By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Philip “Brave” Davis says not only do world leaders want to strengthen their relationship with The Bahamas, but they also see the country as a viable option to invest.
Mr Davis told reporters that international efforts were “bearing fruit”. He made the comments following his trip to Rwanda where the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2022 was held.
I am happy to report that our international efforts are bearing fruit. Our voice is being heard,” the prime minister said. “Other countries want to strengthen their relationships with us. Other world leaders and business people want to invest in us and international organisations want to help us. We are at an inflection point, a moment when we can see our fortunes changing. We are now in the kinds of discussions where we can not only make our needs known, but have our requests honoured.
“The global idea of The Bahamas is shifting and people want to do business with us. This kind of influence and these kinds of outcomes have become possible because of our decision to make our foreign policy work better and harder for us. For example, the pressure that we have been applying in terms of receiving funding and support to protect ourselves against the impact of climate change, that pressure is yielding results.
“Before too long, we will be able to say more about the specific offers of funding and support that we have received. In terms of the big picture, there’s still a way to go before the polluting countries fulfil their stated obligations, but slowly and surely, The Bahamas is starting to benefit.”
Mr Davis went on to note that some areas of international partnership have been formed.
“The Green Climate Fund, the executive director, we met in Glasgow last November and at that time The Bahamas was barely on the map for them then though Dorian we had experienced, which they were aware of, and this meeting I could safely say they’re going to be responding to us,” he explained.
“We just have to make some applications and as I indicated specific details of that’ll be made known later but they have now committed to do some things with us before now and December and hopefully before COP27 because they’ll like to be able to speak to it.”
“I can also say our voice is being heard in that since coming from COP, the climate fund has invested $125 million in a project in Grand Bahama, the Coral Vita, and they have another project to deal with agriculture in Grand Bahama where they’re also investing a huge sum of money.”
Mr Davis noted an area of expertise The Bahamas could provide.
He said: “In our meeting with the president of Botswana, we agreed to mutually support each other by them helping us to develop our livestock industry, and us offering them support, again in developing their tourism product.”
“As with so many of the African leaders we met, we recognised in each other’s faces, people who not only look like us, but people who remind us of specific individuals at home. And as the president of Botswana said, they want to reconnect and strengthen ties with our brothers and sisters who were so cruelly taken from us hundreds of years ago.
“He has accepted our invitation to attend some of the celebrations surrounding the 50th anniversary of independence, and in return, invited us not just to engage in the technical issues of mutual interest, but also to get to know a little of their culture.”
The Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador MP highlighted opportunities for Bahamians. “If we continue on this path, and succeed in The Bahamas becoming a kind of bridge between the Caribbean and Africa, opportunities for Bahamians and The Bahamas will continue to grow manifold. In time, I hope that many more Bahamians can be facilitated to visit, and even work for a while, in some of these countries with whom we share so many ancient ties,” Mr Davis said.
“We were pleased to host a dinner for a small number of Bahamians who are already living in Rwanda or neighbouring countries. Travel certainly broadens the mind, and our country will be richer from the kind of exposure these experiences will bring to each of us.
“In wider discussions about strategies about managing the economy, dealing with crime, improving housing and access to financial services, better protecting and managing the resources in our oceans and seas, time and again, the voice of the Bahamian people was strongly heard, and people expressed their enthusiasm in working with us.”