FNMs give God thanks to mark first anniversary

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Cabinet Ministers, Senators and Members of Parliament were among the hundreds in attendance at the governing Free National Movement’s anniversary service of thanksgiving held at the New Covenant Baptist Church on Sunday, May 4, 2008. Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham brought remarks during the service.

Nassau, The Bahamas – Leaders, officers, members and supporters of the Free National Movement gathered in a time of worship and thanksgiving at the New Covenant Baptist Church, as they observed and celebrated the party’s victory at the polls on May 2, 2007.

Prime Minister and FNM Leader Hubert Ingraham brought remarks at the service, echoing his party’s gratitude to God for last year’s victory, and highlighting the work and challenges that lie ahead for the FNM government.

LISTEN NOW – Mr. Ingraham’s Remarks

THE PRIME MINISTER: On behalf of all of us in our great party I should like to thank Bishop Simeon Hall and the congregation of New Covenant Baptist Church for allowing us to hold our service of thanksgiving in this church and for graciously leading us in worship.

It has been one year since our party was returned to Government by the people of The Bahamas and it has been our practice to give thanks to God during our annual celebrations and reflections.

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Prime Minister and Leader of the Free National Movement the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham joins hands with Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Leader of the Free National Movement the Hon. Brent Symonette at the governing party’s anniversary service of thanksgiving held at the New Covenant Baptist Church on Sunday, May 4, 2008.

It is appropriate that we mark our victory and give thanks today because it was on this, day 4th May last year, that our predecessors in office finally acknowledged our right and entitlement to form the Government of The Bahamas. We are grateful that we are not Zimbabwe.

We have the responsibility of governing at a time when our nation is facing a number of challenges –indeed, when the whole world is facing awesome challenges.

As we grapple with our internal problems, very markedly by the stubborn high incidence of violent crime and by the continuing challenges created by illegal immigration we are also faced with the effects of unsettled circumstances on the world’s stage.

Civil war and political unrest continues to mar the lives of million around the world very markedly in the Middle East and in Africa.

An economic downturn, maybe even a recession, is in progress in the world’s largest economy, our near neighbour, largest trading partner and primary tourist market. Because globalization has made us a village all indications are that economies in Europe and Asia will not escape some adverse impacts.

The price of oil – and hence the cost of everything else – is rising dramatically. The prospect of worldwide food shortages is looming.

Here at home, increased food and utility prices are eating into the incomes of Bahamian families across the income spectrum but with most serious consequences for the poor.

And then, there is the threat of global warming with its possible stark consequences, especially for small and vulnerable countries such as ours.

So it behooves us to pray for guidance and strength as we face today and the days ahead of us, as we work to secure the best interests of The Bahamas and the peace and prosperity of the Bahamian people.

This is not the proper place to dwell at any length on the accomplishments of our party during the first year of its present term of office; but I think it is right to say that we have met many challenges with a large measure of success; we laid the groundwork for improved fiscal management and administration in the public sector, and instilled anew the centrality of transparency and accountability to good governance and to economic empowerment and expansion. As a consequence we can look forward with guarded optimism for better things to come.

In the months and years ahead we will continue to implement plans and programmes meant to increase and improve opportunities for Bahamians everywhere providing guidance and support where it is needed most.

In this regard, I should like to thank all of you for your support, for your advice, for your encouragement, for your hard work and for your prayers. And I should like to thank the Bahamian people for the confidence they have placed in us and for their continued support.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

As we celebrate and give thanks today it is well that we reflect on what lies ahead and on our relationship with, and dependence on, our Creator.

You may recall that I have stated before that we should think of this relationship not in a boastful manner, but with humility before God. That bears repeating today.

It is not for us to claim exclusive right of access to God; neither is it for us to claim the special favour of God, nor claim that God is on our side.

I have frequently recalled the words of the great American President and Emancipator Abraham Lincoln who wisely put it that we not boast that God is on our side; rather we should be concerned about whether we are on his side.

All power comes from God but that does not mean, as some people seem to think, that those of us who are called to high office have any guarantee that we are always doing the right thing.

Christ reminded King Herod that all power comes from God but he showed contempt for the manner in which Herod used that power.

So it remains for us to work and pray, and constantly remind ourselves that the power we exercise is not ours and hence should at all times be exercised for the good of God’s people.

If we bear these simple but powerful truths in mind, I am sure that God will bless us as we go about the business of governing.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Before I close, let me once again take this opportunity to thank the Christian churches in The Bahamas for the work they are doing, especially in their family ministry and in their outreach programmes to our young people, particularly those who are at risk because of circumstances beyond their control.

That ministry is even more important today as many of our young people are buffeted by so many negative influences assaulting them on all sides, and when so many young lives that should be a credit to the nation is wasted in senseless violence.

My Government stands ready as always to collaborate with the churches and to support programmes that will enrich the lives of our young people and so contribute to the peace and stability of our nation.

Let us leave this place of worship this afternoon with our spirits renewed and our minds refreshed so that we can accomplish great things for God’s people here in The Bahamas.

Thank you.