Prime Minister Davis’s Opening Contribution to the Mid-Year Budget Debate 2023-2024


Deputy Speaker,

I rise today, on behalf of the people of Cat Island, Rum Cay, and San Salvador, to open the debate on the government’s Mid-Year Budget.

This mid-year budget affords us the opportunity to highlight for the Bahamian people the decisions we have made during the first half of the fiscal year – to enhance economic, social, and national security while driving progress on our goal of creating a more dynamic, more inclusive and more resilient economy and society.

As this administration nears the halfway mark of its term, our vision for this nation is taking form. We’ve maintained from day one that what this country needed to experience a turnaround was a competent, compassionate, people-focused government.

The Bahamian people needed a government with its values grounded in its belief in Bahamian excellence, because when the times get tough, when hard choices need to be made, when ultimatums are put on the table, Bahamians need to know that they have leaders in office who will put the people first.

Since September 2021, that has been our approach.

We met an economy in shambles; a government with record levels of debt and historically low revenues; a healthcare system on the ropes; a people frustrated with an administration that was not hearing their cries; and an economy-crushing regime that unfairly targeted some Bahamians while allowing others to do as they please.

On day one, we immediately got to work: reopening the economy; getting our children back in school; getting tourists back on our beaches and in our resorts; and peeling back many of the dictatorial restrictions that weren’t just stifling our economy, they were stifling our very way of life.

We accomplished this turnaround while putting in place common sense, data-driven pandemic management strategies that prevented the virus from spreading out of control but still allowed people to make a living.

Deputy Speaker,

I haven’t forgotten those days. Nor have the tens of thousands of Bahamians who felt traumatised, victimised, and financially strangled by the previous administration’s policies. 

That kind of collective trauma is not easily forgotten.

Fortunately, our recovery strategies were effective in getting the nation out of that dire situation as quickly and safely as possible.

With the recovery out of the way, our priorities shifted from getting our nation back on its feet to taking The Bahamas to new heights.

Regardless of the resources we put into pandemic recovery, we knew that we still had to deliver for the Bahamian people. In fact, given the economic, systemic, and social vulnerabilities exposed throughout that ordeal, it was clear to us, and to the Bahamian people, that simply returning to the status quo was never an option.

Not when our decades-old issues with crime still persisted. Not while we still have such high levels of income inequality. Not when our educational system has struggled to meet the needs of our students and our economy for so many years.

A return to things as they were was not enough. Bahamians yearn for more – a brighter, safer, more prosperous future.

People want to live in a country that feels like it’s working for them, not against them.

They want to live in a place where they are assured that if they work hard, make the right decisions, and uphold their end of the bargain, they can lead happy, healthy, and secure lives.

As Bahamian citizens, I’d like to believe every member in this House would like to see this vision made real for our nation.

Amid the challenges, the unforeseen setbacks, and the difficult choices, I am determined to do all that I can in service of the Bahamian people to lay the foundation for the kind of paradigm shift that can make this vision a reality for people at every level of our society.

Budgetary Priorities, National Results

Deputy Speaker,

The national budget represents the avenue through which country-defining decisions are made. Within these numbers are the choices that reveal where an administration’s priorities are placed. Mouths can say anything. But look at a government’s budget, and you will see what is in the heart of its leaders.

The number one metric any budget should be measured by is the outcomes it generates. What was the return on investment? How were people’s lives and livelihoods secured and improved as a result of these activities? How have the goals of an administration and a nation been met?

I can say with confidence that this Mid-Year Budget brings us closer, step-by-step, policy-by-policy, programme-by-programme, to that brighter future we all envision.

Currently, the world is going through an economic slowdown. Countries around the world are seeing a decline in GDP growth. Some are even seeing a contraction. Governments are tightening their belts and bracing for rough landings.

It is a testament to the effectiveness of our economic strategies that our economy – a tourism-reliant, import-dependent economy – continues to see GDP growth at a rate of over 4%, placing us above the global average, above many so-called self-sufficient and developed economies, which saw their economies slow to 1.4% growth. They often say tourism and service-dependent economies are particularly vulnerable to external shocks, but we are holding firm.

This did not happen by accident, Deputy Speaker.

It is a product of unprecedented investments made by the government and by investors in New Providence, Grand Bahama, and our Family Islands that are just beginning to take root and are expected to make even more of an impact over the next few years. 

