Prime Minister Phillip “Brave” Davis Saturday received his instruments of appointment, less than 24 hours after he was sworn into office during a private ceremony at the Office of the Governor-General on Friday.
Governor-General Sir Cornelius A. Smith presented Davis with the instruments during a ceremony at the Baha Mar, a hotel in the capital.
“The people of The Bahamas have spoken. They have spoken loudly and clearly. They have chosen Prime Minister Davis and his party to run the ship… for the next five years,” Sir Cornelius said, congratulating Bahamians and calling on them to recognize that there is only one Bahamas.
“There is no FNM Bahamas. There is no PLP Bahamas. There is one Bahamas and our responsibility now is to ensure that we become united so that that one Bahamas we have, we can ensure that it becomes a better Bahamas.
“My only prayer and wish for you first of all, is that you have success, that my government in all deliberation have success and that the Almighty God continues to faithfully bless our country,” the Head of state told Prime Minister Davis, who also thanked Bahamians “who turned out and voted resoundingly for change.
“You voted with brave hearts and you voted with hearts full of hope for our country,” he said.
Davis led the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) to a convincing 32-7 victory for control of the 39 seat Parliament on Thursday, reversing the 2017 results when the party was trounced by the Free National Movement (FNM) by a 35-4 margin.
Prime Minister Minnis pledged that his new administration
Davis pledged that his government will partner with the Bahamian people, saying “no government can do great things on its own.
“We’re going to listen. We’re going to consult widely and we’re going to bring people together. This is the best way to make progress as a nation. No leader or no government should be isolated from the people.
“I also wish to lift the veil of secrecy of which has gone before us, so that all of the arrangements under which we have to live are transparent and those who offered them are accountable. We will govern in the interest of all Bahamians, not just the privileged few.”
Davis, who had been promoting himself during the campaign as the person most capable of revering the socio-economic conditions in the country, further promised that his new administration will act in ways that rebuild trust between the government and the Bahamian people.
“We will uphold the constitution and the rule of law and ensure that everyone is treated fairly… There is much work to be done, but I know that by working together we can succeed and build the kind of prosperous independent Bahamas that our founding fathers dreamed for us.”
He said that his government is coming into office t a time when Bahamians are hurting and the country faces big challenges.
“We face many crises coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tragic numbers of our people are becoming ill and dying. Our hospitals are in a state of collapse,” he said, adding “the economy is also in decline as we face an historically high deficit and debt.
“The news of the downgrade yesterday underscores the severity of the fiscal crisis and the urgency of moving quickly to address it.”
The US-based rating agency, Moody’s Friday announced it had downgraded the sovereign credit worthiness of the Bahamas, slashing the country’s long-term issuer and senior unsecured ratings to ‘Ba3’ from ‘Ba2’ and warning that the devastation inflicted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and Hurricane Dorian in 2020 will have “lasting consequences” for the Bahamian economy predicting that stopover arrivals will return to pre-pandemic numbers in 2024.
Moody’s, in maintaining a “negative outlook” on The Bahamas, justified the downgrade by saying: “the downgrade to ‘Ba3’ reflects the significant erosion of The Bahamas’ economic and fiscal strength brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Moody’s expects the gradual recovery in tourism to leave a long-lasting impact on The Bahamas’ credit profile through materially higher debt and interest burdens, which will significantly exceed those of ‘Ba3’-rated peers.”
Davis said he and his team are prepared to take on these and other challenges.
The members of the new Cabinet have not yet been announced but PLP Deputy Leader, Chester Cooper, will be sworn in as the deputy prime minister later on Saturday.