The Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Remarks on Cat Island Water Supply Contract Signing

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen:

A very pleasant good morning.
It is my great pleasure to be here with you as we mark this historic milestone in the development of Cat Island.

I acknowledge the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Works, the Executive Chairman of the Water and Sewerage Corporation and other board members, the Island Administrator, the Chief Councilor and other members of the District Council, religious, business and civic leaders, and the management and staff of the Corporation who have all joined us this morning.

Ladies and Gentlemen:
As you are all so acutely aware, our entire planet is presently facing the worst pandemic in almost a century.

Here in The Bahamas and internationally, our way of life has been significantly altered and we have had to adapt.

This is a challenge of epic portions to all of the world.

However, as we draw closer to the celebrations of the birth of Jesus Christ, there is a growing hope that by the grace of Almighty God, next year will mark a new beginning for us all.

Thankfully, the tough decisions and comprehensive actions we took to confront COVID-19 has left us in a much better place for Christmas than most of the countries in the world.

I want to again thank and to applaud the majority of Bahamians, including on Cat Island who adopted and remained disciplined in the public health guidelines.

Your discipline and the Government’s efforts saved lives and prevented illness, which is allowing us to reopen the country.

Ladies and Gentlemen:
As your Prime Minister, I am extremely

focused on the necessity for critical infrastructure for all of our residents and visitors to our shores.

This includes: good roads, the consistentsupply of electricity, proper telecommunications, modern airports and docks, and other facilities.

We also need good essential services such as health care, schools and national security services, such as policing, immigration control, and the defense of our borders from threats like poaching and illegal migrants.

One area that is critical for everyday life is potable water, which every home and business require for functioning and thriving.

Access to water is a fundamental right for human beings.

We all appreciate the importance of having high quality potable water piped into our homes and businesses.

Today therefore is a day of celebration for the people of Cat Island.

Today is a tremendous landmark in your history.

Today, is truly a great day.

We are gathered to witness the signing of a contract for the provision of the initial stages of piped potable water for the first time in the history of Cat Island.

Sadly, this is a matter which was neglected by some who had the ability to do more for you, but who failed to do so.

But that is the past.

To use a well-known quote, that past is water under the bridge.

My Government is looking to your future where good potable water will be flowing into your homes, your business and public facilities, like your clinics and schools.

We are fighting for the future of Cat Island.

We are fighting for the future our entire Bahamas.

I am challenging the Minister of Work and the Executive Chairman to immediately commence the process of developing a strategic plan, including, a financing plan for the installation of piped potable water to each and every home in Cat Island within the shortest possible period.

As Prime Minister and as someone deeply committed to our Family Islands, which some political leaders neglected in the past, I am extending this challenge as we are approaching 50 years of independence.

We must set a national goal to complete the delivery of this most essential service to all of our residents throughout our Family of Islands, which are critical for the economic development and growth of our Bahamas.

As we plan and fight for your future, we will announce a timeline and date for the completion of the provision of piped water to all communities in our beautiful archipelago.

Ladies and Gentlemen:
Your Government is cognizant that without these basic utilities, there can be no sustainable growth and development in our Family Islands.

The provision of essential infrastructure will allow us to better:

• Promote and encourage the development of additional Bahamian– owned business and tourism facilities;

•Incentivize the development of small, environmentally friendly boutique hotels, bone-fish lodges and other small quality resorts through marketing and promotional support;

• Ensure that Family Island airports and docks are modernized to facilitate these linkages;

  • Promote the growth in agriculture, fisheries and manufacturing; and
  • Encourage the diversification in growing agricultural produce among the Family Islands to enhance inter-island trade.We will continue to bolster health facilities and education, including, in this internet age, access to telemedicine and online education.

Students on islands like Cat Island, should have online access to teachers and learning on smart devices.

This is what the future looks like!

Let us fight together for this future for ourselves, our children and for generations to come.

Ladies and Gentlemen:
As we look to new beginnings in 2021, I am certain that this project will mark a new beginning for the health and wealth of Cat Island.

I promise Cat Islanders that today this is only the beginning.

I look forward to returning in the near future for other positive new beginnings for Cat Island.

There is much more to come for Cat Island!

My philosophy of government is very clear:

Every Bahamian and every part of The Bahamas deserves, by right, access to the same opportunities, services and infrastructure.

There was a time in The Bahamas when some constituencies and islands suffered from victimization and neglect because they did not support the party in office.

Dear Brothers and Sister on Cat Island:

You have had plenty of endurance.

You have waited so many years for this day.

The future is here and it will only get better.

Let me thank all of those involved.

I will be closely following the progress of this project.

Ladies and Gentlemen:
As we prepare for new beginnings, I extend my best wishes for all of you and your families for a most enjoyable Christmas, of course, keeping in mind the public health guidelines.

It is my fervent prayer that Almighty God will extend his blessings on our nation for 2021.

Thank you for your hospitality.

May God bless the wonderful people of Cat Island.

Thank you and good morning.