As time flies, I have been the Chinese ambassador to The Bahamas for four and a half years since I set foot on the beautiful land of The Bahamas in May 2016.
During my work in The Bahamas, I have fortunately met many friends and people from all walks of life and forged good friendship with them.
I have also been deeply touched by the sincere love of the overseas Chinese in The Bahamas for their motherland and hometown and their great efforts to promote bilateral cooperation in various fields.
Upon my leaving, I would like to express heartfelt gratitude to friends from various sectors of The Bahamas, to the Chinese community, to the staff of Chinese-funded companies and institutions in The Bahamas, for your contributions to the development of China-Bahamas relations and long-standing support to the work of the Chinese Embassy and myself.
Over the past four and a half years, I have visited many Family Islands and experienced the picturesque landscape and unique culture of The Bahamas. I have observed the tourism, marine, agriculture, education, health and other fields of The Bahamas and been impressed by the great hospitality of the Bahamian people and the potential of bilateral cooperation between our two countries.
In the meantime, I have witnessed and engaged personally in the development of China-Bahamas friendship.
Over the four years, the political mutual trust between the two countries has been strengthened.
China appreciates that The Bahamas has always adhered to the One-China Principle and both sides have supported each other and cooperated closely in international and regional affairs.
In 2017, the Chinese Embassy in The Bahamas and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Bahamas jointly celebrated the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries.
In 2018, the Honourable Darren Henfield, Minister of Foreign Affairs, led the Bahamian government delegation to attend the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai. And in 2019, the delegation from the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, headed by Vice-Chairman Dr. Cai Dafeng successfully visited The Bahamas. High-level visits have enhanced mutual understanding and trust between the two sides.
Over the four years, mutually beneficial cooperation has been expanded and yielded fruitful results.
In 2008, the Baha Mar resort, a landmark achievement of China-Bahamas cooperation, opened in full operation, directly creating more than 6,000 jobs and injecting new vitality into the employment and economic prosperity of The Bahamas.
The North Abaco Port, a concessional loan project of the Chinese government undertaken by China Harbour Engineering Company, was completed and handed over to The Bahamas government.
The Pointe Project, which was invested and constructed by CCA (China Construction America)will soon be completed and put into operation.
In 2019, China and The Bahamas have signed the Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation, the Protocol on the Export of Live Lobster from The Bahamas to China and the Agreement on Civil Air Transport, demonstrating the huge potential and broad prospects for bilateral practical cooperation.
Over the four years, people-to-people exchanges have been deepened.
The Chinese government has provided full scholarships to more than 50 young Bahamians and sponsored over 100 people to attend various short-term and academic training programs in China.
The Junkanoo and other cultural and arts groups from The Bahamas have visited China for several times and they are warmly welcomed by the Chinese people.
In March 2017, The Guangdong Art Troupe of China visited The Bahamas and gave a magnificent performance, which was well received by the Bahamian people.
The Confucius Institute jointly established by the Chinese side and the University of The Bahamas has been offering Chinese language courses to the local people and made special contributions to promoting cultural exchanges between our two countries.
Over the four years, we have stood together through thick and thin.
Hurricanes are frequent in the Caribbean countries and The Bahamas has suffered a lot. In 2019, The Bahamas was hit by the strongest hurricane in history and caused severe life and property losses in Grand Bahama and Abaco.
China provided more than US$600,000, mostly in cash, to support the Bahamian government’s disaster relief efforts.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, China and The Bahamas have stood by each other to tide over the difficulties, adding a new chapter to China-Bahamas friendship.
China has organized two video conferences to share information and experience, and provided material and technical assistance to the Caribbean countries including The Bahamas.
So far China has donated five batches of medical supplies to The Bahamas to help fight against COVID-19.
At present, the world is still countering the new wave of the virus, and The Bahamas is also doing its best to put the epidemic under control. Solidarity and cooperation is the right way to defeat the virus.
China will continue to provide assistance within its capacity to support The Bahamas in its fight against the virus and promotion of economic recovery. We believe that The Bahamas government and people will defeat the virus and revive the momentum of economic and social development.
The Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the CPC, which concluded not long ago, laid out a comprehensive plan for the development of China during the 14th Five-Year Plan period.
Now China is embarking on a new journey to fully build a modern socialist country.
China will continue to hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, adhere to an independent foreign policy of peace, boost external exchanges at all levels in all fields, and promote to build a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.
We will continue to carry out opening-up in more fields, with broader range and greater depth, and promote international cooperation and achieve mutual benefit based on the advantages of China’s big market.
China and The Bahamas are good friends who embrace mutual respect and treat each other as equals.
The development of China-Bahamas relations has a profound foundation and a bright future.
I believe, with the joint efforts of both sides, China-Bahamas friendly cooperation will achieve more positive results, and our bilateral relations will be elevated to a new level.
Once again, my thanks go to our friends from all walks of life in The Bahamas, the Chinese community and the staff of Chinese-funded companies and institutions.
I sincerely hope that in the years ahead, you will continue to support the work of the Chinese Embassy in The Bahamas and contribute jointly to create a brighter future for China-Bahamas relations.
May the China-Bahamas friendship last forever!
• Huang Qinguo is the ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to The Bahamas.