Deputy Prime Minister I. Chester Cooper,
Minister of Grand Bahama Ginger Moxey, Minister of State Leon Lundy,
Honourable and Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A pleasant good morning.
Throughout this term in government, my administration has been fully engaged in the work of restoration and recovery after historically difficult times.
We have turned the situation around by driving unemployment down to its lowest levels in over 15 years, bringing in record levels of tourist arrivals, and surpassing even the international experts’ projections for economic growth.
Even in the midst of talk of economic recessions and job market stagnancy among the wealthy nations of the developed world, we continue to stand strong.
While these achievements count as recovery in one sense, I believe that there is a deeper recovery that we are striving for. For as much progress as we have made, we know that it is not enough.
Not when violent crime levels are still far too high. Not when our educational system still needs major reforms. And not when inequality still creates an economic divide that prevents many of our people from feeling truly empowered by the land of their birth.
What we are working to recover is the Bahamian dream. The progress we have made has been necessary as we lay a foundation for real change and real movement toward the empowerment of Bahamians to live their best lives in The Bahamas.
I still maintain that we are not here to make small, incremental changes. We must bring about a real transformation if we are to achieve our goals of creating a fairer and more prosperous Bahamas for everyone.
Of course, this is a complex undertaking. It requires time. It requires an abundance of resources. And it requires all hands on deck.
Just a few months ago, we made a few changes to our team with the objective of re-aligning the existing skills and expertise with portfolios that allow our team to do their best work.
Today, we are continuing with that process of alignment.
I have invited Mr. Kingsley Smith to serve as a Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Grand Bahama.
Grand Bahama, as we all know, is one of the islands that is brimming with untapped potential that successive administrations have inadequately tapped into.
As we seek to drive real change in this nation, there is no way we can fulfill our vision of prosperity without revving up the economic engine of the north. The Grand Bahama economy must thrive again. We have already brought in over one billion in investments and are moving forward with key infrastructural projects – large undertakings that will require leadership from those who know the lay of the land and have the best interests of Grand Bahama at heart.
I can think of no better person to lend their expertise and passion for Grand Bahama and its people to the Ministry of Grand Bahama than Kinglsey Smith.
As he prepares to take up the mantle as Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Grand Bahama, he does so with an already impressive record of service, one which has touched countless lives throughout his career.
As Parliamentary Secretary, he will support the work of the Ministry of Grand Bahama, working in tandem with Minister Moxey to ensure that we are able to sustain and expedite our progress on the island.
In this new position, Kingsley will assist with brokering agreements and partnerships, facilitating project execution, and contributing to the rollout of our strategic development plan for the entire island of Grand Bahama from East End to West End.
He is well aware of the urgency with which we have worked since day one of our administration. As we continue our transition from the preparatory stage of development to a rapid implementation phase, I have full confidence that he will prove valuable to our efforts on the island.
After all, Kingsley Smith is no stranger to the steadfast principles which constitute the bedrock of our democracy and government. His experience and passion for public service make him the ideal man for the job.
As we welcome him to this esteemed position, we also extend our support and encouragement for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
I am confident that he will serve the people of Grand Bahama with integrity, diligence, and a firm commitment to progress.
We still have a lot of work to do, and we will continue to work each and every day to bring about the changes that our nation needs.
Kingsley, as you join us in this effort, I charge you to work diligently, speak honestly, and remain dedicated in your service to the Bahamian people. I look forward to working along with you as we continue to drive real change in our nation.
And may God continue to bless you and may God continue to bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.