14 November 2019/ACP: In an address to the 925th Meeting of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors at ACP House on 14 November 2019, the Honourable Dr. Hubert Minnis, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas called on the Ambassadors to “collectively and urgently intensify our response to the climate emergency”. The Prime Minister also encouraged those present to “unite with one voice and protect our shared patrimony and a better future.”

Prime Minister Minnis was speaking in relation to Hurricane Dorian which battered the island State in September 2019, causing “death and devastation to the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama and their surrounding Cays, disrupting the economy and lives of thousands of residents.” In the wake of the Hurricane, which was documented by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) as “the strongest Atlantic hurricane to impact a land mass since records began”, total damages have been estimated at US$ 2.4billion with millions more in additional losses. The tiny island nation, which is heavily dependent on tourism saw its projected GDP growth rate halved to 1.1%.

While thanking his fellow ACP Member States and other international partners for their expressions of solidarity and support, Prime Minister Minnis appealed “to our international partners and friends to continue to accompany us as we continue the formidable task of recovery and reconstruction and to rebuild with resilience.”

Recalling the deadly tropical cyclone Idai which devastated Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, the Bahamian Prime Minister drew attention to the correlation between these intense storms and increased global warming, and the impact of climate change on all states, especially in the most vulnerable areas of the ACP, which included “including rising sea levels and the threats to agriculture and fisheries”, reminding everyone that, “the choices we make now, will dictate how we are affected by and respond to more storms like Hurricane Dorian and Idai.”

The Prime Minister, who was in Belgium for the opening of his country’s first ever embassy in Belgium, spoke of the Bahamas’ commitment to “the ideals and objectives of the ACP Group of States since its inception in 1975,” and of their intention to be represented at the upcoming 9th ACP Heads of State and Government Summit, which he saw as “critical to finalizing the revised Georgetown Agreement and to reaffirming our commitment to this process”.

ACP Secretary General Dr. Patrick I. Gomes, in welcoming the Prime Minister, described him as “a fine example of statesmanship, having actively worked to promote the harmonious, integrated and inclusive development of the Bahamian society” who, since becoming Prime Minister has returned the Bahamas to a path of economic growth. Dr. Gomes also highlighted the Prime Minister’s work to draw the attention of the international community to the issue of climate change.

For photos of the visit, click here

Remarks by The Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis