Hon. Perry G. Christie, M.P.
Prime Minister
Commonwealth of The Bahamas

Days before the first anniversary of his election as Prime Minister of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas following his party’s victory in the May 2002 General Election, the Hon. Perry G. Christie spoke on the general state of the economy and other issues. He was Special Guest on Island FM’s *Parliament Street* Talk Show over the weekend.

The Prime Minister said the economy is in “good shape”. He referenced statements by the International Monetary Fund, which recently completed a review of The Bahamas’ economy (soon to be released). Reportedly, the IMF praised the government for its fiscal prudence. Coming into power last May, said the Prime Minister, his party placed strong emphasis on the state of the country’s economy. One year later, he said, the government is doing what is required to transform the country socially, and *”everything is going according to plan.”*

In an Address to the Nation last week, the Hon. Allyson Maynard-Gibson, Minister of Financial Services and Investments, said she is confident the economic base of The Bahamas has been broadened, with the framework laid to encourage and develop more Bahamian entrepreneurship. She quoted capital investment projects in the range of $700+ million, and pending projects representing over $1 billion.

Commenting on the number of consultative commissions appointed since May 2002, Prime Minister Christie said there was a need for a better political system where the government could access expertise in the country in a more efficient way.

**Consultative Approach**

Particular reference was made to the Financial Services Consultative Forum, comprising a wide cross section of industry practitioners. Appointed in November 2002, the FSCF was described at that time as being at the heart of the Government’s consultative effort to involve the financial services industry as partners. Through a Board and a network of sub-committees, the Forum examines financial sector issues that relate to the international obligations of The Bahamas, its national interests, market needs and changing market trends.

The consultative body is mandated to ensure that the views of the private and public sectors, regulators and other parties all are fully considered. In this connection, its purpose is *”to facilitate structured and continuous dialogue between the government and the private sector so that legislative and promotional strategies aimed at repositioning the financial services industry to better meet the needs of international financial markets can be conceived and implemented within a framework of collaborative effort.”*

In a release also issued over the weekend, PLP Chairman Raynard Rigby also spoke to the value of the various commissions which, he said, reflect the government’s commitment to “sharing power with the people”. The Party Chairman further described the commissions as having the two-fold purpose of (a) stimulating national debate and (b) helping frame national policy.

The Prime Minister is expected to address the nation on Thursday, May 1, on the eve of the first anniversary of the new Government. At that time he will elaborate on the progress made over the past year.