In Belize at the CARICOM-SICA Summit: Standing – Sea Breeze MP Leslia Brice, Minister for Grand Bahama Ginger Moxey, Central and South Abaco MP John Pinder. Seated – Prime Minister Philip 'Brave' Davis and Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service Fred Mitchell.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
AS he appealed for countries in the region to come together to combat climate change, Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis admitted the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the “humbling” realisation that The Bahamas’ interests may be more aligned with other small island developing states than some of its larger allies.
Mr Davis was proposing how countries in the region could band together and create stronger ties to fight the climate challenge at the CARICOM-SICA Summit.
Yesterday was the final day of meetings with regional heads in San Pedro, Belize.
“As a regional community, what can we do, beyond hoping that our friends will spring into action, beyond waiting for the inevitable to hit us?”
“ What leadership can we provide? Colleagues as we are not the major carbon emitters or the wealthy carbon-emitting beneficiaries, there will always be limitations around what we can do. However, The Bahamas believes that it is possible to be an active and driving part of the solution. The first step is to take the first step,” Mr Davis said.
“We recognise that we face a global phenomenon brought on by global causes and need an international effort. Yet when it comes to the region, we are still acting individually.
“I do not underestimate the challenges of stepping up our levels of regional cooperation, but leadership requires us to try, try and try again.
“My government still has some way to go in arguing to the Bahamian people that we must look south and north. We are grateful to our friends and allies for all that they do.
“But the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic brought into sharp and humbling focus that our self-interest may well be more fully-aligned with those who live like us: small island developing states; small economies with narrow economic bases; and small populations whose voices already resound loudly on the world stage, but not loudly enough to carry the argument.”
He continued: “Colleagues, we are experiencing the same hurricanes, the same rising sea levels, the same threats to our tourism industries.
“We intend to push an agenda that includes a strong focus on solutions hoping that our common interests will help us narrow our ties and strengthen our bonds. We are already exploring several paths forward which we believe offer opportunities for regional and international cooperation.
“If we can come together to address the biggest, most existential threat facing humanity, then surely we can overcome some of the other obstacles, which have historically prevented the region from working together more closely and more productively.”
Mr Davis said as a new Prime Minister, having taken office following the September 16 general election, he came to the table with no agenda other than the hand of friendship, cooperation and peace in our region and hemisphere.