Ministers Ready to Get to the Business of Running the Country

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At Government House Reception after the Official Opening of Parliament, May 24, 2017 – Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling, right, greets Mrs. Patricia Minnis, wife of Prime Minister the Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis. (BIS Photo/Peter Ramsay)

Nassau, Bahamas – Newly elected Members of Parliament and other invited guests accepted the invitation from Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling to attend a reception at Government House directly following the Official Opening of Parliament, Wednesday, May 24, 2017.

Guests showed off their newly-bought dresses, hats and suits while enjoying food and drink as they mingled and mixed with one another.

Government Ministers and Senators were no exception as they were still receiving congratulations from members of the public for winning their seats during the 2017 General Elections and for also receiving posts within the Cabinet.

Despite the festive atmosphere, Ministers noted that the time for celebration is winding down and it is now time to get on with the business of running the country.

Minister of Tourism, Aviation and Bahamasair the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar explained that he has an awesome responsibility as he has a huge portfolio but has already hit the ground running.

“The country is economically not well and we have to grow the economy and tourism is that engine.” Minister D’Aguilar said that he is charged with either increasing the number of people who come to The Bahamas or increasing the amount they spend while visiting or doing both.

He has begun looking at proposals that are being presented to the Ministry and is in the process of examining if they will create economic growth, GDP growth and if the benefits will extend to the average Bahamian on all the islands. “People think when they come to Nassau, they have been to The Bahamas, and there are 19 other islands that they can visit. So that is going to be the focus of the Ministry of Tourism.”

Minister D’Aguilar said in regards to Aviation, “I am very interested in these over flight fees that we have not been able to tap into, despite the fact that the Turks and Caicos, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba all control their air space, but we do not. So I want to crack that nut as quickly as possible.”

Minister of Health the Hon. Dr. Duane Sands explained that he was moved and humbled as he listened to the Speech from the Throne. At the same time, he also realizes that there is a lot of work to do and that the Speech from the Throne contains his marching orders.

However, Dr. Sands has already represented the country as the Minister of Health abroad at a World Health Organization Meeting in Switzerland. “We got out of the gate really fast; there are some hot button topics like National Health Insurance (NHI) and waiting times in the emergency room at the Princess Margaret Hospital.

“We got off with an early start with a meeting with the NHI Secretariat and the rest of the team. We are going to continue with that tomorrow. There is a lot of fact finding to be done and getting the evidence to move forward.” Dr. Sands added, “Hard work was never a problem for me; it is just learning the lay of the land so that I can work effectively.”

The Minister of National Security the Hon. Marvin Dames explained that what was said in the Speech from the Throne was exactly what the new Government administration said it would do as a Government prior to the general elections.

He added that the Speech also demonstrated that the Government is putting the Bahamian people first. “Our Leader, the Prime Minister continues to say, ‘It is the people’s time,’ and it is the people’s time and we truly believe it.

“Everything we do and every decision that we make; every meeting that we are in we are always cognizant of that fact. This begins the stage where we begin to show the people, the commitments that we would have made to them prior to the general elections,” the National Security Minister said.