This is a product of effective support of local businesses and social outreach to Bahamian families.

It is a result of a record 9 plus million tourists visiting our shores last year, a pace we are determined to maintain, even as we are hit by travel advisories and as we see economic slowdowns in many of our source tourism markets.

This kind of economic resilience is not a happy accident as some would have you believe.

Nor was it the inevitable of some special post-pandemic boom. If it was, then all of our global counterparts would be sharing the same post-pandemic good news. That is a common talking point we hear from those who try to discredit our success. Do our critics believe that it is only The Bahamas that adorns this cloak of inevitability? Does every nation in the world except us earn their own success? Why aren’t they all growing and performing the way we are?

The critics would have the Bahamian people believe that we have not earned the successes that they feel and see.

But we cannot accept that narrative.

What we are seeing is the product of strategic national investment and a focus on empowering and uplifting people.

In just two years, we have seen historic progress on many different fronts, as we roll out a comprehensive strategic development plan. 

The good news is that despite the record-setting pace of our administration and the tremendous amount of progress we have made, spending has remained under control and the government’s fiscal situation continues to improve.

Fiscal Performance: Revenue Collection and Return on Investment

Mr. Deputy Speaker,

Before providing a brief overview to inform the public of the many great initiatives that are underway as of the midway point of the current fiscal cycle, I want to focus for a moment on the progress we have made in improving the country’s financial affairs.

As of December 2023, revenues are up $72.9 million compared to the same period in the previous budget cycle.

Examining the primary balance reveals some interesting trends. The primary balance represents a true sense of the government’s fiscal management. It is comprised of the revenues collected minus the expenditure with the exclusion of interest payments on existing debts. What makes the primary balance particularly useful as a means of measuring a government’s fiscal performance is its use as an indicator of the success of current measures. Why? Most debt is historical. It is inherited. For example, we inherited a debt-to-GDP ratio of over 100% from the Minnis administration. This means that for every dollar our entire economy generated in a given year, we owed a dollar to a lender. Because much of a nation’s debt reflects past decisions, when we view the primary balance, we get a better sense of the impact of current efforts without taking into account the inherited burden.

There has been a significant shift from a primary deficit of $15 million at the end of December 2018 to a primary surplus of $42.4 million in the present period. This reversal indicates a positive change in the government’s financial position. It is worth noting that this is not the first time under this administration that we have experienced a primary surplus. In fact, during the same period last year, we also observed a primary surplus of $4.9 million. These consecutive half-years of primary surpluses highlight the government’s mandate to generate revenue and manage its expenses more effectively, thus contributing to overall fiscal stability. However, we still recognize that interest costs are important to monitor as we continue to carefully manage our national debt, much of it is inherited. 

In fact, we have been able to reduce the Debt-to-GDP ratio by nearly 20% – from the 100% under the previous administration to 81.7% as it currently stands. This is a testament to our prudent financial management strategies.

Overall, we’ve seen an increase of $24 million in expenditure versus the over 70 million dollar increase in revenues. As a result, despite any missed projections, the net deficit of $258.7 million represents in our view a decrease from the previous budget cycle.

The fact is: the deficit is going down, not up. We have a lot more progress to make, but the indicators of success are moving in the right direction.

Deputy Speaker,

For the remainder of this budget cycle, our fiscal targets remain unchanged. 

The government has not adjusted its revenue, spending, or deficit forecasts. We remain confident in our projections of strong financial performance in the latter half of this fiscal year.

This is not just wishful thinking. Revenues tend to increase during the peak winter months. 

And we also expect to see increased receipts from improved collection efforts, as well as the new business license fees.

In the medium term, our projections also remain the same. The revenue enhancement measures we’ve rolled out are expected to keep us on track to arrive at our goal of revenue making up 25% of GDP in just a few years.

We will achieve this goal through the efficient collection of taxes, including the collection of maritime-related taxes and the introduction of a large taxpayers unit focused on businesses making more than $5 million annually – not the small corner store or side hustle, but the multi-million dollar businesses that have not been living up to their tax obligations.

Our efforts will crack down on the over $200 million in missed revenues due to the smuggling of goods into the country. This includes $100 million directly attributed to the smuggling of alcohol and tobacco products. 

We are tightening the collection of VAT, Customs Duties, Business Licence fees, and real property taxes, generating the revenues needed to live up to our international obligations while also launching the initiatives needed to empower our people.

We are living up to our promise to the Bahamian people to avoid new taxes that unnecessarily place additional strain on families by improving the collection of taxes and fees that are already on the books.

I know there are those who have engaged in a campaign of misinformation. They are taking advantage of the public’s frustration when it comes to high prices, which are primarily fueled by global inflation, and saying that it is due to taxes. 

The fact remains that since coming into office we’ve lowered the overall VAT rate and lowered custom duties on many essential goods.

Where taxes and fees have been increased, they are primarily geared toward certain categories of business owners, boat owners, and property owners.

For example, the Qualified Domestic Minimum Top-Up Tax, which is our approach to corporate income tax, will only affect multinational corporations earning more than 750 million euros per year. 

As much as I’d like to live in a future in which many Bahamians own multinational companies bringing in nearly a billion dollars a year, we are not there yet as a country. So, we can safely say that not a single Bahamian-owned venture will be directly affected by this tax. And through this tax, we hope to generate an additional $140 million per year in government revenue.

As a part of the ongoing misinformation campaign, there are those who began saying that droves of businesses will leave The Bahamas as a result of this tax.

To be clear, Mr. Deputy Speaker, this tax is, in part, designed to live up to our commitments to the OECD. The vast majority of countries in the world, including those like us who didn’t previously have corporate income taxes, will be introducing similar regimes or face the threat of blacklisting and other possible consequences. Rather than wait around to be accused of non-compliance, we have taken proactive action to introduce this corporate income tax.

Our prospects as an appealing jurisdiction for investments and the operation of multinational corporations are just as strong as they ever were. If these companies don’t pay their tax here, they would simply have to pay the same tax to their home jurisdiction. We have managed to retain many of our competitive advantages as all nations will be on the same playing field in relation to corporate income taxes.

 So if they are operating here and we have the opportunity to get 15 percent of their taxes, we need to collect it here. It only makes sense. It is only prudent for us to make sure they pay their fair share here and not in their home jurisdiction.

But the bigger point here, the one that speaks to the true importance of this change is: why should companies operating within The Bahamas making more than 750 million euros per year not contribute at all to our country? Why are there people complaining about this change? How does the status quo benefit us? It is past time that we changed the rules so that everyone who benefits from being in The Bahamas pays their fair share for being in The Bahamas.

We see a similar approach when it comes to Real Property Taxes. The government will benefit from the collection of up to $800 million in real property tax arrears. In fact, we have already begun collecting on those moneys owed.

We are projected to collect $340 million this year compared to less than $250 million collected at the beginning of this term. 

This is despite moving the threshold for payment from $250,000 up to $300,000, bringing relief to many property owners. There are many people whose properties were worth between 250 to 300 thousand who now pay no real property tax at all.

The vast majority of the real property taxes owed are by owners of high-value properties – a huge percentage of those high-valued properties are second home owners.

Do we not feel that people who buy these nice vacation homes in some of the most beautiful areas that our nation has to offer should be paying their fair share? Why should they get to skip out on their tax obligations when the average middle-class family is living up to their responsibilities? The system of non-enforcement as it existed, was patently unfair.

Everyone is now paying their fair share, Deputy Speaker. No exceptions. And it doesn’t matter how much money you have, how much power you have, or who you know. The Department of Inland Revenue has stepped up to ensure that tax collection is done in a fair, transparent, and efficient manner.

Now where our policies have had unintended effects, we are in the process of making adjustments. You will see this with our boating fees. Our intention was not to impact the owners of small boats or small-scale fishermen. So, we are in the process of making adjustments to fine-tune our focus and provide relief for these groups, while also ensuring that owners of luxury crafts, who come here to sail and enjoy our pristine waters, pay the requisite fees.

When it comes to the introduction of new taxes, to end the baseless speculation of our plans, I wish to reiterate that we will not introduce new taxes that will directly impact Bahamian families. While there is a need to consider reforms to our regressive tax regime, which currently sees lower-income people spending more of their income on taxes than higher-income people, we are not considering the introduction of personal income taxes or any other income-related taxes at this time.

Instead, our approach is focused on ensuring that those who can afford to pay their taxes live up to their obligations to the government.

This is what Bahamians have wanted for years. People have often said that before the government introduces any major new taxes, they would like to see better enforcement and collection of the existing taxes so that we are maximising opportunity for revenue generation under the current system. This is exactly what we are successfully doing now.

