It is with great pleasure and pride that I welcome to our benches, the newest member of the House, the Member for West Grand Bahama and Bimini, Hon. Kingsley Smith.
By virtue of the fact that he has been elected to serve here, he is deemed to be ‘Honourable’.
By virtue of the fact that he has been elected to serve here, he is also deemed to be a ‘Gentleman’.
These are more than mere courtesies.
His ‘honour’ is characterised by the presumption of high principles.
He is styled as a ‘Gentleman’ not because of his social class, but because of the presumption that, in his character he will show himself to be “cultured, courteous and well-educated”.
Even in the passionate cut and thrust of debate, he will do well to live up to those expectations.
I have every confidence that he will.
And so we humbly thank the people of West Grand Bahama and Bimini, who once again demonstrated their trust in the Progressive Liberal Party, and confidence in our administration.
But Madam Speaker:
The convincing result disguises the hard work that secured this resounding victory.
As with every election, we did not take the Bahamian people for granted.
We worked as hard as we always do, to secure the best representation for the Bahamian people.
They invited us into their homes.
We heard their stories.
We saw many of the challenges they’re facing.
And we strengthened our resolve to help them.
We are so very grateful to the people of West Grand Bahama and Bimini for engaging with us, listening to us, and continuing to give us their support.
The early mornings, the long days, and the late-night effort gave us a wonderful opportunity to re-connect more profoundly with the people.
Now, as we continue our representation, we honour the memory of our late, and dearly departed friend and colleague, Hon. Obadiah Wilchcombe.
The Honourable Gentleman who succeeds him shares, and will build on, our collective vision for the people of this constituency.
We have already done a lot of things on those islands – but there’s still lots more to do.
There is a comfort, though, in knowing that many of the seeds we’ve planted in West Grand Bahama and Bimini, will bring significant new opportunities.
New investments and upgrades to infrastructure will make a real difference.
But in the meantime, life is still far too challenging for too many.
The same is true around the country.
The economy is growing, but recovery and growth haven’t as yet reached everyone.
We know how much work there is to do and we’re keen to get on with it!
Being a Member of Parliament is a great privilege – and with it comes great responsibility.
The people have placed their trust and confidence in the Honourable Gentleman.
Again – I have every confidence that he will deliver for them.
To help him along as he begins his journey, I offer two small pieces of wisdom, gained from having served as a Member of Parliament for many years.
The first is this.
At the end of the first year of the last session of parliament, I thought it fitting to gently remind Honourable Members of the ‘Principles of Public Life’ that govern the way we serve.
The so-called ‘Nolan Principles’ used in the United Kingdom are a useful reference.
I repeat them here for the benefit of the new Member:
Selflessness; Integrity; Objectivity, in terms of acting without discrimination or bias; Accountability; Openness; Honesty; and Leadership.
If you observe these principles in all that you do, you will do extremely well.
My second piece of advice is this: No matter how hard or unpopular, no matter how challenging or complex, it is never wrong to do the right thing.
As we do in respect of all our colleagues in this Honourable Place, we pray every blessing upon the life and work of the Honourable Member, his family and friends.
God Bless you sir.
You are, most welcome!