Announces resignation and date of swearing-in. PLP leader says appointment is a violation of all protocols.
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Cornelius A. Smith, the country’s non-resident ambassador to six Central American countries, including Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, announced his resignation over the weekend.
He also announced the government’s plan to appoint him at the end of this month as the 11th Governor General of an independent Bahamas.
“It is no secret that I tendered my resignation as of today to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as of midnight tonight I will no longer be ambassador to six Central American countries,” said Smith in a video that made the rounds on social media over the weekend.
However, an official statement of Smith’s resignation and appointment as the next Governor Genearal has not been released as yet from the Bahamas government.
“This resignation is not for retirement but more of a transition. As a result of Her Majesty the Queen appointing me as Governor General, I found it necessary to resign from the position that I had, to be transferred to another position,” Smith said in the video.
“The swearing in will take place on the last Friday of June in Nassau. All of you will be receiving invitations to attend,” Smith told the small grouping in the video, adding that his journey has been long but enjoyable.
Meanwhile, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) leader Philip Brave Davis released a statement on Sunday, outlining that he was shocked to see the statement delivered by the former Ambassador on video, which stated that he had been appointed by the Queen to be Governor General.
“This is a violation in my view of all protocols,” Davis said, noting that these announcements must come from the Queen and normally do not come until the Queen has agreed that the now Governor General should demit office.
“This is another example of the loosening of standards under the FNM. Anything goes and our traditions and conventions are dispensed without so much as a by your leave,” Davis said. “To make matters worse, Mr. Smith goes on to predict that the national airline is going to make special arrangements for his swearing in as Governor General. Who will pay the price for those arrangements and does he now speak for Bahamasair?”
The PLP leader said Mr. Smith’s announcement is a shocking breach of protocol and insulting to the present holder of the office.
He also noted that he was not consulted or informed by the Prime Minister of any changes in the office of Governor General, and while there is no constitutional requirement to do, given that the office is a national one which serves all, he would have thought that courtesy and convention would suggest that the Leader of the Opposition be informed before a public statement is made.
“The Prime Minister spoke to me on Friday last when I objected to the extension of the appointment of Ruth Bowe Darville as a judge, but he said not a word about the Governor General,” Davis said.
Once sworn in, Smith will become the 11th Governor General of an independent Bahamas.
Cornelius A. Smith served as minister of education from 1992-1995, minister of public safety and immigration from 1995-1997, minister of tourism from 1997-2000 and minister of transport and local government from 2000-2002.
He began his career in front-line politics in the early seventies and was elected in the Marco City constituency for four consecutive elections.