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May 19th, 2017


You’re Excellency:


As in all things I give thanks, firstly, to Almighty God for all His many blessings.  I declare that I repose my faith and confidence in Him as I assume the high office that has been bestowed upon me today.


Next, I thank Your Excellency for your graciousness in appointing me the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. I am most grateful. And may I also thank you most sincerely for extending the hospitality of Government House for this swearing-in ceremony and the reception that is to follow.


I also give thanks to all my family and friends who are here to witness my swearing-in but I thank most especially my dear wife, Anne Marie, and my children. You have been an unswerving source of love, loyalty and support, and I want you too know how grateful I am.


Next, I extend thanks to the great people of Cat Island, San Salvador and Rum Cay. It is only through their continued support of me as their Member of Parliament that I am able to stand here this morning to assume my new office as Leader of the Opposition. I am most grateful to them for continuing to believe in me.


I want also to thank the members of the Progressive Liberal Party, most especially the Stalwart Councillors and other members of the National General Council, and my fellow Party Officers, for their many expressions of support following my elevation to the leadership of the Party on Monday past.


I also want offer a very special word of appreciation to my predecessor as Leader of the PLP, the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, under whom I had the high honor to serve as Deputy Prime Minister until Wednesday of last week, and as Deputy Party Leader until his resignation as Party Leader on Monday past.  My admiration for him as a patriot and one of the great builders of the modern Bahamas is profound.  I know that in characterizing him in this way, I speak not only for myself but for many thousands of our people throughout our nation. I therefore take pride in expressing, on their behalf and mine, deepest gratitude and appreciation for the illustrious service that he gave our nation for more than 40 years.


Your Excellency, Ladies & Gentlemen:


The work of shaping history is never easy, or without setbacks.


Small in number though we are at this time, my parliamentary colleagues and I understand that the work of building our nation – which is the work of building and inspiring justice, dignity, opportunity and lasting progress for all – requires constant re-invention and innovation.


Less than a week after our nation’s General Elections, we find ourselves – the Party that founded an independent and modern Bahamas – at a new beginning.


This is therefore a time for reflection but it must be much more than that. It must be a time for reform, a time for rebuilding, a time for renewal.


Indeed last week’s results should prompt real and thorough self-examination.  And we must not be timid or reticent about acknowledging the mistakes we have made. That is a necessary foundation for re-building and renewal. Confession is good for the soul. So is humility.


We have to renew the promise of our Party for a new generation of activists and supporters and fellow citizens. This process must begin on the ground and extend into every community throughout our country.


And let’s be clear: We need a dialogue, not a monologue.  We need to listen and learn, especially from those who believe in the ideals of social and economic justice our party has always stood for.


And this dialogue and collaboration in our season of renewal must be authentic. It must also be all-embracing. We must reach out and embrace the entire Bahamian community, leaving no class or race outside. We must be the Party for ALL the people of The Bahamas, irrespective of what age you may be, what island you may be from, or what the colour of your skin may be. All Bahamians are our brothers and sisters. We must prove that not only by our words but by our actions.


I want to share with you how encouraged I am by the extraordinary number of people who have reached out over the last few days, eager to participate in renewing and rebuilding the PLP.  I do not hear despair. On the contrary, I hear determination and excitement about the future of our Party.


So, I believe profoundly in our capacity for renewal, and I believe we will see an outpouring of creativity and ingenuity from all those ready to be part of this journey.


While we are doing this critical work, we must also at the same time hold the new government to account. That is the primary function and duty of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. I have every intention – as do my colleagues in the House – of proving ourselves equal to that duty from Day One and throughout our time in opposition.


As citizens and patriots, we wish the new government well. Where we can find common ground with them they will have our support.


But they should not look at our small numbers in Parliament and draw the wrong conclusions.


Let me be even clearer about our intentions:


  • We will not sit quietly by and allow the new Government to misrepresent or denigrate our record of achievement in government.
  • We will not acquiesce if they pursue policies or practices that hurt poor Bahamians.
  • We will not allow them to compromise our sovereignty as a nation.
  • We will not sit quietly by and allow them to victimize our supporters.


This must be a time for energy and optimism. If we conduct ourselves well and do our job the right way, brighter days lie ahead for all of us.


Your Excellency:


I thank you once again for the courtesies that you have so kindly extended too me, my family, and those here assembled for my swearing-in as Leader of the Opposition.


Be assured, Your Excellency, that I shall at all times endeavor as best I can to prove myself worthy of this high and important office in the constitutional life of our beloved nation.


And let us all work together for a better and brighter tomorrow. May God Bless you, your Excellency, and The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.