Nassau, The Bahamas – The newly-elected Progressive Liberal Party Government revealed an ambitious and extensive agenda to tackle the numerous and complex challenges facing the country, during the reading of The Speech from the Throne(74kb PDF) delivered at the Opening of Parliament on Wednesday, May 23, 2012.
Sir Arthur Foulkes, Governor-General who delivered the Speech said central to the Government’s Agenda are two overriding imperatives.
Firstly, the need to reduce violence and crime and secondly, the need to build a stronger economy that creates jobs, deepens and broadens Bahamian ownership and produces a higher standard of living for all Bahamians.
“Those twin imperatives will dominate the agenda for action of my new government,” Sir Arthur said.
Simultaneously, the government plans to, as fiscal means allows, implement the full range of programmes, legislative proposals and policy initiatives promised in the platform entitles “Charter for Governance”.
In this regard, urgent policy will be given to the implementation of the action-plan outlined in the Charter for the first 100 days; some of the initiatives have already created namely, the creation of the Ministry for Grand Bahama and the restoration of the Ministry of Financial Services.
“Violence and crime corrode the very fabric of a nation. They must therefore be attacked and eradicated at the root if we are to build a secure and prosperous society. My Government is absolutely determined to pursue this objective with unbounded energy, imagination, and unwavering dedication,” the Governor-General said.
Amongst the immediate plans are the reinstatement and expansion of the Urban Renewal Programme, the introduction of a National Crime Management Agenda, the creation of a National Intelligence Agency and the reintroduction of the Swift Justice Initiative.
Other plans are to develop a financially sustainable mortgage relief programme aimed at assisting distressed homeowners, stimulate the real estate market, Rent Control Act reform and provide additional land for home ownership through the purchase of vacant and abandoned lots as part of the Urban Renewal Initiative.
The Government also announced plans to give focused attention to the refurbishment and redevelopment of downtown Nassau, improve airlifts throughout the Family Islands through local and foreign carriers.
Recognising that agriculture is an integral part of sustainable economic development the government intends to focus on increasing food production with the construction of a Bahamian Food Sciences Institute in North Andros.
“My Government will give focus to increasing food production as a vehicle to promote food security, create jobs and boost economic investment,” Sir Arthur said.
In the area of education, the government intends to reform the educational system by strengthening the National Literacy and Numeracy Programme, introduce a standardised National High School Diploma, and establish a Career Path Academics at the secondary school level.
Legislation will also be proposed to establish the University of The Bahamas and appoint a Council for the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute.
“My Government believes in Bahamians and in the capacity and determination of the Bahamian people to overcome all the many challenges that lie before us,” the Governor General said.