PM Speaks of Importance of International Diplomatic Ties in National Development

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie said that when the United Nations adopted its  ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ in September 2015, he stressed it was the hope of the people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas that the country would be agreeing to a new agenda that was “people-centred, planet-sensitive, and inclusive in approach to its development, grounded in the common values and principles we espouse as the United Nations.

“The Bahamas’ vision of the post-2015 development agenda was always one that was both inclusive and transformative, with the well-being of people at its core,” he said during the Official Ceremony on September 12, 2016 to mark the Presentation of Instruments of Appointment to Mr. Tony Joudi, as the first Ambassador of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to the State of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), at Government House.  “Having now been adopted, the agenda is no longer a vision, but a reality.”

He added that The Bahamas anticipates that the agenda will usher in a “new era of development” at the national and international levels.

“For this to happen, however, we must ensure that our approach to its implementation is bold, yet balanced and cohesive while upholding the values we want to protect, preserve and defend,” Prime Minister Christie said.

“Our work in this regard will be necessarily influenced by a dynamic political, social, environmental and economic background that is ever-evolving and giving rise to significant global developments,” he added.

Prime Minister Christie said that that is one of the core reasons why The Bahamas is extending the hand of friendship and partnership to countries all around the world.

“Both Qatar and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) are small states, and both have a relatively small number of citizens, but host a significant number of expatriates, resident and visitor,” Prime Minister Christie noted.  “We, therefore, have a great deal in common, and we have found that while our cultures differ, we are bound together in the goal to create stronger, resilient societies for our future generations.

“We therefore have a great deal of work to do, and it is noteworthy that the involvement of Bahamians from all backgrounds and walks of life would be necessary in this regard.”

Prime Minister Christie pointed out that during an official visit paid to Abu Dhabi in 2016 by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration the Hon. Fred Mitchell, both Foreign Ministers signed a Statement of Intent agreeing to deepen the relationship that exists between The Bahamas and the UAE.

“Both of our countries committed to move quickly to conclude outstanding bilateral agreements, in the areas of air services, political consultations, the waiver of visas, taxation and investment protection,” Prime Minister Christie said.  “I am very pleased to say that the agreements on Air Services and Political Consultations will be signed in the very near future.”

Prime Minister Christie said that The Bahamas also plans to engage the State of Qatar in a similar fashion.

“Both countries offer for The Bahamas new possible sources of foreign direct investment, and, of course, The Bahamas would welcome an increase in the number of visitors from the Gulf region,” he said.

Prime Minister Christie noted that, in order to carry out “this ambitious agenda” and to ensure success in a globalized world, The Bahamas needs a Foreign Service that is specialized and equipped with staff of superior calibre.

“Foreign Service Officers are in the vanguard of the Nation’s interaction with a complex and changing World,” he said.   “The process of modernizing the Foreign Service towards this end commenced two years ago and it is expected that the final stages will be concluded by the end of this year, with the implementation of a Career Path for Foreign Service Officers and the creation of a Foreign Service Institute.

“The relationships we forge with partners such as Qatar and the UAE will play a pivotal role in us having a first class, state-of-the-art training academy offering courses not only in language arts, international relations and traditional diplomacy, but also in other related specialized disciplines, such as climate change and trade policy that now impact the way we interact in a globalized world,” Prime Minister Christie said.

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