Seven new parliamentary secretaries, two of whom will serve in the Office of the Prime Minister, were sworn in yesterday.
“Around the Commonwealth, parliamentary secretaries undertake important functions, supporting the work of their ministers, especially in Parliament,” Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said.
“We have made substantial promises in our intention to be open and transparent, and to be held accountable. And so, we have to also take seriously how we ensure that Parliament functions well, so that our democracy can continue to develop and thrive.”
Bacchus Rolle, MP-elect for South Beach, is parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Works and Utilities.
John H. W. Pinder, MP-elect for Central and South Abaco, is parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Investment and Aviation.
Kirk Cornish, MP-elect for North Abaco, will serve as parliamentary secretary in the • Continued from page A1 Office of the Prime Minister stationed in Abaco.
Leon Lundy, MP-elect for Mangrove Cay and South Andros, will serve as parliamentary secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister.
Wayde Watson, MP-elect for Bains Town and Grants Town, will serve as parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Leonardo Lightbourne, MP-elect for North Andros and the Berry Islands, will serve as parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs.
Jamahl Strachan, MP-elect for Nassau Village, will serve as parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
With the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction no longer in existence, Davis said Cornish will play a vital role in helping to “address the specific needs of the people of Abaco, which is still suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian”.
Lundy will help to ensure that the OPM’s initiatives “have an impact on the ground, helping the very people they are meant to benefit”, according to Davis.
Davis said Lightbourne will use his track record as an entrepreneur to support the efforts to enhance food security.
Watson is expected to use his “wealth of knowledge and experience in technology and in the community” to enhance the operation of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Davis said Strachan will “provide immediate practical support” to Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell.
The latest appointments leave five PLP MPs currently without appointments in the executive, but a speaker and deputy speaker have not yet been named.
During the swearing-in ceremony of the parliamentary secretaries, Davis defended the size of the executive, which some have criticized as being too large.
“We have all seen how the rule by one man has damaged our country,” Davis said.
“We will not make that mistake and will do everything possible to work in the best interests of the Bahamian people.”
He added, “Our country is in crisis. These challenges are unprecedented in scale and scope, in breadth and depth.
“Experience in government has taught me how easy it is to get caught up dealing with what is urgent, because of the need to address the day-to-day priorities.”
Davis said that in particular, with The Bahamas still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, there needs to be focus on both responding to crises as well as all the other plans his government has for change.
“If we are to address these many crises, while at the same time creating the opportunities and implementing the fundamental change that we have been mandated to by the Bahamian people, then I say again, we need all hands on deck,” he said.
When he came to office in 2017, Dr. Hubert Minnis had a 19-member Cabinet, including three ministers of state. There were also four parliamentary secretaries.