Decision and priorities, Mr. Deputy Speaker. That is what budgets are all about. We’ve made an important decision to draw a line in the sand when it comes to the collection of taxes from those who have avoided their responsibilities for years despite being among the wealthiest people and businesses in our nation.

I know there are some who are angered by our approach. They’re thinking, “How dare we go after the elite?” Some people have been evading their business license fees, their customs duties, and their real property taxes for so long, it now feels like they’re being targeted when we ask them to finally pay what they owe.

As the quote goes: “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”

But this is a New Day. And we are building a new, fairer Bahamas.

The world has taken notice of the ways this government handles its affairs differently, too.

That is why, more than ever before, our voice is being included in international affairs. We are being invited by leaders of countries and top executives in multi-national funding agencies to participate in conversations of global importance.

We are leading the way on climate change, climate justice, and climate reforms.

And we are standing up for Bahamians on the international stage.

We have joined with other countries to hold the US accountable for the flow of illegal weapons into our borders. Because we cannot ignore the role that guns manufactured in the United States play in the high levels of gun violence we see on our streets.

We have joined with other developing nations to decry the unfair application of international standards and moving goalposts related to financial services. 

And we have successfully lobbied for the United Nations, instead of the OECD or EU, to be the leading international body in developing standards. Our Attorney General Ryan Pinder, was instrumental in reversing the folly of the Minnis administration’s handling of the economic substance reporting portal that landed us on the EU’s blacklist. Thanks to our efforts and advocacy, he will now sit on a committee charged with developing fair international standards at the UN.

Thanks again to our close work with the International Labour Organization, we are the first country in the entire region to launch a second-generation Decent Work Country Programme, which has enabled us to launch our National Apprenticeship Programme this year.

We are attracting investments from new regions like the Middle East and establishing relationships in new regions – expanding our financial services outreach to the Asian market and fostering diplomatic ties with African nations. This is the most traction we’ve ever seen internationally and we will keep the momentum going.

Accomplishments Under Current Budget

When it comes to the current budget cycle, we have taken a balanced approach, prioritising the nation’s fiscal health but not embracing austerity at the expense of the prosperity of our people. Our focus has been on the areas of our economy and our society where we can see the highest returns on investment.

Our budget represents a conscious choice made by this government to invest in the future of this nation. 

Let’s take a look at all that we’ve been able to accomplish since July 2023, the beginning of the current budget cycle.

Priority number one has been national security. As we speak, our Royal Bahamas Defence Force officers are patrolling our waters to secure our borders. We must equip them with all the equipment and tools they need to succeed. Our future depends on it.  

Our police officers are hard at work using saturation patrols and increasing their presence on our main roads and in our communities to take back our streets from those who seek to sow seeds of fear and violence.

However, there is no quick fix when it comes to permanently lowering crime levels. We’ve seen surges in violent crimes for decades.

The truth is that the government and police force alone cannot completely eradicate violence. We are dealing with an epidemic that requires all hands on deck – from our parents to our schools to our community organisations and churches; as well as our courts, our rehabilitative and transitional services, and each and every citizen. We are all needed in the fight against crime.

That is why, in recognition of the need to immediately curtail the current wave while taking more long-term efforts to combat crime, this administration launched Crackdown 2024 to build safer communities through a focus on the five pillars of prevention, policing, prosecution, punishment, and rehabilitation.

Through this whole-of-society approach, we believe that we can and will make a difference.

We are using every tool at our disposal to fight crime.

That is why you have seen an increased police presence all over New Providence. It’s why we amended the Bail Act so that those who break the conditions of their bail receive prison sentences instead of a fine or slap on the wrist.

It’s why we are seeing more CCTV camera systems spring up around New Providence, more body cameras, vehicles, and other supplies for our officers, and an investment in more courts for swifter justice.

Having a safe and secure country will remain at the top of our agenda.

An equally important issue that we intend to tackle head-on is the cost of living.  With the global shipping issues brought on by the pandemic, the volatility in fuel costs, the disruption to the global supply chain as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war, and now the unrest in the Middle East, the world saw a perfect storm for inflation.

Prices for many everyday goods rose significantly during that period. In the previous budget cycle, we hired more price control officers and lowered customs duties on nutritious foods. But we know we have to take more significant action to make an impact on the cost of living.

Deputy Speaker,

Energy reform is at the heart of our efforts to reduce the cost of living and build more economic opportunities.

Prices are too high, interruptions to service are too frequent, and our aging energy grid cannot handle current needs, let alone growing needs. To create a successful 21st-century economy, we need a 21st-century energy grid.  Transforming, modernizing, and upgrading our old, deteriorating energy infrastructure is a matter of real and serious urgency. At the same time, and as you will hear in more detail from the Minister of Energy, BPL’s financial condition is dire – saddled with legacy debts and unfunded obligations. To add to the complexity and challenge, we are moving to upgrade our grid to be more efficient and to accommodate renewable energy at the same time that many countries in the world are attempting to do the same, and waiting times for critical materials are growing.

Deputy Speaker, we are not daunted by the complexity of these challenges. We have been moving forward on four fronts – solar energy for our Family Islands, solar energy for New Providence, LNG as a partner fuel, and the transformation of our infrastructure. These are all critical, and all interrelated – all necessary to lower prices, increase reliability, add cleaner energy, upskill and train BPL workers – and strengthen the financial position of BPL, so that we can carry out these transformative changes and meet our commitments to our Bahamian workers. In the coming weeks, we will be concluding complex negotiations, and the RFP process, and we look forward to making some exciting announcements in the not-too-distant future.

We are also making unprecedented investments in agriculture through grants and loans for farmers so that, in a few years, we can lower our food import bill and see cheaper prices for locally-grown produce in our grocery stores. 

I want to emphasise the fact that for energy and agriculture and many other areas of development, our Family Islands are leading the way. 

That is by design.

Family Island development has been a priority from day one. We’ve brought in billions of dollars in new investments, spread throughout our archipelago. Major investments in islands like San Salvador, Exuma, Long Island, Abaco, and Cat Island are going to create important opportunities. Grand Bahama alone has attracted over one and a half billion dollars in investments.

These private sector investments are accompanied by a number of government investments in infrastructure and roadworks throughout the Family Islands, as well as several major Public-Private Partnerships – most notably, the Renaissance Airport Initiative that will expand and modernise the 14 airports throughout the Family Islands. 

These major works throughout our archipelago have been launched during this budget cycle.

Mr. Deputy Speaker,

As the economy grows, it is critical that we ensure it is growing for everyone. That is why, as new jobs are being generated, we are investing in training and education initiatives, like the renewable energy programme at BTVI, that align with the direction our country is headed.

See how strategic development works, Mr. Deputy Speaker? The country is headed in the direction of renewable energy, so we are educating and training young Bahamians for the jobs of the future by the launch of the renewable energy programme at BTVI.

This goes back to my point about having a government that believes in Bahamian excellence. The National Training Agency is strengthening and expanding its offerings. UB is continuing to grow. The PS-PEP 52-week programme participants have gained employment in both the public and private sectors. And we are currently laying the groundwork for the first-ever National Apprenticeship Programme, which is expected to be launched before the end of the year. This Apprenticeship Programme will be available to Bahamians 16 and up.

We are also streamlining and integrating training programmes throughout the nation to ensure that we are synergising and not duplicating efforts.

The beautiful thing about our approach is that there are opportunities for professional development for everyone. 

While UB is a great opportunity for some, you don’t need to be college-bound to participate in these opportunities and begin building a career. We have a specific focus on the inclusion of persons with disabilities, women, Family Islanders, people with criminal records, and youth. This will be the most inclusive and expansive approach to national skills development ever rolled out as we secure employment opportunities for Bahamians. The pilot for the National Apprenticeship Programme is being launched before the end of this year.

Of course, we’re not stopping at creating jobs, we are also empowering Bahamians to own a piece of their country. In this budget cycle, we are facilitating hundreds of families moving into new, affordable homes, and we are supporting many small and medium-sized enterprises through loans and grants, providing them with the capital they need to succeed.

This includes businesses in tourism; Bahamians must own a bigger piece of the hospitality pie. The new incubator being launched by the Tourism Development Corporation provides rent-free spaces for small and micro tourism-focused businesses that will showcase our creativity and culture. It is critical that we elevate Bahamians who are delivering authentically Bahamian experiences for visitors to our shores – these are experiences that can only be found in The Bahamas. This incubator pilot, once successful, will be replicated throughout our islands. We’re giving Bahamian business owners a real chance at success, reducing the cost of operation so they can grow their businesses.

That is the true job of the government – not to merely provide jobs for people, but to create a fertile environment where their businesses can grow and they can go on to provide the jobs and grow the economy.

This is yet another initiative that is being facilitated during this budget cycle.

As we invest in the future, we also recognise the need for further reforms and investments in education. We’ve already launched the National School Breakfast pilot programme to feed our children and in just a few days, we will announce an expansion to even more schools. 

During this budget cycle, we are also committing to a number of new educational initiatives, including the direct engagement of students based on our system-wide testing results to mitigate the effects of learning loss during the pandemic and you will hear more about this from the Minister of Education.

As we continue to deal with these impacts, we are launching a new Parental Engagement Unit to promote parental involvement; we are modernising the curriculum, training more teachers, and investing in more equipment and supplies to support our teachers, as we also remain committed to the agreed upon schedule of payments to improve teacher salaries and benefits over regular intervals for the next few years.

Within the numbers and figures before us are key investments in our children, the future of our nation.

In regards to salaries and benefits increases, our teachers weren’t the only ones who benefitted from our efforts. Between our successful negotiation of new trade union agreements, after over four years of failed negotiations, and the current public service-wide promotion exercise, which is the first such promotion in over nine years, we have essentially placed an additional 18 million dollars in public servants’ pockets.

When we first announced this figure, the leader of the opposition was so blown away by our efforts to give public servants decent wages and benefits, that he immediately called for these numbers to be fact-checked.

But we are giving pure facts today, Deputy Speaker.

The opposition, after not having a public service-wide promotion for their entire term. After putting a stop to annual increments designed to help people cope with the rising cost of living. After growing the public service promotions backlog and not negotiating a single union agreement during their four years in office, how could they expect the number to be a small number, Deputy Speaker? 

We not only have to give public servants the increases they deserve, we are also playing catch up to cope with the previous administration’s complete and utter failure to prioritise our public servants in a real and meaningful way.

You can truly tell what drives a government by its budgetary priorities. The truth is in the numbers.

And when it comes to our public servants – the ones who do the work of government and determine the success of our administrations – the numbers are clear as day when we look at who is truly looking out for our government workers.

Let them fact-check that, Deputy Speaker. 

But I must warn the member opposite, facts are stubborn things. They are not easily shaped to conform to fantasy narratives and idle speculation.

Unlike the previous administration’s feeding programme and Dorian Relief efforts, we don’t shy away from transparency and accountability.

We welcome the public scrutiny.

But I’ve noticed a trend.

Whenever we have good news. Whenever we have amazing developments. It is often met with skepticism by the side opposite, even when the proof is right before their eyes.

They are skeptical about public servant promotions. They are skeptical about our fiscal performance and projections. They were skeptical about the record-breaking tourism numbers. Even when the National Statistical Institute announced the job numbers last year, using the same methodology they always use regardless of which party is in power, the side opposite questioned that. 

The nation received good news, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Employment is at its lowest levels since before the 2008 recession. There are 16-year-olds graduating from high school this year and about to enter the job market who weren’t even born yet the last time employment was this low.

The good news is often met with skepticism. But let it be something bad – a blacklist warning, a projected downgrade, a travel advisory, or some international critic making negative commentary – all of a sudden the skepticism goes out the window and they believe every word they hear.

Mr. Deputy Speaker,

You gotta watch out for people in your life who always question your good news but are quick to run and spread negative gossip about you.

I know the opposition has to do its job as the opposition. But that job should be based on the facts, not political expediency.

Because we are all Bahamians.

When the government wins, the country wins.

When the government wins, everybody wins.

I believe every member of this Honourable House can appreciate that fact.


Mr. Deputy Speaker,

As we perform this review of the first 6 months of our fiscal year, the choices made in our budget reflect our belief as I’ve said in Bahamian excellence, as well as the right to dignity and respect due to every person. We are making the necessary investments in our economy, in protecting and strengthening our communities, in caring for one another, and in securing our future.

There is still so much left to be done, but we are advancing in the right direction. And we are fully committed to seeing our work through to the end.

Changing the status quo is not meant to be easy. The work we are doing is not for the faint of heart. But together, working and walking with the Bahamian people, we can build the country that we deserve. We can build the opportunities we envision. And we can build a future where every Bahamian has a fair chance at leading a healthy, happy, and fulfilled life in the place they call home.

Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker.