Journal Staff Writer
Almost two years since Prime Minister Philip Davis and the Progressive Liberal party (PLP)
government were voted in, the nation’s leader delivered an address to the nation – remarking
that it has been a privilege to serve, represent and fight on behalf of Bahamians.
Prime Minister Davis gave an overview of the last two years and what his administration has
done with regards to leading the country out of the tail end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the implementation of the Blueprint for Change, Prime Minster Davis acknowledged
that there is more to do as his administration attempts to take on long-standing challenges the
In his national address on Sunday, the prime minister detailed his administration’s
contribution to the country’s economy, which needed much revitalization post-COVID, with
the first priority, the economy.
“We knew many Bahamian businesses were on the brink of going under, so despite the severe
fiscal crisis, we made it a priority for the government to pay off significant arrears owed to
Bahamian companies. This decision injected $100 million into our local economy and saved
a number of businesses from bankruptcy,” the prime minister said.
“We brought back festivals and regattas and world-class sporting events, in some cases bigger
and better than ever before. You trusted us to release the stranglehold on the economy and to
fight the virus at the same time, and we did. Our policies jump-started the economy, and
Bahamians – always resourceful — responded with energy and enthusiasm. Many businesses
are now thriving. We now have a 15-year low in unemployment. Our fiscal situation is much
The prime minister further detailed the government’s efforts to impact civil society for
Bahamians, with a priority in reducing the cost of living, while he acknowledged the global
He spoke of his administration’s governance, such as building affordable homes, providing
free Wi-Fi in public parks, and launching the Catastrophic Health Care Fund while also
raising salaries and bonuses for nurses, who were vital during the pandemic.
Prime Minister Davis mentioned of efforts made to aid public workers.
“In the public sector, we did something long overdue – we settled promotions and inequities
in the system. In addition, we paid salary arrears to public servants which had been
outstanding since 2017, approved the return of annual increments for public servants, and
increased public service pensions,” Prime Minister Davis said.
“We raised the minimum wage, ignoring those who argued against it. We have negotiated and
concluded 22 labour agreements – a historic achievement. And we decided we never again
want to be so dependent on other countries for the food we put on our tables. We are working
to build food security, so we can grow more of what we eat, and create new ownership
opportunities for Bahamians in a modernized, revamped agriculture sector.”
The prime minister went on to international matters and affirmed that he has stood up for
Bahamians on the world stage to hold international partners accountable on their agreements,
efforts to get off the blacklist and made the country’s firm stance known with regards to not
taking in migrants.
“Building change at home isn’t enough when the world has grown so complex – hurricanes,
viruses, and inflationary pressures do not respect borders. So, we are making sure The
Bahamas has a stronger voice on the world stage, and forging and strengthening important
alliances,” he continued.
“We are fighting to get other countries to reduce the polluting emissions which are warming
the oceans and creating more intense hurricanes. We are fighting for fair climate finance,
since the Category 4 and 5 hurricanes that have hit us in less than one decade have cost us
billions, accounting for a large share of our nation’s debt.
“We are demanding that Europeans judge our financial services industry by the same
standards they use to judge their own, instead of adding extra burdens on majority-black
countries. We have filed an amicus brief against U.S. manufacturers of the weapons that are
trafficked into our country, and we have told both the U.S. and the UN: ‘No, we cannot
accept the burden of migrants in our country.’
“Across The Bahamas, we have recruited hundreds of new police, immigration, and Defence
Force officers, strengthened our security and intelligence partnerships to fortify our borders,
and added and upgraded equipment and technology to modernize our capabilities. These are
only some of the ways we are working for change.”
Though the prime minister acknowledged the need to reform the country’s energy sector and
took pride in efforts to provide affordable housing, the commander-in-chief honed in on the
need to address the crime matter at home.
He stated the issue as being something that’s “grown in scope and complexity,” and however,
attempted to reassure that a number of initiatives are underway.
“We are taking steps to slow the flow of illegal weapons over our borders. We are going after
the gangs who recruit in our schools and are driving much of the crime in our communities.
And we are working to interrupt the cycles of violence and vengeance which have grown
around their activities,” Prime Minister Davis assured.
“We have introduced saturation patrols, and expanded CCTV coverage. We are revitalizing
manpower and capacity, adding street lighting, and cleaning up overgrown lots and removing
abandoned cars. And still there is more we need to do. We need bail reform. We need to
intervene earlier. We need good exits and options for those trying to leave gang life behind.
“There are no easy or quick fixes, but we must fight for progress every single day. Each
young man we steer in a better direction, each act of violence we prevent, each gang we
disrupt, each street we make safer, each community we make stronger – these victories will
add up to real change.”
He further mentioned the investment of upgraded equipment and technology, the recruitment
of scores of new police, immigration, and Defence Force officers, as well as improving
security and intelligence partnerships for the sake of stronger borders.
The prime minister reminded Bahamians that change is not an over-night process and
expressed his gratitude to the alliance with Bahamians through all challenges faced for the
sake of real change.