NASSAU, The Bahamas — During her Speech from the Throne on October 4, 2023, Governor General Her Excellency the Most Hon. Cynthia Pratt said that the Opening of the New Session of Parliament is occurring during a period of mourning, and great sadness, due to the untimely demise of one of the senior members of the Cabinet, the Hon. Obadiah Hercules Wilchcombe, Member of Parliament for West Grand Bahama and Bimini.
“My Government has treasured his counsel and advice in contributing to the good management of the public affairs of our nation: both as Minister of Social Services and Urban Renewal, latterly as Minister of Social Services, Information and Broadcasting, and, as Leader of Government Business in the House of Assembly,” Her Excellency said during the opening ceremonies in Parliament Square.
“We offer our deepest condolences to his Family, Friends, Colleagues, Constituents and Loved Ones. May he rest in peace.”
Her Excellency explained that on coming to office, her Government set out a five-year programme, and committed “to work in partnership with other nations, with our local communities and, most importantly, with the Bahamian people to address the challenges that these crises pose(d).”
“Now, 24 months later, less than half-way through the term, My Government has already successfully implemented a significant number of policies, many of which are contained in My Government’s ‘Blueprint For Change’.
“The priority was to focus on policies which would Rescue, Recover and begin to Rebuild the economy.
Her Excellency said her Government’s most recent Budget Communication, ‘A Budget for Security and Progress’ strongly attests to the success of the Government’s Priorities and Choices.
“Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2022 was recorded at 14.4 per cent, and GDP in nominal terms grew by 11.9 per cent.
She said a host of other key economic indicators confirm that the public finances are being managed competently and well, that the economy has rebounded strongly, and that the country is now back on the right track.
“My Government made a number of commitments for this fiscal year, focused on three pillars of national development: Personal Security, Economic Security, and National Security.”
Her Excellency said the achievements of her Government in alleviating the hardship of the Bahamian people, and the many crises it inherited, have since been tempered by unforeseen global factors including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has been a driver of higher oil prices.
“The invasion and disruption from economic lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic, caused enormous challenges in the global supply chain.
“While the economic chaos and hardship have hit virtually every country on the planet, we feel the effects strongly here in The Bahamas. The result is that things are still far too tough, for far too many people, especially the poor amongst us.”
Her Excellency said her Government remains determined to do what it can to make things better.