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May 23rd, 2017

Your Excellency:

I am honoured yet again to be received with such gracious hospitality at Government House this afternoon.

I am most grateful, Your Excellency, for the courtesies you have extended, not only to me to and my colleagues in both House of Parliament but to the many guests that are gathered here to witness these proceedings.

May I also express my thanks to the new Opposition Senators for answering my call to give service as Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in the Upper House.

I am keenly aware of the many personal sacrifices this will entail but I know that the four appointees are, without exception, equal to the challenge that is implicit in the high office they assume today.

This Opposition senatorial team, though small in number, is imbued with energy and vision. Moreover, they are all deeply schooled in what it means, philosophically, to be standard-bearers for their Party.

They, therefore, enter upon their Senatorial careers with a deep respect for the founding principles of our great party, a genuine love of our country, and fresh and innovative ideas for solving the challenges we face.

Be their service in the Senate however long or short, I have every confidence that they will distinguish themselves as members of the Upper House.

As I have already had occasion to mention, where we can cooperate and support the new government, the Progressive Liberal Party intends to do so, generously and in good faith.

We are, after all, instruments of nation-building, not agents of national disunity or unnecessary conflict.
At the same time, however, I wish to emphasize that as Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in both Houses of Parliament, we have a responsibility to provide vigorous dissent in those instances where it is warranted.

It is also our duty to correct misinformation lest it obscure the truth or lead to what is now popularly referred to in the public discourse of our great neighbour to the North as “the alternative reality”.

We will have no tolerance for that. And there will be no acquiescence in that either.

On the contrary, you will find that our Senators and MPs alike will not hesitate to set the record straight when the occasion demands it.

Moreover, we shall at all times promote and project the core values that have united us as a Party across the generations.

Indeed, I am more convinced than ever that the core values that inspired our founders to uplift and to protect the great mass of Bahamian humanity from social and economic injustice and to provide equal opportunity for all are as relevant today as they were more than 64 years ago when the PLP was birthed.

Your Excellency:
I have the honour to present to you and the Bahamian people a team of Senators that represents a microcosm of the national community.

This team encapsulates intellectual gravitas, demographic balance, and a healthy mix of mature wisdom and youthful talent.

I am particularly proud that that, even though we had but four appointments available to us, the final selection takes note of the fundamental composition of our populace, signifying in this respect that our Party really is committed to being the Party for ALL Bahamians.

I’m also happy that, between them, our four Senators recognize the three main population centres of our country: New Providence, Grand Bahama and the Family Islands.

I’m also delighted that in making our final selection we were able to strike an even balance between the more traditional, establishment wing of the Party with what can best be termed the “New Wave” PLP as personified by those who represent the leading edge of our Party’s future.

Your Excellency,

Turning now, if I may, to the members of the Senate team:

Frederick Mitchell will serve as Leader in the Senate. His deep knowledge of the history of our country, his outstanding experience in the international arena as a Minister for Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Public Service, and his reputation for intellectual honesty and tenacity in parliamentary debate, all give me great confidence in his ability to guide our team in the Upper House.

Dr. Michael Darville, the nation’s first Minister for Grand Bahama, presents the Opposition’s voice on matters concerning that part of the country in the Senate.

We continue to believe that Grand Bahama faces distinct challenges and therefore deserves focused attention and solutions. In addition, Dr. Darville will provide an energetic and expert voice across a wide range of policy areas.

Clay Sweeting is a young businessman and fisherman from Spanish Wells. His ongoing advocacy for those Bahamians who make their living at sea contributed to major investments in our nation’s Defence Force, resulting in a significant upgrade in our nation’s ability to protect our borders and to defend itself against foreign poachers.

As a proud Eleutheran, he intends to be an advocate for Family Islanders everywhere, and, as a successful entrepreneur, he is committed to promoting opportunities for young Bahamians who are in search of economic empowerment for themselves.

Last, but by no means least, I am delighted that Mrs. Jobeth Coleby-Davis, a sincerely motivated young woman, will be joining our team in the Upper House.

She is a new voice, but she will be a formidable one, I assure you. She is ready to bring her extensive expertise in law, energy policy, and financial services to the Senate

she comes from a distinguished line of progressive thinkers, including the late Scherlin Bootle MP; the late President of the Senate, Edwin Coleby;

….and on her husband’s side of the family, the late Lionel Davis MP. She can therefore lay claim to a proud and distinguished pedigree in the PLP.

But far more than that, she is a dynamo of a lady who will bring her considerable talents to bear on her work as a Senator.

I predict for her a bright future in the political life of our nation.

Your Excellency:

In closing, I thank you once again for your warm hospitality and may I ask you, please, to convey my appreciation to the fine staff of Government House for always going the extra mile to make these occasions so pleasant and memorable for all concerned.

May God bless us all as we work together to serve the needs of our People and continue to build a better and brighter tomorrow for our beloved Bahamas.

May God continue to Bless The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.