PM Minnis ‘Reaches Out’ to Bahamian Diaspora in U.S. Capital, Surrounding States

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Prime Minister Minnis chats with Bahamians who are resident in the Washington, D.C. and surrounding area at a Reception at the St. Regis in the capital on Saturday, evening, December 16, 2017. He paused for group photo with the Bahamas Ambassador to Washington, D.C., His Excellency Sidney Collie (right) and his wife, Mavis Collie. (Photos/Yontalay Bowe, OPM Media Services)

Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis met with “significant numbers” of the Bahamian Diaspora residing in the Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas over the December 15-16 weekend, advising them of his Administration’s plans to create a 21st Century Bahamas.  The Prime Minister said his Administration has embarked upon a programme of reform and transformation that includes innovative thinking about the role of government in order to create new and innovative partnerships for national development.

Prime Minister Minnis encouraged the gathering at the St. Regis on Saturday to not only consider the new investment opportunities that will become available in The Bahamas as a result of his Administration’s new economic strategy, but to also “consider lending your talents and resources in areas such as youth development, volunteerism and community service.” “The global Bahamian Diaspora is a major talent and investment pool the country must tap into. God has blessed The Bahamas with many gifts. As a people, we have always been blessed with an abundance of talent way beyond our relatively small population. This includes the Bahamian Diaspora, which is a major talent and investment pool that The Bahamas must tap into.

“Like other countries that have successfully done so, my Government will cultivate and utilize the energy of the Bahamian Diaspora. We have made a commitment to utilizing the gifts and resourcefulness of the Bahamian Diaspora around the world. “It is my government’s intention to help create a global network of Bahamians to help boost national development and to create a 21st Century Bahamas,” Prime Minister Minnis added. Prime Minister Minnis, who addressed a reception for Bahamians residing in the Washington D.C.,, Virginia and Maryland areas; Friends of The Bahamas and individuals of Bahamian heritage who are not Bahamian citizens, but who have family ties to The Bahamas, said his Administration will specifically target members of the Diaspora living within the United States of America – particularly areas such as Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

“Through history and geography, The Bahamas enjoys a special bond with the people of the United States of America, including residents of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “Over the years, many Bahamians have attended university or worked and resided in the Metropolitan Washington area as well as throughout the surrounding states. Indeed, many Bahamians, including a number of you here this evening, have served in an impressive array of professional capacities. This includes positions in medicine, international organizations headquartered in Washington, D.C., academia and other fields. “I invite you to consider lending your talents and resources in areas such as youth development, volunteerism and community service. It is my fervent hope that this New Year will be one of the new possibilities,” Prime Minister Minnis added.

Prime Minister Minnis told the grouping that his Administration has launched, and will continue to launch, ambitious programmes for educational reform and social development and intervention in The Bahamas, including in traditional urban neighborhoods. (The recently launched Phase One of the Over-the-Hill Community Development Partnership Initiative being one such example.) The Prime Minister said the government – working with its Foreign Missions – will begin creating a database of Bahamians overseas that the country can tap into as potential investors, consultants, and philanthropists.

“For example, if there is a domestic Bahamian consultant available in a given field, we should seek to locate a Bahamian overseas instead of first using a non-Bahamian consultant.” Prime Minister Minnis announced that his Administration is also giving consideration to the establishment of an overseas council of the Bahamian Diaspora. The Council will utilize social media and a dedicated website to help produce a database and platform for communications for Bahamians overseas. “Such an overseas council may also promote investment and job opportunities for Bahamians wishing to return to and/or work in The Bahamas,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “The Council will also promote ways that Bahamians overseas can network and help with educational and community-minded projects that will benefit The Bahamas – especially young Bahamians.”

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