Prime Minister Minnis: More work to be done to ensure more women serve in the Cabinet

Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis said that if the Free National Movement is granted the privilege of another term in office, there will be more women in the Cabinet of The Bahamas.

The Prime Minister acknowledged that the representation of women in cabinet is at a historic low, given the previous number of women serving at that level.

“This is not good for our democracy or our society,” Prime Minister Minnis said on Monday 8 March at the swearing-in of Mrs. Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe, MP, West Grand Bahama and Bimini, as Minister of State in the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, at the Office of the Governor General.

“In keeping with the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, I challenge myself, my party, other parties, the nation and the women of the nation, in our collective determination to ensure that more women serve in Parliament and in the cabinet.”

The Prime Minister said that while there have been historic breakthroughs in the number of women who have served in the cabinet, more work must be done to ensure more women serve in the cabinet on a sustainable basis.

Since independence, two women have served as representatives of the country’s Head of State. Women have also headed both the legislative and judicial branches, including as President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Assembly, President of the Court of Appeals and Chief Justice.

Currently, of the 16 members of the Senate, there are seven women serving.

Women have served in a number of cabinet posts and Mrs. Cynthia ‘Mother’ Pratt served as Deputy Prime Minister. 

Government ministries and departments have been led by women for decades, with a succession of women serving as Secretary to the Cabinet.

As the new Minister of State in the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, the Prime Minister invited Minister Parker-Edgecombe to “lend your abilities, your heart and your abiding empathy to the many communities who are continuing to rebuild with fortitude, with determination and with resilience.”

In the rebuilding and renewal of Abaco, the Abaco Cays and Grand Bahama since Hurricane Dorian, $105.6 million dollars in tax concessions were provided during 2019 and 2020 under the Special Economic Recovery Zone Act, for VAT, Customs duties and excise tax waivers, said Prime Minister Minnis.

A total of $11,536,683.22 in business licence fees were waived for 4,475 companies in the affected areas. This is related to business licence fees that had accrued during 2019 before the hurricane.

Additionally, $5,983,424.42 was disbursed by the Small Business Development Centre to micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises in the affected areas.

“While there has been significant progress in our reconstruction efforts, there is still a long way to go to restore and to renew [Abaco, the Abaco Cays and Grand Bahama],” the Prime Minister reiterated.