Mitchell: GB Integral to Government’s Overall Foreign Affairs Policies

On the recent State Visit of the President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, His Excellency Brigadier David Granger, to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas – and more specifically his visit to Freeport on Friday – Bahamas Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration the Hon. Fred Mitchell stated while on the Freeport tour: “When visitors come from abroad, we get a deeper sense of appreciation of what kind of country we are and the appreciation they have for our country and for our people. That is why we are so pleased to have the President of Guyana come and visit with us today, and it was moving to see him as he watched his citizens, who are here helping to build our country, support him as he visited the schools.

“Certainly I think that the students in Grand Bahama who are being taught by teachers from Guyana, got a better sense of where these teachers originated from, and got a better understanding of that country after meeting President Granger at the schools here in Grand Bahama. For these students, Guyana is no longer a mystery to them, because the leader of their country has come here and left an indelible mark on our country.

“I would say this, in terms of helping to craft a vision of The Bahamas, Grand Bahama is an integral part and a necessary part of The Bahamas.  The Government is not Nassau-centric and in our foreign policy we’ve tried to include Grand Bahama in everything that we do in terms of Foreign policy, so that it is not something which is esoteric or outside the reach of the understanding of ordinary Bahamians.”

To prove his point, Minister Mitchell gave a history of some of the events that were held in Grand Bahama in terms of Foreign Affairs and having Grand Bahama be a part of those events.

2004 – The Foreign Ministers Conference of the Commonwealth Nations were held in Freeport.

2003 – Thabo Mbeki, the President of South Africa, paid a visit to Freeport and planted a tree of friendship.

2016 – The United Kingdom CARICOM Forum was held in Freeport, during which time the Foreign Minister for the United Kingdom met with other Foreign Ministers.

Then there was the visit by the South African Foreign Minister, who replanted the tree which President Mbeki had planted in 2003, but which died because of the hurricane in 2004.

Patrick Manning of Jamaica also paid a visit to Grand Bahama, as well as former Premier of the Turks & Caicos Islands, Michael Missick, who visited the island following the hurricanes of 2005.

The Chairman of CARICOM, who was also the president of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit visited Grand Bahama following the passing of Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

“And today, the Prime Minister is pleased to welcome the President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Brigadier David Granger,” added Minister Mitchell.

“That’s just the history of Foreign Affairs activity in Grand Bahama, and I hope that the people of Grand Bahama feel that much more tied to the greater Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”

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