Reopening of British High Commission

Sir Simon McDonald, Head of the British Diplomatic Service;

Members of the Judiciary;

Colleague Ministers;

Her Excellency Sarah Dickson, British High Commissioner to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas;

Senior Government Officials;

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen:

Good morning.

I am pleased to extend a warm welcome to The Bahamas to Sir Simon McDonald, Head of the British Diplomatic Service, who is here representing his government.

I congratulate the Government of the United Kingdom on the re-establishment of a high-level, physical presence in The Bahamas through the re-opening of the British High Commission in Nassau.

Through you, Sir Simon, I am also pleased to convey to your Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson our sentiments and regards.

I assure Sir Simon of the continued assistance of the Government of The Bahamas, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, regarding the settling in in her new mission, of High Commissioner, Her Excellency Sarah Dickerson.

The Bahamas is delighted to see the reopening of the British High Commission, which I am confident will serve to deepen the warm relationship that already exists between our two countries.

This reopening symbolises and reaffirms the commitment of the United Kingdom to our long-shared history and our bilateral relations in matters of mutual interest, bilaterally, regionally, and multilaterally.

Although this is meant to be a happy occasion, let me convey the sympathy to the Government and people of the United Kingdom in the aftermath of Storm Ciara, which hit the UK on Saturday past and has claimed the life of one person thus far.

We wish to extend our thanks to the United Kingdom for its military assistance and donations in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Dorian and for consistently remaining in touch with us since its passage.

We are grateful for the immediate response efforts of the RAF Mounts Bay which was stationed in Abaco, and included the use of helicopter services provided to assist with assessing the damages, and, also one of your ships which helped with delivering supplies.

Such events remind us of our shared commitment to combatting the global climate emergency and to further discussions on climate change at the 2020 UN Climate

Change Conference to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in November, 2020.

I also note our meeting in London for the 10th UK-Caribbean Forum and in Rwanda in June for CHOGM 2020.

These meetings will allow us to continue to dialogue on a range of matters and to agree on opportunities for shared partnerships for economic growth, trade and investment.

The Bahamas is committed to the economic partnership agreement with the UK, which was signed on 27th November, 2019, by our High Commissioner Ellison Greenslade, and which will come into effect after the Brexit transition period ends 31st December, 2020.

The Bahamas and UK are committed to the development of our young people.

In this regard, the Chevening Scholarships have provided great opportunities for Bahamians and other international students.

We are proud that the Scholarships have been consistently awarded to young Bahamians seeking higher education and training in a wide range of courses and disciplines.

On behalf of the Government and people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, we extend our best wishes and regards to the

Government and people of The United Kingdom.

We look forward to the deepening of relations in the years ahead.

May God continue to bless the Bahamas.

Thank you and good morning.