NASSAU, The Bahamas — The commissioning of ambassadors and high commissioners is said to be reflective of the Davis Administration’s ‘Blueprint For Change” in ensuring that the Bahamas is fully engaged in the conduct of global foreign affairs.
That according to the Hon. Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation who delivered remarks at the Commissioning Ceremony of Ambassadors and High Commissioner in the New Providence Room, Baha Mar, on Monday, March 7, 2022. He was speaking on behalf of Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis.
“Nowadays, we know not to ‘Shoot the Messenger,’ so happily, my government is confident that the fine Bahamians who will soon step forward into the world on our behalf, will be treated respectfully, decorously, and diplomatically as they in turn will treat others,” said the deputy prime minister.
He then charged: “High Commissioner Leslia Brice, Your Excellency Wendall Jones, and Your Excellency Patricia Hermanns we have every confidence that you will serve us well! Go with our blessings, and we pray that God continues to shine His Good Grace upon you.”
His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Cornelius A. Smith, Governor General, Commonwealth of The Bahamas, issued Instruments of Appointment and administered the Commission and Oath of Office to: His Excellency Wendall K. Jones, Ambassador-Designate, Commonwealth of The Bahamas to the United States of America and Malaysia; Her Excellency Patricia Hermanns, Resident Ambassador-Designate/Permanent Representative, Commonwealth of The Bahamas to the United Nations in Geneva; and Her Excellency Leslia Miller- Brice, High Commissioner-Designate, Commonwealth of The Bahamas to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and to CARICOM Countries.
Before the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service the Hon. Fred Mitchell and other Cabinet Ministers, permanent secretaries, officials and family members — the ambassadors and high commissioner signed Letters of Commission, pledged their best to strengthen and maintain relations, and to serve the best interest of The Bahamas.
The deputy prime minister noted that hundreds of years ago, the job of ambassador was extremely hazardous. However, over time, protocols and conventions have evolved.
“Nowadays, the importance of the roles of ambassadors, and the weight of their responsibilities, are arguably even greater than they have ever been,” he said, adding that, “In our Blueprint for Change, our New Day Administration committed to ensuring that The Bahamas fully plays its part on the world stage in the conduct of foreign affairs.”
In this vein, he said that a number of practical benefits have already begun to emerge.
“We are developing wider and deeper relationships with potential investors. We are giving greater credibility to our fiscal position, and plans to grow and transform the economy. And, we are projecting our people and culture in ways that support and promote our tourism industry and embryonic creative economy. All of these are crucial for our national development.”
According to the deputy prime minister, The Bahamas had determined that it has to take a seat at the table to be “rule makers” and not just “rule-takers”.
And, it has to ensure that Small Island Developing States, like The Bahamas, can benefit from the outcomes.
He said that with the global economy already navigating post-COVID shocks, with war and unprecedented sanctions against Russia likely to impact the local and international economies, and with relationships in the region shifting into unchartered territory, “our Ambassadors have key roles to play in ensuring that our voices are heard, and our interests promoted.”
He pointed out that the relationship with the United States, The Bahamas’ closest ally, remains just that, “closest and strongest.” And, relationships with the individual members of CARICOM, and the region in general, are likely to become ever more important.
Furthermore, he said that the global relationships at the UN in Geneva would affect not only the way Bahamians live now but for generations to come.