Bahamas taking a more leadership role in region

The Hon Darren Henfield, Minister of Foreign Affairs, leads The Bahamas’ Delegation on the second day of the 29th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of the Caribbean Community in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on 27 February. Minister Henfield introduced to the Conference the agenda item on Tourism and other issues discussed by Heads of Government on Day Two included Air Transportation Issues and Blacklisting and Derisking. (L-R) front: H.E. Reuben Rahming, Bahamas Ambassador to CARICOM; Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, Minister of Tourism and Aviation; Hon. Darren Henfield, Minister of Foreign Affairs; back: H.E. Jeffrey Williams, Bahamas Ambassador to Haiti; Mr. Don Saunders, M.P.; Mr. Joshua Sears, Senior Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister; and Hon. Frankie Campbell, Minister of Transport and Local Government. (BIS Photo)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The Bahamas’ role in the region is rapidly moving towards one of “more leadership” because of the country’s ability to rapidly respond in times of natural disasters such as Hurricanes, Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Darren Henfield said Tuesday.

Henfield, who took over the Chair as Head of Delegation for The Bahamas following Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis’ departure for New Providence Monday night, said Minnis’ position as the Head of Government of the Caribbean Community responsible for tourism, also carried tremendous significance.

“It is important that the Prime Minister is playing a role in the quasi-Cabinet, responsible for Tourism,” Henfield said.

Citing the Minnis Administration’s decision to assist Dominica in the aftermath of hurricane devastation last year, the Foreign Affairs Minister said The Bahamas’ ability to respond to natural disasters such as the one in Dominica improves the country’s position regionally.

“We have a very good Defence Force and utilities to be able to respond in times of natural disaster and I think that always improves your influence and the way the other countries look at you,” Henfield said.

“We sent the HMBS Lawrence Major to Dominica with Defence Force personnel onboard. We had medical doctors on board; we also had firefighters from the Royal Bahamas Police Force onboard to assist Dominica during their time of need.

“When you put your money where your mouth is in responding, (countries tend to look up to you.) Now raising the issue of money, you know it is tight all across the region, but you do what you can to assist where you can. In fact, that is the very nature of this body of states called CARICOM and the Caribbean Community, to be responsive to each other’s needs.”

Both Henfield and Minister of Tourism and Aviation, the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, addressed Tuesday’s Plenary Session on Tourism.

“The Paper was very well received this morning. The technocrats from the Caribbean Tourism Office (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) were here and the presentation was very well received; they were all asking for it and we intend to lay it on the table here and give it to them,” Henfield said.

“We also intend to send out the presentation in which everybody is raving about the commercial that was shown here this morning encapsulating the entire Caribbean region and what it offers, and so I think we are on the right path.”