction.
At the forefront, the Prime Minister praised the contributions of diplomats in enhancing the Bahamas’ stature on the international stage. This was particularly evident in recent collaborations, such as the assistance provided by the Canadian government in evacuating Bahamians from Israel. The Prime Minister’s address underscored a reaffirmation of multilateralism as a cornerstone of the nation’s foreign policy.
The significance of the UN Multi-Vulnerability Index (MVI) for Small Island Developing States like the Bahamas was stressed as the Prime Minister emphasized our nation’s commitment to economic and social justice. He championed the MVI for offering a holistic view of a nation’s vulnerability, encompassing aspects like climate change, political stability, and social disparities beyond mere economic factors.
The Prime Minister also touched upon tax justice and global financial reform. He drew attention to the inadequacies of the current international tax system and underscored the need for a more inclusive tax administration architecture. In his vision, the UN should lead this endeavor, ensuring equal representation for all nations.
Dwelling upon the theme of reparatory justice, the Prime Minister acknowledged the lasting impacts of colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade on our nation. He expressed the Bahamas’ commitment to reparatory justice, emphasizing it not just in monetary terms but also in cultural, educational, and developmental facets.
Discussing human rights and democracy, the Prime Minister highlighted recent progressive reforms within the nation, notably citing the establishment of the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee and the transformational policy changes related to citizenship rights.
The situation in neighboring Haiti was not overlooked. With deep concern for the deteriorating state of affairs in Haiti, the Prime Minister reaffirmed the Bahamas’ commitment to assist, referencing the recent decision to deploy 150 troops in alignment with the UN Security Council’s endorsement.
Climate justice was another critical focus area. Recognizing the devastating effects of climate change on islands like the Bahamas, the Prime Minister mentioned initiatives like The Bahamas Sustainable Investment Programme, which aims to underpin climate-resilient projects.
The Prime Minister invoked the words of former Prime Minister, Sir Lynden Pindling, emphasizing the importance of interdependence and mutual cooperation. He called for renewed global solidarity and encouraged diplomats to champion a new age of multilateralism, where cooperation and partnership become the keystones of international relations. Extending his gratitude, the Prime Minister wished all diplomats a successful Diplomatic Week.