By Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, M.P. Q.C.
Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party
I’ve just returned from a very productive and enjoyable few days in Washington, D.C. and New York.
The PLP’s Economic Plan is focused on creating jobs and building a more dynamic and more inclusive economy. The Bahamas can’t afford to stand still and hope things get better; we have to move aggressively and pivot to position ourselves for 21st century opportunities. The world is changing quickly; it’s important to meet and consult with experts at the cutting edge of policy ideas.
We held a very productive discussion with Daniel Runde, the Director of the Project on Prosperity and Development at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. We discussed increasing investment and development in The Bahamas, public-private opportunities, the doors that could be opened by a new Caribbean Basin Initiative, and the urgency of establishing high-level dialogue and working groups that bring together policy-makers, policy experts, and the private sector to focus on key issues like renewable energy and economic diversification.
We also had a truly inspiring working session with Marcela Escobari, a senior fellow in the Center for Sustainable Development in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution, where she is leading the Workforce of the Future initiative. We discussed differentiating the Bahamian tourism product, linking light manufacturing and tourism, opportunities connected to remote work, and workforce development.
Ms. Escobari served in the Obama administration in a senior position at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), in their Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean. Since 2007, she has served as executive director at the Center for International Development at Harvard University, a research center working to generate breakthrough ideas that bring stable, shared, and sustainable prosperity to developing countries. She has advised governments on how to increase export competitiveness and harness the private sector to eradicate poverty.
I was very moved to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, D.C., the site of Congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis’s last public appearance before his passing. In an essay published after his death, John Lewis wrote “I just had to see and feel it for myself, that after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.” We honour his legacy when we continue to make “good trouble” and stand up for what is right and true.
On Saturday, I was in New York’s Citi Field to cheer on Jazz Chisholm, Jr., the starting second-baseman of the Miami Marlins and the pride of The Bahamas. The game was even better than I had dared hope: facing one of baseball’s best pitchers, Jacob deGrom, Jazz hit an 0-2 pitch for a no-doubt-about-it upper deck home run, the first for him this year. What an incredible moment! He told me after the game that in an interview he conducted with Miami media he told them he’d hit the home run because the next Prime Minister of The Bahamas had come to see him play. Jazz has worked so hard to be where he is – I know many Bahamian children will follow in his footsteps if we support our athletes.