Remarks at The Opening Ceremony of the 44th Regular Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government

The Office of the Prime Minister
The Commonwealth of The Bahamas
15 February 2023

Hon. Philip E. Davis, KC, MP
Prime Minister
The Commonwealth of The Bahamas

Hon. Philip E. Davis, KC, MP Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and CARICOM Chair at The Opening Ceremony of the 44th Regular Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government held in New Providence, The Bahamas.


Your Excellencies:
Fellow Heads of Government:
Honoured and Distinguished Guests from within and beyond the Caribbean Region:
Ladies and Gentlemen:

Welcome to the Islands of The Bahamas! And welcome to the 44th Regular Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community.

You visit us as we embark on celebrations for our 50th Anniversary of Independence. During these 50 years, we have steadily created every major institution in our country, defining ourselves not merely as being ‘independent of others’, but as free people, determined to pursue our own path to fulfilment.

But even as we embarked on this road to self-determination, we knew that we could not go it alone. As our Founding Father, Sir Lynden Pindling proclaimed on our accession to membership of The United Nations, “we wish to enjoy the friendship and benefit from the association, wisdom and experience of those who wish to be our friends and respect our freedom as we want and know it.”

So it was that we also joined this regional family of nations. In this joint celebration of the 50th Anniversary of our Independence, and the 50th Anniversary of the founding of CARICOM, in a very real way there is a deep understanding and pride to have come this far.

And as it is in The Bahamas, so it is that our region also faces a host of opportunities, and an array of challenges.

We should take great comfort from the fact that our forebears came together fifty years ago, exactly for this purpose: to take full advantage of the opportunities of our time, and to implement solutions to the challenges that confront us.

And the four pillars upon which our relationship stands, has borne fruit, in good times and bad.

Our commitment to ‘functional co-operation’ has been powerfully expressed in education, health, and culture.

Our co-ordination in foreign policy matters has strengthened and amplified our voice in global affairs, and given us greater influence over the outcome of international debate.

And, as near neighbours, our collaborative efforts to enhance our mutual security, and, for some, to advance economic integration, has united us in common cause to promote national and regional development.

Our shared history, steeped in triumph and struggle, is testament to our resilience and determination.

In the coming days, we will need to draw on that experience as we engage with the many issues on our agenda.

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